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Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey

4.5
Must see · Aquarium · Zoo / Aquarium
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Located on the site of a former sardine cannery on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Monterey Bay Aquarium features an 8.5 m (28 ft) viewing tank that was the first in the world to grow giant kelp. The aquarium also holds thousands of plants and animals representing more than 600 different species. You can inspect the creatures of the kelp forest from several levels in the building. Visit the largest tank in the aquarium--with one of the biggest single-paned windows in the world--for a rare chance to observe a population of ocean sunfish in captivity. Other highlights include exhibits of stingrays, bluefin tuna, jellyfish, and sea otters, viewable from above and below the waterline. For Monterey Bay Aquarium and beyond, use our Monterey driving holiday planner to get the most from your Monterey vacation.
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Monterey Bay Aquarium reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
14,326 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Brilliant day out! We arrived at opening and left at closing and just a fantastic all round experience. So much to see and do and you can see why it’s rated as the best aquarium in the world. Only... 
    Brilliant day out! We arrived at opening and left at closing and just a fantastic all round experience. So much to see and do and you can see why it’s rated as the best aquarium in the world. Only...  more »
  • What an amazing place. There is just nothing like it. If you are interested in marine life or our oceans or just want to better understand the importance of the oceans to life on earth, look no... 
    What an amazing place. There is just nothing like it. If you are interested in marine life or our oceans or just want to better understand the importance of the oceans to life on earth, look no...  more »
  • While visiting the area my husband and I decided to do the aquarium. A little expensive to get in, but it is a very nice aquarium. Besides fish there were sea birds which was great to see. Also very.....  more
    While visiting the area my husband and I decided to do the aquarium. A little expensive to get in, but it is a very nice aquarium. Besides fish there were sea birds which was great to see. Also very.....  more »
Google
  • Absolutely fantastic aquarium experience! It's a massive place with absolutely tons to look at and explore. We spent 3 hours here but you could have easily passed the whole day enjoying all the life on display. The cafe was also AWESOME. I got some seafood tacos and they were genuinely some of the best I've had. I drove all the way up from LA for a day to visit and I would gladly do it again!
  • We had the membership this past year, and loved it. Well worth it, even with traveling to go. The exhibits and volunteers are very knowledgeable. We went 5 times this past year (beginning of august-end of July) and loved being able to skip the long line for the members line. We have never eaten at the restaurant, but love being able to leave and re-enter so we can grab lunch on cannery row. Going through the aquarium with my two young kids, it typically takes 2-3 hours, depending if we stop at the play area, touch pools, or gift shops. We love visiting. 4 stars only because after 11am, it does get crowded fast! I’m not sure what’s the capacity, but it fills up fast. But that first hour open, check out the busier exhibits first!
  • I love this aquarium. There are a couple in California but if you want to visit a legit one, this is the place to be. There are immersion experiences that help you to imagine where these creatures live and what their habitat looks like. The informational pieces at the exhibits are very educational and a great learning experience for all ages. Each exhibit allows you to get up close with most of the creatures. Super cool! I took my 10month old son and he loved every bit. There were a couple moments when he was a little scared because it was just super different and that was when the large fish swam by at the Open Sea tank. One of our favorites is the Sea Otters. Love watching them swim around and play. Splash Zone and Penguins is a very cool experience as well. Penguins are fun to watch wobble around and kids love seeing them swim around so up close. There is a decent sized food court with the normal American fare items. A little of something for everyone. I'll end by saying the aquarium definitely is a little expensive however it's an experience you don't want to miss. Enjoy!
  • Super fun time! Line was long at 10:30 on a Saturday but moved very quickly, and over inside you can come and go much easier. It's a huge space so not very crowded, and the exhibits are great! Especially the new 'into the deep' exhibit. Docking one star because they only have two otters, in a pretty small enclosure! Given how much they talk about them I expected more. But other than that, it's super fun!
  • I love this aquarium. However for a Thursday it was very crowded. The exhibits were excellent although the words explaining them were lost on the crazy children running around. I just stood back until spaces opened up so I could go see each exhibit. You have to buy your tickets online. I thought that meant a limited amount of people would be coming in. But everyone came in. We were in a long line but it went fast. We did spend all day and saw everything but dodging crazed kids all day was nuts. Also we were lucky to be able to check into our hotel with respect to parking so we had a place to park. We then walked to the aquarium. There is very limited parking near the place. I would recommend this aquarium. It is a wonderful place especially if parents would take the time to explore and explain these exhibits to their children.

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