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Monterey Bay Aquarium – The Ocean’s Edge

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The aquarium is spread out over two interconnected buildings, each with two floors. One building contains animals found in the open sea, and the other animals from closer to the ocean’s edge.

The Ocean’s Edge exhibit

Monterey Bay Aquarium Ocean Tank

Monterey Bay Aquarium Ocean Tank

Near the main entrance is the largest exhibit – the Ocean Tank – where all sorts of animals, from hammerhead sharks to giant prehistoric looking fish seem to swim together in surprising harmony.

Fluorescent Fungi

Fluorescent Fungi

Part of the Jellies Experience, these are brightly fluorescent fungi.

Fluorescent Fungi

Not entirely sure – possibly more Fluorescent Fungi, but I was impressed

Pacific Seahorse

Pacific Seahorse

Pacific Seahorses are native to Monterey bay, but get rather ignored next to the more colourful Sea Dragons.

Colourful eels

Colourful eels

Penguin tank at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Penguin tank at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The penguin tank is a very popular attraction. At first glance it was just looking at penguins wandering round on a rocky shore, but getting closer it becomes apparent that they’re sitting above a large clear tank. As the penguins dive in, you can duck down with them and see them underwater.

Aviary at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Aviary at Monterey Bay Aquarium

An impressive area is the Monterey Bay Habitats, with an artificial beach and caves simulating the California coastline. Here you can stand under crashing waves, or get close to fish.

The aviary over the beach contains a collection of very tame birds. They happily pose for photos from less than a meter away.

Touch pool at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Swimming near the beach

There are a number of touch pools here, containing a variety of starfish, crabs, and shellfish. Staff members guide you enthusiastically through touching the animals. All but one of the starfish are surprisingly solid – sorry to that last starfish for giving it quite such a poke…

Monterey Bay Aquarium

I’m pretty sure this is what we had for dinner the previous evening…

Monterey Aquarium Visitor Tips

If you text feeding to 56512 you’ll receive text alerts about unscheduled feedings and other unique opportunities. Admittedly I didn’t, so I can’t guarantee you won’t also get subscribed to random fish facts for the next few years.

Street parking in nearby Cannery Row is cheap, but limited to 2 hours. The alternative is the $15/day car parks slightly up the hill from the main entrance. We only took 2 hours to get round, but I’d suggest 3 hours might be better. It’s $34.95 per person entrance fee, but check voucher sites and hotels for discounts as we paid $31 each.

The entrance fee also includes access to lectures in the auditorium. These looked really quite interesting, but we’d spent the morning being wowed by 17-mile drive so had to head south along Big Sur before nightfall. We nearly made it.

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Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.

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