Monterey Bay Aquarium
Location: 886 Cannery Row Monterey, Ca 93940
Hours: Daily 10am- 5pm
Description: What's not to love about the Monterey Bay Aquarium- nothing!!! If it's your first time visiting- you'll think you died and went to marine heaven. The fish tanks are awesomely huge, making you almost feel as though you are underwater! They have so many different types of exhibits too. The jellyfish glowing in the dark will have you mesmerized as they swim. The deep sea ocean tank houses giant types of fish, sting rays, sharks, and a giant sea turtle which will all have you feeling small while standing right next to the exhibit. There are hands on touching pools where your little deep sea explorers can feel sea cucumbers, star fish, sea weed, and walk right on over to pet bat rays. The splash zone will have the youngest member of your family squealing for joy! There are so many hands-on exhibits as well as a children's zone that will have even your squirmiest member of the family occupied. Outside on the back deck you can use binoculars to spy sea otters in their natural habitat. Then when you go back inside you can see the otters that they are rehabilitating splashing around in their exhibit. There are always changing exhibits on the lower level below the permanent jellyfish section, so there is always something new to see!
Highlights: The sea otters are my favorites- they are so cute and adorable! It is so worth it to wait around with the crowds of people to watch the sea otter feeding times. They freeze shrimp in blocks of ice and the otters bang the ice on the glass to get them out, simulating how they open their catch in real life. It is the most intimate look you will get at the sea otters. Rather than them swimming by you at a fast pace, they will be right next to you banging on the glass that you are peering through. Also the puffins are hilarious! They come right up to the glass next to you like they are your best friends. Children will get good laughs out of both of these animal exhibits!
Tips: If you are going to visit the Aquarium more than one time a year consider getting a membership. The average cost for a family visit one time is $100, spring for the membership if you can- you'll want to go back! Think of it as an investment in family fun and you'll always have something to do on any given weekend. It pays for itself in literally two visits. The membership gets you store discounts, in to special events, and discounts on the sleepovers- which I highly recommend attending!