Visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-see when you’re stopping by the city of Monterey, CA. The public aquarium is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. Because of its popularity, it has an annual attendance of 1.8 million visitors. If you’re planning to stop by the place, here are some quick tips and information to help you organize and get the most out of your visit in the most beautiful aquarium in the world!

 

1. Getting to the aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium, MBA, Monterey Bay Aquarium Location

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey at the west end of historic Cannery Row, just minutes from Carmel and Pebble Beach. Monterey is approximately 125 miles (208 km) south of San Francisco and 360 miles (600 km) north of Los Angeles.

Full address:
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940

 

2. Select a day for a visit

Weekends will be more crowded than weekdays. If possible, visit the aquarium during the week.

 

3. Avoid long lines and purchase your tickets in advance

The place can get a little crowded on some days and lining up for a ticket can eat a lot of your visit time. Purchase your tickets online. You’ll be able to save time and find some great discounts when you purchase from the web. It’s quick, easy, and totally hassle-free. Click here to purchase your admission tickets ahead. Take note that the prices of the aquariums admission tickets varies by category. Do be careful what category of ticket you buy, it might not be applicable to you.

 

4. Arrive when the aquarium opens

Arrive early and organize your day around the showings and feedings. Some places have limited viewing areas (like the sea otters) so go to the early shows to get a view while you can. To help you plan ahead, click here and view the aquariums daily schedule (including programs and feedings).

 

5. Visit the most popular exhibits first before the crowd thickens

The crowd can get a bit overwhelming especially during mid-day. If you arrive early, try to get a look of the most popular exhibits first to avoid huge crowds. Here are some of the most awesome exhibits of the aquarium:

 

Kelp Forest

Kelp forest, Monterey bay aquarium

The  Kelp Forest exhibit was designed as the centerpiece of the aquarium, and was the first exhibit in the world to include a living kelp forest. Eighty species of seaweeds grow in this exhibit, some of which have also entered the aquarium through the water from the bay rather than being deliberately planted.

 

Open Sea Galleries

The open sea galleries showcase sharks,  a school of 3000 anchovies swimming against the endless current of a toroidal tank, a puffin exhibit, juvenile sea turtle exhibit, and multimedia experiences highlighting microscopic plankton.

 

Other popular exhibits

Octopus in blue ocean

Other popular exhibits include penguin exhibit, seahorses, jellyfish special exhibit and tentacles special exhibit.

 

Prepare to be amazed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the 550 aquatic species on display in more than 100 exhibits. Hope you enjoy your visit!

Old fisherman wharf monterey bay

Weekend Itinerary in Monterey Bay California

The great state of California has many places to visit and towns with their own special attractions and landmarks. One good example of a popular place to visit in California is the City of Monterey.

This town has been called home by many local and well-known artists and many of California’s first semblance of modern civilization was established here like the first printing press and first public library. While particularly well known for their lovely coastline, Monterey is also home to many tourist spots that families and groups love to visit when they take a quick 2 or 3 day weekend vacation.

Old Fisherman Wharf

Here are a few suggestions on which places you should add in your itinerary when you visit Monterey Bay.

One of the most popular places to visit in Monterey and in the whole of California is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With the primary goal of educating the public in marine and ocean preservation, the Aquarium brings together the various marine life exhibits that range from jelly fishes, sea otters, penguins, coral reefs and of course all the different fishes and creatures living in the sea. A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium will take about half a day so be sure to arrive early and make time for it in your itinerary.

 

For the shopper and art aficionado, a visit to Downtown Carmel is a must in any itinerary. Here you will find boutiques left and right which sells a variety of goods. As you explore this area, you’ll notice the squares which are beautifully decorated by flora and fauna. Alongside them are the different art galleries which you can view and purchase if budget permits. This place is definitely worth a visit.

For a bit of sightseeing, add a visit to the Cannery Row in your itinerary. The Cannery Row is a street in Monterey where the area is lined with now abandoned sardine canning facilities. This location has become popular due to several literary works and movies that use the area as their settings. Today, the cannery row is quite popular with tourists and it now has various restaurants, hotels and there are even sea lions spotted in certain areas. Monterey was also quite well-known for its thriving fishing industry.

This still holds true and a visit to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a testament to that. Everyday you’ll be able to see fishermen bring in their catch from the bay and prepare them for selling in the market. You’ll also see sea lions and sea gulls as they wait for fishermen to throw them some fish. There are also restaurants and other dining places available right here.

Finally, a visit to Monterey won’t be complete without some Whale Watching. The California bay is one of the few places where tourists are able to see whales near the surface of the water all year. This is truly a unique and even an overwhelming experience as some whales actually approach boats on their own. If you can only do a handful of things in Monterey, make sure you include this one.There you have it, some of the best things to do in Monterey that are definitely worthy of adding into your weekend itinerary. For accommodations while visiting Monterey, a good option would be the Vagabond Inn. It’s perfect for families and is located right next to downtown Monterey.

With these in your itinerary, you’re sure to have one of the best weekend getaways ever.For more information on Vagabond Inn,