Last month when we went to California on vacation, one place that was at the top of our list was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My oldest daughter was an intern at Mote Marine Aquarium last year, and she has been asking to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium ever since. The Aquarium gave me two complimentary tickets, and now that our family has been able to visit, I can see why everyone raves about it. If you are ever even remotely close, you have to take the time to visit. Named the #1 Aquarium in the world by Trip Advisor, it's truly an amazing place to see.
10 Reasons to Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
1 All day experience
You know how you can spend money for a ticket and an hour later you're done? Not at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This place is so huge, with so many different experiences, you really need to plan to spend the day. Though we didn't eat there, I hear Cindy's Waterfront restaurant is fabulous, too.
2 The Sea Otters
I have always loved sea otters. I think I stood at this exhibit for 30 minutes just watching the sea otters play.
3 The Jellies
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is serious about Jellyfish, and right now you can see the Jellies Experience, which is a special exhibit. Let me just say...it was incredible.
4 Interactive Exhibits for kids
Though my kids aren't little anymore, I walked through this area and saw kids having so much fun. They didn't even realize they were learning, which is the best education! By the way, you'll also find lots of free printables and other lessons on the website.
5 The Sharks
I've shared before that Shark Week in my house is always a big deal, and Monterey Bay Aquarium has a lot of sharks!
6 The Open Sea
I could watch this all day. Check for feeding times!
7 Spiny Brittle Stars
I don't ever remember seeing these before. They are so cool! They look kind of like hairy worms, but those are actually the arms of the Spiny Brittle Star. They leave an arm or two out to catch food, but once in a while something else catches them! No worries, their arms grow back!
8 The Spotted Moray Eel
That's the first photo you see at the top, too. How can you not love that face?
9 The Lionfish
If you aren't familiar with the Lionfish, let me bring you up to speed. It's a venomous fish that is native to the Indo-Pacific, but is a growing problem here in the states. How did they get here? Experts are saying they've been dumped from home aquariums for years. I've seen a few restaurants cooking them lately, which is great, because they are very invasive. Still, they are beautiful to behold.
10 The Mission to the Deep Exhibit
This was really awesome, but I did see on the website that it's temporarily closed. Hopefully you'll get the chance to choose your mission and be able to experience using the high tech tools and underwater robots!
I could really go on and on, and give you another 10 Reasons to Visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, but I'll leave the rest for your visit! Monterey Bay Aquarium is open from 10 am until 6 pm every day. You can see a calendar on their website to check ahead, but it looks like they are only closed on Christmas Day. Be sure to check for special feeding times and other cool experiences so you don't miss anything. There is really so much to do, so plan to spend the day! The Aquarium is located at 886 Cannery Row in Monterey, California. The website has everything you need, but if you want to call, the number is . You can buy tickets ahead and avoid the lines, though we had no problems. Please come back and let me know what your favorite exhibit was! And if you're on the other side of the country, where I live, you've got to visit Clearwater Aquarium, too.