Amazing Pictures of Monterey Bay Aquarium

by May 28, 2014

What do you like to see at the aquarium?

Anything I can eat.

Monterey Bay Aquarium tl;dr

For us, Monterey is one of those places where we love visiting just because it’s close enough that we can do a day trip yet far enough where we feel like we’re on a getaway. Despite having gone to Monterey quite a few times, we have never had a chance to make it to the aquarium…. till recently. I’ve talked about wanting to go to the Monterey Aquarium for a while, so JM decided to surprise me one random Saturday morning with a trip down to the aquarium.

Whale Statue Hanging Overhead in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Lobby

jellies experience exhibit

Since JM had pre purchased the tickets from AAA, we were able to immediately walk in and start exploring the museum. After being handed a map outlining the feeding schedules and auditorium programs for the day and getting an idea of where things were situated. We started our day with checking out one of my favorite animals, the local sea otters! They are so cute and adorable. I can’t help myself. And believe it or not, neither could JM.

Throughout the day we explored the different areas available such as the kelp forest, touch pools, the famous Jellie Experience, Tentacles (the new exhibit), The Open Sea, Vanishing Wildlife and more. Each exhibit offers something slightly different allowing you an opportunity to get to know some of these underwater creatures up close and personal.

People Looking at the Various Sea Life in the Large Aquarium at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Penguins on Exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Sea Otters Interacting with Their Trainer at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Outside of the actual exhibits, we also took a look at feeding programs and watched a couple of the auditorium programs. Below are the ones we viewed and a little info on each.

Feeding Program

  • Sea Otters: I absolutely love sea otters and watching the cute creatures eat the shrimp on their bellies just make me so happy! Unfortunately it was hard to see with so many people crowding around the few double paneled glass windows available along with it covered with water drops obscuring the view. Getting a decent picture of the sea otters was harder than I could have possibly imagined.
  • Kelp Forest: One of the coolest programs I’ve seen since this involved a diver in a huge kelp tank literally feeding everything in the tank from huge eels to sharks, fish and so much more! Definitely worth watching and getting a good view!

Monterey Bay Aquarium Diver Feeding the Fish

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to check out the penguins, open seas or albatross encounter feeding programs, though it did seem like almost everything was just viewing trainers through glass windows and hearing more about the animals through a microphone above the exhibit. My wish was that we could actually see the animals more up close and personal as was available at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Auditorium Programs

  • Project White Shark: This show similar to the others with the exception of one, has a volunteer from the aquarium narrating and projecting a story on the screen. This particular movie was about the perception of white sharks in media and how it actually compares to actual behaviors and information on white sharks.In a nutshell, there’s a higher incidence of people dying from falling out of bed than actually being eaten by a great white shark.
  • Behind the Glass: Details on the behind the scenes at the aquarium
  • Luna – A Sea Otter’s Story: This was the story of a sea otter that they found on the beach after it separated from her mother and was rescued by the Monterey Aquarium Sea Otter Rescue Team. Over the course of the presentation they show how they nursed back to health, taught her life skills and then released her back into the wild (such a great story!)

Telescope View of Wild Sea Otters Off the Balcony of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium Exterior

View of Monterey Bay From Monterey Bay Aquarium

Overall this aquarium offers a great variety of things to look at and before we knew it, we spent the whole day there walking around, grabbing some lunch and then continuing the aquarium exploration.

In terms of my thoughts, here’s a breakdown of the positive/negatives.

  • Positive
    • A wide variety of exhibits
    • Amazing tank with sharks and a wide variety of fish including a school of fish!
    • Literally situated on the water so everywhere you walk in the aquarium you get beautiful views of Monterey Bay
    • Many volunteers situated around the aquarium to help with whatever you need
    • In/Out privileges so you’re not forced to eat at the cafe inside
  • Negatives
    • Not many opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals with the exception of the touch pools and even that was limited
    • Odd layout of the aquarium making it hard to navigate and slightly confusing

Nadia Holding a Little Hermit Crab at Monterey Bay Aquarium

An Octopus in a Jar at Monterey Bay Aquarium

A School of Fish Swimming Against a Current on Display at Monterey Bay Aquarium

2 Frogs in Their Natural Habitat on Display at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellyfish, Shrimp, and Fish at Monterey Bay Aquarium

A Baby Sea Turtle Swimming Along the Sand Floor at Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you’re from the Bay Area and you haven’t had an opportunity to check out the aquarium I’d highly recommend a visit. And if you have been there, but it’s been a while then maybe you should go check out the new exhibits. There is also a lot to do around the area so if you are planning a visit you can also make a day trip or even a whole weekend out of this visit!

F8T Tip

  • Park a little further away from the aquarium near the homes along Ocean View Boulevard instead of in the paid parking lots nearby and you can park there all day for free! A nice savings considering you’ll have to pay for a hefty entrance fee.
  • If you have AAA you can pre-buy tickets for a discount, not huge but definitely worth taking the time. If not, check to see if your employer offers any kind of discounts to local museums/amusement parks (many do)
You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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