Monterey’s Top Attraction: The Monterey Bay Aquarium

We checked the weather forecast for our four-day weekend in Monterey last December and discovered that Sunday would be the gloomiest day with the most chance of rain. And so we planned our outdoor activities for other days and reserved Sunday for visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The only problem with this logic was that a zillion other tourists had this same idea and the place was packed!

A school of mackerel pass through a giant kelp forest.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the end of Cannery Row on the Pacific Grove border where the Hovden Cannery once stood. According to TripAdvisor it is the # 1 tourist attraction in Monterey, bringing in more than two million visitors a year. In 2014 it was awarded the # 1 aquarium in the world.

The otter exhibit attracted the largest crowds.

We came back a couple of times to see if we could get closer but it was always crowded.

Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, conservationist and social activist. She is the author of several books, including Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

There’s a Beatle in the aquarium!

California king crabs.

I believe this is a leopard shark.


There are many different types of flatfish — sole, halibut, flounder. I have no idea which one this is!

We saw several species of shore birds in the aquarium’s aviary.

Peeling bark in the aviary.

Scene framed by my grandson’s left shoulder and ear.

Kids like to touch things. So do parents.

The wave cave.

Who are the most curious?

Taking advantage of resting spots between exhibits.

A happy fish.

I think that’s a parrot fish.

Mia and her mommy.

Introduction to the African penguins.

Mommy was hiding baby in the cave right of center.

Pointing out the newborn penguin.


… and their cousins.

The Hovden Cannery closed its doors in 1973 and the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors in 1984.

The kelp forest. I think that’s a sea bass.

A killer whale lurks above the aquarium store.

West Coast Sea Nettle Jellyfish.

The Jellies Experience features 16 species of jellyfish from around the world.

A special exhibit on cephalopods called Tentacles.

Cephalopods include octopuses, squid, cuttlefishes and nautiluses.

Mia learned a lot about cuttlefish.

One of many special exhibits.

Checking out the directory outside the aquarium’s store.

Huddling near the main entrance / exit.

After our Aquarium adventure it was just about time for Sunday Night Football and so we purchased hamburgers, clam chowder and pizzas at various take-outs and returned to our hotel rooms. The girls watched a movie in one of my daughter’s room while the guys rooted for our San Francisco 49ers as they beat the Seattle Seahawks to win their division championship. Yay Niners!

Note: The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been closed since mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic. While you are waiting for it to re-open you might want to check out their excellent website here.

Today’s Music ThemeUnder the Sea

It’s my granddaughter Mia’s turn to recommend a song for my Monterey Weekend postings and she chose Under the Sea from the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

We reserved the next day for exploring the 17-mile drive from Pacific Grove through Pebble Beach to Carmel and we spent quite some time at the Inn, Links and Beach at Spanish Bay and that will be the subject of my next post.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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5 Responses to Monterey’s Top Attraction: The Monterey Bay Aquarium

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Such an awesome place!

  2. Yes, it is! Thanks for the comment, Cindy!

  3. Peter Klopp says:

    What a wondrous place to visit, especially on a rainy day! It looks your family had a lot of fun.

  4. disperser says:

    Reminds me of the pleasant surprise when we visited the Long Beach acquarium.

    This one sounds like a great destination when the weather is great and everyone is outside.

  5. Yes, it was so crowded that I kept on bumping into people and I started to worry that I might clobber someone with my camera or step on a kid. We did enjoy those days outside when the weather was great, though.

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