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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.
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.