Insider's Guide to Monterey & Carmel

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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  • Address: 886 Cannery Row
  • Hours: Regular hours: 10am - 6pm; Winter: 10am - 5pm; Summer/holidays: 9:30am - 6pm; Summer weekends: 9:30am - 8pm.
  • Admission: Adult: $34.95; Child: $21.95; Senior/Student: $31.95
There is a reason that Monterey Bay is considered the top aquarium in the country and draws around two million visitors a year. The nearly 200 exhibits and galleries feature 623 different species of plants and creatures: from adorable sea otters to otherworldly jellyfish, swirling sardines and crafty sharks that glide through the water. Visitors can get up-close with bat rays at the petting pool, and watch divers hand-feed sharks and fish at the kelp forest and blackfooted penguins in the Splash Zone.

What makes Monterey Bay Aquarium so special is its commitment to environmental conservation and education. The aquarium continuously pumps Monterey Bay ocean water through the tanks. During the day the water is filtered for clarity and at night the unfiltered water brings in food in the form of plankton. Waste ocean water from the aquarium is returned to the bay – making the aquarium essentially a part of the ocean. The aquarium also runs a “Seafood Watch” program that promotes responsible seafood consumption.

Practical Info:

Unsurprisingly, the country’s top aquarium is usually very busy – often with large groups of children. Your best bet for avoiding the biggest of the crowds is by purchasing tickets in advance, and visiting just after opening or, in summer, late in the evening when visiting hours are extended.

Parking is available at the Cannery Row parking garage, or on the street further down Ocean View Blvd. During the summer the free WAVE trolley runs between the aquarium and downtown Monterey.

Tours & Tickets

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Monterey Bay Aquarium Admission

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 14 Reviews

Dive into an underwater world of mystery, beauty and awe at the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of the stunning California coastline. With ...  Read more

Location: Monterey, California
Duration: Flexible

From USD $39.95

Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive Day Trip from San Francisco

4.5 star rating: Recommended 670 Reviews

Cruise along California's spectacular coastline on a relaxing day trip from San Francisco. You'll follow Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula home of ...  Read more

Location: San Francisco, California
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $76.50

See all Monterey Bay Aquarium Tours & Tickets

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