886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Founded in 1984 on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the world’s most progressive aquariums. Its Kelp Forest exhibit is one of the tallest tanks in the world and was the first place to grow sea kelp, thanks to a specially designed surge machine that mimics the ocean movement that kelp needs to survive. (David Packard of Hewlett-Packard was the initial financer of the aquarium and helped design the machine in the Kelp Forest. His daughter Julia Packard is a marine biologist and currently serves as the executive director of the aquarium.)
As you walk around the tank, you will spy sardines, leopard sharks and eel-wolfs. Another showstopper exhibit is the Open Sea, where a 90-foot window offers views of tunas, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles and sardines. In other tanks throughout the two-story complex are sea otters, puffins, flamingoes, stingrays and incredible varieties of jelly-fish and seahorse (15 different species). There are also interactive games and exhibits, such as the splash zone where you can handle sea life and learn about tides and the physics of waves.
To get the most out of a visit to the aquarium, it’s best to book one of the special Aquarium Activities online. Offerings range from a behind-the-scenes tour where a staff member will take you into the research areas and the Feeding Frenzy tour, during which you go on the morning rounds with a guide and have a private feeding and training of the sea otters to the sleepover experience and Underwater Explorers, a surface scuba dive for kids aged 8 to 13 in a tidal pool.
Written by Indagare