Monterey Bay Aquarium
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- 98%Family Travelers
- 62%Outdoor Enthusiasts
- 58%Green Travelers
- 57%Local Culture
- 55%Adventure Travelers
Member Reviews (148)Write a review
- Monterey Bay AquariumCommunity ManagerAmbassadorMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesBackpackers+ 4
I love aquariums and I love anything that has to do with the ocean (I'm from Hawaii). My favorite section was the jellyfish exhibit. They're hypnotizing and pleasing to watch. If you have the time, the exhibition shows are also very good. You also can't beat otters and penguins.
The restaurant inside, the Portola Cafe, is actually pretty good. $8 gets you a toasted California club that's pretty tasty. The restaurant also uses sustainable produce and supplies.
The $22 price (when we went) was fair for the world's supposedly best aquarium. You get $2 off if you're a student. Note that there can be long lines out the door. The parking lot nearby charges $0.75 per half hour, which is amazing if you're from the city.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 8
The beautiful and educational Monterey Baq Aquarium is a joy to visit. Children love this place. We love the otters, the kept forest, the hands on areas, and the deep sea exhibit in particular. The restaurant is delicious yet expensive. The cafe is good and also pricy.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 2
A truly great aquarium, my favorite in the world. I love the huge kelp tank, and the area with the shorebirds that has real waves. The jellyfish are fascinating. What's really special is that it's located right on the beach, and you can walk out on the patios and look out at the ocean.
For my most recent visit I made the mistake of trying to see the "Tentacles" exhibit on a summer weekday. The halls were packed with vacationing families from all over the world. And each person had to take their own photo of the cool octopus, and stick their phone in front of my face and my view in order to do so. OK. I'm done complaining. It's a great aquarium. Just try to go when it's less crowded. We went on impulse and just chose the day everyone else on the planet wanted to go. That said, it was still easy to park in Cannery Row, and we did enjoy ourselves, though I had to flee since my head was ringing with the shrieks of delighted youngsters.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
Always a great place to visit, probably one of the bet aquariums in the world. The kids love it as much as the adults. Very busy, buy tickets online to avoid queuing. It's not cheap though, two adults and two children (under 10) is $130 which is not cheap given the kids will no doubt want a toy from the shop. Also, no external food to be consumed on the premises. However, it's a great day out, a brilliant facility and worth the drive. Monterey is beautiful and a must do for families staying around San Francisco or doing the drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Worth having this as one of your stops for that long drive - but make it an overnight stop so you can enjoy everything this area has to offer.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersFamily Travelers+ 2
This was a great aquarium to go and see with lots of various marine life. When we were here, they actually had a great white shark, but they did release it back into the wild shortly after we were here since Great Whites do not do well in captivity.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureFamily TravelersFoodiesHistory Buffs
This is my son's fave place. The jellyfish exhibition is hauntingly beautiful. Love it that the docents walk around with artifacts to engage you. We have been here four or five times and we never tire of the place. If you can, go on the weekdays instead of the weekend. It is much less crowded and you don't have to queue up to go to the cafe.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
A visit to Monterey is not complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is hard to believe that it has been around for 20 years already. The highlights of the aquarium for me are the giant tuna in their 1 million gallon Outer Bay Exhibit, watching the antics of sea otters as they swim underwater, the bat ray touch tank, and the jellyfish lit in such a way as to make them look like living Tiffany lamps. Not the flashiest of displays, but maybe the most important is the one on John Steinbeck and Cannery Row, his 1945 novel immortalizing the fishing industry here at its peak.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget TravelersFoodies+ 2
Always enjoy coming here once every couple of years to see what's changed. As an adult I still love the sealife "touch" exhibit where you can handle starfish and other sea creatures.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium is a phenomenal place for kids and adults alike. You'll find sea creatures of all sorts--from sea birds and otters to octopus and penguins. (And of course, all sorts of fish.) The museum is well designed with huge tanks (some a couple stories high), well-written placards, petting areas for kids (rays and star fish mostly), and daily activities like feedings and presentations. It's a bit pricey--almost $20 per kid, $30 for adults--and can get pretty crowded on weekends but it's definitely a must-see if you're in the area.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsFoodies+ 2
I have been to Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Both of their own charms but Monterey Bay is still my favorite. i don't know if I am just partial because it was the very first aquarium I have been to. It is not an exaggeration to call it my first love. The jellyfish exhibit is still the most mesmerizing even after all these years.
