Monterey Bay Aquarium: A Day at the Seaside

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Over the summer, we decided to take a trip up north and the aquarium in Monterey Bay was a must-visit for us! Let’s just say Finding Dory was a big influence on that trip. So today, I wanted to share a few tips to make your own trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with your family a memorable one.

Let’s get started!


What to know before you visit the aquarium of Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay Aquarium with kids

First of all, do the research. I recommend checking their website ahead of time to know if their mask policy has changed, what special events will be taking place at the time of your trip, or if they are working on any special conservation projects during your visit. Their website has a lot of information that is definitely useful when planning ahead.

ProTip: Set aside about 3-4 hours of your day so that you can take the time to experience the aquarium to the fullest.

Hours of Operation: The aquarium opens every day from 10 AM to 5 PM (except on certain holidays).

Time Entry: You must book your entry time to the aquarium (due to Covid-19 protocol), creating a long line queue outside but the line does go pretty quick.

Ticket Pricing: Adults $49.95 | Youth $39.95 | Child $34.95 | Senior $39.95 | Four and under free

Note: As of November 1st, visitors ages 12 and up must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Exhibits to explore at the Monterey aquarium

When it comes to learning about marine life, there are a lot of really great exhibits to appreciate. Here are a few that we enjoyed!

Kelp Forest: One of the most popular exhibits at Monterey Bay Aquarium because it’s so beautiful. This undersea forest, which measures 28 feet tall, houses many sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels, and other fish living their best life.

Open Sea: This stunning one-million gallon (you read that right!) exhibit is home to some neat creatures like giant tunas, pelagic rays, and green sea turtles.

Rocky Shore: Is your family ready to get up close and personal? Your family will be able to touch sea stars, hermit crabs, and a variety of other animals. Plus, you’ll be able to learn more about their habitats and how they have been able to survive in such an exciting ecosystem. And don’t forget to head over to the walkthrough tunnel and experience the waves crashing on you!

Life on the Bay:  Beautiful scenery. Breathtaking experience. The ocean-view decks offer a great view to spot wildlife and see nature in action. Plus, you’ll be able to take some great photos here. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to sea otters and even humpback whales!

Getting there is not so simple

Monterey Bay Aquarium visit

Here are a few things to watch out for before making your trip. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the bottom of Cannery Row. A very touristy area and it has no designated parking, making parking difficult and somewhat off-putting.

However, there are a few parking structures not so far from the aquarium. So even though you might have to pay a little extra, you at least don’t have to worry about fighting over street parking near the aquarium.


visit the Monterey bay aquarium

So here are our two cents about the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s an enjoyable experience, but it’s not something we would go back to often.

Are we going back right away? Not sure yet. But for now, I can say it was worth it at least once.

What was your experience? Do you plan to visit? Have you visited? Let me know!

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