Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey

Must see · Aquarium · Zoo / Aquarium
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 4.5
14,122 reviews
  • This is the gem of this area and the place that we return to each time we take a trip to Monterey. The brilliance is that the aquarium is dedicated to the marine life of Monterey Bay and the ocean...  more »
  • Definitely must go on your visit. Very knowledgable for kids and for adults :) It is closed currently due to COVID-19 though.  more »
  • When we went, it was closed because of Covid, but there was a very friendly docent in front answering questions. Plus, it is fun to peek inside the main hall to see the cannery machines that are...  more »
  • Such a great experience! Would definitely come again. Their aquarium is the best in California hands down, there are a lot of different sea animals big and small, there are different exhibits for each type of critter. Our favorite was the kids area call splash zone. This area had costumes for the kids to use and different activities for all ages. There is an area for toddlers to play and use their imagination. The bird exhibit is also great since their is an area for kids to explore and play with the exhibits.
  • A lovely time! Very accessible, not very affordable. The animals look very well tended and there was a lot to learn. Information is presented in several different ways at once which can be either incredibly helpful or overwhelming, depending on what works for you. Going on a weekday is better because there are fewer people, though it's still crowded. If eating out after visiting the aquarium, consider choosing where you'll have dinner first so you can just go without having to decide while you're tired from walking through the aquarium.
  • The premiere aquarium to visit on the west coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a force of nature folded into a space that anyone can come enjoy on a day trip. Fun for young and old, there is something for everyone to see. From the sharks to the penguins, everything is there to spark the imagination and educate on the beauty, vastness and diversity of both the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon region and abroad. The ability to hold such a breadth of knowledge in one place makes this as important a place to visit as the best libraries on Earth. Beyond that, it's personable. What you see can blow the mind, but may also create a love for the amazing resources on this Earth that if not looked after, may start to disappear. Enjoy the aquarium for a day, keep the love for a lifetime.
  • We visit weekly and it never gets old ! We have a membership because it makes life so much easier with having kids and a big family. We love the science and education behind the aquarium. The steps this aquarium takes for ocean conservation is incredible! We are so lucky to be part of such an incredible place. Plus having the membership has some seriously amazing perks ! Highly recommend! Just avoid holiday season.
  • This is a really cool place to go visit! Our kids ages are from 3 to 8 and there were things that all of them enjoyed! The touch pools were fun the jellyfish were mesmerizing!! There is a lot to see and lots to do so hopefully you are able to spend a full day there. The movies were very educational about the steps we can help do to protect the wildlife so our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy these creatures in the years to come!

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