Monterey Bay Aquarium/Kris Ingram
Monterey Bay Aquarium/James Perdue
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Rick Browne
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Christopher Chan
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Steven K. Webster
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Tony da Silva
Monterey Bay Aquarium/Tyson V. Rininger
AAA. Photo submitted by Nancy Jones/Nancy Jones
AAA. Photo submitted by Nancy Jones/Nancy Jones
AAA Editor Notes
Monterey Bay Aquarium is at 886 Cannery Row. This acclaimed facility houses more than 35,000 animals and plants on two levels of expansive galleries and exhibits. The Open Sea, the aquarium's largest exhibit, explores the open ocean; visitors standing in front of a 90-foot window will see tuna and hammerhead sharks speeding past, sardines swarming in huge, glittering schools and sea turtles swimming lazily by.

The Ocean's Edge galleries introduce visitors to the central California coast's varied shoreline habitats. The impressive features include a three-story living kelp forest, a walk-through aviary inhabited by shore birds and an indoor/outdoor coastal stream habitat.

Tentacles is one of the most extensive exhibitions ever devoted to these endlessly bizarre and fascinating creatures, Tentacles gives visitors a look at such rarely seen animals as the cuttlefish and the intriguingly named, strikingly striped wunderpus, a species of octopus. Tentacles also features multimedia interactive exhibits and cephalopod-related art.

Viva Baja! features animals that inhabit the coastal regions of the Baja California Peninsula, including green morays, desert tortoises and brilliantly colored Cortez rainbow wrasses. The Splash Zone & Penguins galleries depict a coral reef as well as reef and rocky shore habitats. Residents include African penguins and seahorses, clownfish and California moray eels.

Don't forget the outdoor tide pools, where you can observe crustaceans and other animals that have adapted to a specialized environment characterized by constant fluctuations in currents, water temperature and salinity as well as the dangers of exposure during low tide.

Feeding demonstrations take place daily at the sea otter, kelp forest and penguin exhibits. Tour programs require an additional fee and include a surface SCUBA experience for kids, a behind-the-scenes tour and family-oriented activities.

Note: The aquarium can get very crowded on weekends and when it first opens. To avoid crowds, plan a visit for later in the day.

Food is available. Time: Allow 3 hours minimum.

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