The superb Monterey Bay Aquarium, opened in 1984, occupies the site of the old Hovden Cannery, one of the largest of the eighteen in Cannery Row. The architecture of the elaborate aquarium complex, the biggest of its kind in the USA, was adapted from that of the former factory which stood here from 1916 to 1980 (though abandoned after 1972). The aquarium stands right on the edge of the rocky bay.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Map
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-1085, United States
May 29 to Sep 7: 9:30am-6pm; Sun: 9:30am-8pm; Sat: 9:30am-8pmSep 8 to May 28: 10am-5pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in USD:
Adult $29.95, Senior over 65 $27.95, Child 12 & under $17.95, Child 2 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Taped tours for rent.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service, Wheelchair loan or rental
There is a restaurant with a sea view and an oyster bar.
The marvelously well-equipped aquarium focuses on the exceptionally rich marine life of Monterey Bay, each aspect of which - the coastal formations, marine vegetation, fish and other forms of marine life, and birds of sea and shore - can be observed in several different ways: through the glass walls of tanks, through telescopes, macroscopes and microscopes, and even by means of underwater video cameras remotely controlled by the observer.
In the larger aquaria experts in diving gear provide on the spot commentaries broadcast over loudspeakers from amongst the flora and fauna.
The complex comprises 200 pools (some are three storeys deep) and galleries both under cover and in the open. They contain about 300,000 specimens representing nearly 570 species (sharks and other large fish, sea otters, giant octopuses, crustaceans, starfish, etc.).
A "Habitat Path" guides visitors around the various sections on the main floor, the most impressive of which are the so-called "Monterey Bay Habitats" (a stretch of coast 30yd/27.5m long), the "Kelp Forest" (a giant tank, 28ft/8.5m high, holding 335,000 gal/1.26 million liters of seawater), and the "Great Tide Pool".
The large "Marine Mammals Gallery" contains lifelike models of mammals which inhabit the bay, including whales, dolphins, sea-lions and seals. Rescued sea otters, a threatened species, are nurtured in the aquarium and can be seen romping about in a special two-story pool.
The million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit (viewed through the largest aquarium window in the world - 15 by 54 feet, 13 inches thick) shows giant ocean sunfish, sea turtles, schools of tuna (the only such collection in the United States), barracuda and other open ocean fishes. The Outer Bay galleries also include the largest jellyfish displays in the world.
The aquarium mounts rotating special exhibitions and has an extensive child's hands-on educational area.