Note that this Aquarium do not have any mammals except otters. If you are looking to see some whales and dolphins you will be very disappointed. It is also a non profit organization so the main focus is to educate rather than to entertain. That doesn't mean you won't have a great time here. You will learn a lot about the sea and the nature. There are no better place to bring your kids to. They will love it and so will you.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersWellness
Perhaps the West's best aquarium, this awesome paen to California's underwater wild-life is definitely worth the price of admission. In addition to the usual exhibits, big viewing tanks, and scads of sea otters frolicking nearby, this museum also gets points for constantly updating its programs. Plus, this aquarium is responsible for the seafood education pamphlet that's helped many West Coast restaurants provide more ecological dining options.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofWellnessGreen TravelersStudentsAdventure Travelers
Without doubt, the best aquarium I've ever been to California, and maybe in the entire country (or even the world, and I've been to over 30 countries so far and still counting...). The aquarium not only has a wealth of wildlife on display in its tanks, but it's also focused on teaching environmental responsibility, ocean conservation and animal welfare. From the floating moon jellyfish to the animated sea otters being rehabilitated, Monterey Aquarium is one of the places I most love in California. Save almost a whole day to explore the aquarium, which inhabits a rehabbed sardine canning factory that dates back to John Steinbeck's Cannery Row days.Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumAmbassadorMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsFoodiesLuxury Travelers+ 3
Well first of all, can I live in the wave tunnel? Monterey Bay Aquarium is spectacular, and everything an aquarium should be. It really breaks down the stiffness you would expect from squinting into glass, as the whole architecture feels like the glass is barely there and the tanks do not feel like tanks at all. Everything is so encompassing it feels like you are actually underwater. They also project high definition videos aside the real thing, so everything looks ethereal. The jellyfish room is stunning, and you can flip special lights on and off to make them appear and disappear in the darkness. There are stingrays to pet, gadgets to play with, and so many corners to explore.
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBusiness Travelers+ 7
Just a gorgeous looking aquarium. My personal favorite was the jellyfish exhibit, and even though it was a little crowded than I anticipated when I went (Friday), it was fun to see. The ticket is a little pricier than I thought it would be, even with my friend's military discount (saved around $1.25/ticket?).Recommended for:
- Monterey Bay AquariumMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 11
This is one of the Gems of the Monterey Peninsula, an area with a lot of gems just 2 hours south of San Francisco.
I grew up through a lot of my formative years in the area. My Mom used to sew car seat covers in a small factory halfway between the Aquarium and Pacific Grove's Lover"s Point many years ago, and she worked as a waitress right on Cannery Row before the aquarium existed.
Cannery Row, with legendary local writer John Steinbeck making it famous, went from fish canneries to a tourist area over the past century. Now with the aquarium about 25 years old, it has brought a lot more visitors to the area and is a go to desitation for families and a tourist area trying to look like San Franicsco's Fisherman's Wharf in tourist traps, but with a moderated and mellow vibe.
The aquarium is different than most, as it is constructed with Monterey Bay as part of it, and is as much a research institution for the deep depths of Monterey Bay and sourronding areas. It has had 2 Great White sharks here, the only ones in the world, which were released. It has great collection of other sharks, though, including Hammerhead, 7 Fin and Leopard.
One of its popular attractions, which I grew up seeing off Cannery Row in the Kelpbeds, are the Sea Otters. These cute, playful creatures are fun to watch, and the vertical tank is a great way to see them above and under water.
The Kelp Bed exhibit, the Deep Ocean exhibit, the Jellyfish, the shoreline habitat, the interactive touch and feel counters, the Bat Ray interactive area, there is so many great things at this Aquarium. And they have taken a vertical approach to most of the large tanks, giving you a depth dimension you won't find at most major city aquariums.
The goal of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was created in part out of the passion of Hewlett Packard's founding family members to help make it, is to teach us about ocean and sealife preservation. As such, a unique exhibit is a video Seafood Cafe, which teaches which seafood are best to eat because of the techniques to catch them and keep them sustainable for the future. It is very educational, and take the little wallet guide with you, and you will change your seafood selections at any restaurant or store as a result.
A tip: to avoid some of the crowds and lines getting in, order tickets on-line, and will call them. ($24.95 for adults, slightly less for students, seniors, and more off for kids ) Also, come before the summer tourists arrive en masse to the Monterey Peninsula, and come early if you can.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the many things to enjoy in the area, and it has helped the economy and sense of pride, since visitors come from around the world by the millions to this beautiful place.
Being a semi-regular (I have been here many times) the only thing for me is that the displays, by their nature, do not change much.
So when the Great White was caught and put in, it was very exciting.
The sun fish and sea turtles are great, the jelly fish fantastically soothing, love the sea otters and everything is wonderful, but I go less frequently now.Recommended for:
Open Hours:10am-6pm daily; 9:30am-6pm summer and busy holidays; closed Christmas Day