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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find a spectacular window into life both above and below the waves.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium showcases more than 35,000 animals and plants across 550 species. You’ll discover all kinds of local wildlife here, including fish of all sizes, invertebrates, mammals and plants. 

The centerpiece of the aquarium is a three-story-high tank containing a towering kelp forest. Crane your head back and gaze up at the spectacle of wolf-eels, leopard sharks and schools of sardines gliding and darting through the swaying kelp giants. Visit The Open Sea to get incredibly close to enormous sunfish, hammerhead sharks, and blue- and yellowfin tuna. On the other side in the Oceans Edge section check out the Giant Octopuses. In the Rocky Shores exhibit, walk through a tunnel as waves foam and crash overhead. After taking in the larger exhibits, turn your attention towards one of the ocean’s more delicate creatures, the seahorse, in the Splash Zone.

Children will delight in the comical penguin troupes and the sea otters lazing about on rocky outcrops. Family members of all ages can touch and feed a variety of animals while learning about their habitats at the petting pools. 

The auditorium hosts shows throughout the day, most of which are 15-minutes long. Learn about the life of the spineless jellyfish or catch the daily feed with turtles, fish and sharks. Take a trip behind the glass with a short film detailing how the aquarium staff feed and care for all the center’s animals. 

Join a tour to get more deeply acquainted with specific species. A guide will show you around for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Kids aged 8–13 can get closer to the action with a dive tour, which includes basic scuba diving training. All tours require a fee in addition to admission costs and must be booked in advance through the aquarium’s website. 

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on the waterfront at historic Cannery Row, an area immortalized in the John Steinbeck novel of the same name. A five-minute drive from central Monterey, the area is also serviced by the Monterey–Salinas Transit (MST) bus line. 

The aquarium is open daily except Christmas Day. You’ll need about two to three hours to explore all of the exhibits. 


Guide to Exploring Monterey Bay Aquarium


Top Monterey Bay Aquarium Hotel Deals

See all 947 Properties near Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa RM966
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Monterey, this luxury resort is within a 5-minute walk of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Lovers Point are also within 2 miles (3 km).

    InterContinental the Clement Monterey RM854
    InterContinental the Clement Monterey

    InterContinental the Clement Monterey

       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is steps away from Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum, Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17-Mile Drive are also within 2 miles (3 km).

      Spindrift Inn RM686
      Spindrift Inn

      Spindrift Inn

         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Monterey, this beachfront hotel is in the historical district, just steps away from Cannery Row and Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater are also within 10 minutes.

        Wave Street Inn
        Wave Street Inn

        Wave Street Inn

           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Lighthouse District, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cannery Row, San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater and Monterey Bay Aquarium. American Tin Cannery and Coast Guard Pier are also within 10 minutes.

          Cannery Row Inn
          Cannery Row Inn

          Cannery Row Inn

             
            2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Lighthouse District, this hotel is steps away from San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater and Cannery Row. Monterey Bay and Monterey Bay Aquarium are also within 15 minutes.

            Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row
            Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row

            Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row

            443 Wave St, Monterey, CA
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Lighthouse District, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf are also within 15 minutes.

              Hotel Pacific RM555
              Hotel Pacific

              Hotel Pacific

                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Monterey, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Monterey State Historic Park and Fisherman's Wharf. Cannery Row and Monterey Bay are also within 1 mile (2 km).

                Monterey Bay Inn RM552
                Monterey Bay Inn

                Monterey Bay Inn

                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Monterey, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre, just steps away from San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater, Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Lovers Point are also within 2 miles (3 km).