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Monterey Bay Aquarium Tours

One of the top aquariums in the United States, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is not just home to hundreds of marine animals—the nonprofit organization is also known for its dedication to ocean conservation. With its Pacific Coast location on Monterey Bay, this California aquarium enjoys a prime spot to highlight marine environments and educate the public about protecting wildlife. Visitors will find some 200 exhibits and galleries featuring more than 600 species of marine mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates. 
 
The Basics
Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-visit for families with kids and wildlife lovers on any trip to Monterey. Book tickets in advance to save time when you arrive, or book a guided day trip from San Francisco for round-trip transportation from the city. Tours in the area typically also visit Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea or make the 17-Mile Drive. Admission tickets provide access to shows and exhibit areas such as the Kelp Forest, Life on the Bay, and the Open Sea, while allowing visitors to see sea otters and giant Pacific octopuses.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Most travelers spend between two and three hours here.
  • An on-site café, restaurant, and coffee bar each offers food and drinks.
  • The aquarium is accessible, with complimentary wheelchairs available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Lockers are available to rent to store belongings.
  • Free on-site WiFi is available.
 
How to Get There
The aquarium is located about 115 miles (185 kilometers) south of San Francisco (about two hours by road) and 43 miles (69 kilometers) from Santa Cruz, with parking available at the Cannery Row Parking Garage. If you’re already in Monterey, biking to the aquarium along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is a great way to arrive, as is the free MST Trolley. The museum sits along Cannery Row, Monterey’s historic waterfront street made famous by author John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name.

When to Get There
The aquarium is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Summer and the winter holidays are the most popular times of year to go to the aquarium—try visiting on weekdays to avoid the crowds. Fall and winter generally see fewer visitors.

Aquarium Experiences
To dive deeper into the underwater world of the aquarium, tours and activities are available, most for an additional fee. These include kids’ scuba diving experiences and sleepovers, guided behind-the-scenes tours, and sea otter conservation tours.
Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Admission: Varies
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7 Tours and Activities to Experience Monterey Bay Aquarium

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You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.Learn more
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3-Hour Electric Bike Tour in Monterey Bay Coastal Rec Trail

3-Hour Electric Bike Tour in Monterey Bay Coastal Rec Trail

star-5
Discover the natural and manmade beauty of 17-Mile Drive on an electric bike tour from Pacific Grove. The e-bike allows you to cover more ground without getting worn out. The tour is great for the whole family, with the option to ride tandem with children weighing up to 120 lbs (54 kgs). Along the way, learn about the area from your guide and make stops at impressive viewpoints.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$79.00
From
$79.00

Vacation Photographer in Monterey Bay

Vacation Photographer in Monterey Bay

Localgrapher is the largest network of professional photographers and videographers with more than 600 destinations around the globe! Book your private photographer and guide in Monterey Bay to capture your picture-perfect moments while visiting amazing sites! SOLO TRAVELERS Fancy an insta-perfect photoshoot from your Monterey Bay vacation? Localgrapher has years of experience with fashion and solo travel photography! Make your memories last a lifetime and share them on social media or display them in your home to receive an avalanche of compliments. COUPLES If you are about to propose to your loved one, honeymooning or just exploring what Monterey Bay has to offer, put the selfie stick aside and let Localgrapher’s superb photographers take care of the photos for you both. FAMILIES & GROUPS A family trip, wedding, bachelorette party or grand get-together? Forget missing someone from pictures, we’ll capture them all!
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  • 30 minutes
From
$265.73
per group
From
$265.73
per group

Private Photo Session with a Local Photographer in Monterey Bay

Private Photo Session with a Local Photographer in Monterey Bay

Want to capture your amazing honeymoon? Family vacation while the kids are still little? Your perfect couples retreat from everyday busy life? A solo trip without asking strangers to take pictures of you? Stop searching, we got you here! We are the largest network of local vacation photographers in the world! Besides Monterey Bay, we operate in over 700 destinations worldwide! We always make sure that every special moment of each client is captured well. We believe in our service and quality of our photos so much that we even offer a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee for your photo shoot. Which means, if you don’t like the result of your photo shoot, you can contact us within 7 days and claim your money back! So what are you waiting for? Become one of our hundreds of happy customers by treating yourself to this special experience! Your family and friends will love the result too!
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  • 30 minutes
From
$265.73
per group
From
$265.73
per group

