Admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium
Currently, entrance fees are $50/adult and $30/child. As a result, it is hard to keep your wallet happy. In my case however, I an friends with a member of the aquarium. Members of the Aquarium get two transferable guest passes. Therefore, I was able to visit free of charge.The aquarium was mobbed. I expected a crowd because it was a Saturday. However, the crowd was larger than I anticipated. It was as crowded as Vatican City. The line to the enter stretched far down the street and around the corner . Luckily, my pass allowed me to use the members’ entrance and bypass the line.
The Monterey bay aquarium itself is beyond amazing. As the aquarium is right on the ocean, they are able to constantly pump ocean water into it. This allows the Monterey Bay Aquarium to house more sea life than most aquariums.
The aquarium is extremely well put together. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is not just for gawking at fish. It immerses you in the sea culture by making the exhibits interactive. One of the most popular seemed to be the touch exhibits. These exhibits allow the guests to touch the sea life they have been learning about.
The Jellyfish Exhibit
The most awe inspiring exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the Jellyfish exhibit. The luminescence and movement of the jellyfish make you feel like you were dropped into a psychedelic 70s movie.
The Open Sea
I continued on to the Open Seas exhibit. This exhibit is a multistory tank that houses deep sea life. This exhibit that includes sea turtles, sting rays, sunfish, and the hammerhead shark. All of which you can view through a 90-foot viewing window. Personally, I stood and stared at this exhibit longer than any other. This was because the animals interacting with one another entranced me.
The Kelp Forest
Next I visited the Kelp Forest tank. This exhibit consists of a 28 foot tall tank. Thus, allowing you to get view as if you were a scuba diver. There are over 18 different species in this tank, including leopard sharks, rockfish, the red octopus, and the California sheephead.
The only show I had time to watch was the feeding at the kelp forest. This consisted of a scuba diver going down the massive tank to feed the sea life. The fish mobbed the diver the second she jumped into the tank.
In all, there are 12 exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Each one more breathtaking than the previous. Given this, you really need to have a full day to truly explore all of the exhibits. Unfortunately, I only had about 2 hours. Here are some highlights from the other exhibits I spent less time at.
Despite being really expensive, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see in any trip to Monterey. The exhibits are massive and awe inspiring. It is masterfully designed to immerse the guests by allowing them to interact with the sea life as much as possible. However, it can get extremely crowded if you visit on the weekends. so if you want to avoid the crowds, it is best to visit the aquarium on a weekday.