Historic Cannery Row: Explore John Steinbeck's Monterey on an audio walking tour

Historic Cannery Row: Explore John Steinbeck's Monterey on an audio walking tour

star-4.5
This self-guided, self-paced audio walking tour will explore Cannery Row in Monterey California and the surrounding area as well as a number of hotels and historic sites. There's a separate admission charge for entrance to Monterey Bay Aquarium. On this tour, you'll hear how the area served as the industrial heart of Monterey in the first half of the 1900s. Its seemingly inexhaustible number of Pacific sardine attracted fishermen, investors and inventors from around the world seeking their fortune. But, (spoiler alert!) overfishing would decimate the industry by the 1950s. You will also discover the connection between John Steinbeck and this area as you meet some of the colorful characters that were immortalized in his novel Cannery Row and its sequel Sweet Thursday. Finally, you'll discover the incredible story of how Cannery Row quite literally rose from the ashes to what is now a welcoming waterfront of world-class hotels, wine rooms, restaurants and shopping opportunities.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
From
$5.00
From
$5.00

Private Tour to Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive by SUV

Private Tour to Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive by SUV

star-5
Travel from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel during a full-day tour with your own private guide and comfortable SUV. You'll drive along the Pacific Coast and see some of northern California's most scenic spots, including the towns of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-By-The-Sea. Have free time to check out popular destinations like Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, and Carmel, and visit beaches, a marine sanctuary or lighthouse, the historic Pebble Beach Golf Course, and shopping and restaurant districts.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$895.00
per group
From
$895.00
per group

Monterey Bay Audio Driving Tour: From Del Monte Beach to Cannery Row

Monterey Bay Audio Driving Tour: From Del Monte Beach to Cannery Row

This self guided audio tour of Monterey I take friends and family on, when they come to visit. Monterey’s story is as beautiful as its scenery. When European explorer Juan Cabrillo first laid eyes on the bay 500 years ago, he was astounded by it, and he wrote such a glowing description that other explorers followed. Eventually, Monterey became a city. Whether this is your first time here or you visit the Peninsula regularly – and even if you live here – you’ll discover something new on this tour of California’s second oldest city. After all, there are more historical buildings in Monterey than any other city west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. You’ll see both sides of Fisherman’s Wharf, take in the actual locations in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and end the tour at the Monterey’s most visited attraction, The Aquarium.
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  • 2 hours to 2 hours 15 minutes
From
$5.99
per group
From
$5.99
per group

Scenic 17 Mile Drive Self-Driving Audio Tour

Scenic 17 Mile Drive Self-Driving Audio Tour

star-1
Explore the famous 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, Monterey with a self-guided audio tour! Learn about iconic landmarks like the Lone Cyprus, Seal Rock, and Spanish Bay as you drive past. Discover the history behind Cannery Row, Monterey's Aquarium, and Fisherman's Wharf. Experience this ultimate scenic drive at its fullest. This self-guided audio tour allows you to explore Monterey with maximum flexibility and value. Here's how it works: Within 30 min, we'll send you two things: a unique password and an app. Download the app onto your phone, enter the password, and download the tour. When you arrive, go to the first stop, launch the app, and follow the instructions! Stick to our recommended route and speed limit for the best experience. Password is valid for 30 days from Travel Date. Recommended: purchase one tour per car. Everyone can listen at the same time! This is not an entrance ticket. Check pandemic rules and opening hours before your visit.
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  • 3 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$8.00
From
$8.00
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Monterey Bay Aquarium?

Things to do near Monterey & Carmel


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