Monterey Bay Aquarium :- Complete Family Visit Guide

Monterey Bay Aquarium is an award-winning aquarium that offers an educational and entertaining time to visitors of all age groups. As the name suggests, it is located in Monterey, California, and is well known all over the world for encompassing a diverse range of aquatic animals.
Monterey Bay Aquarium first opened in the year 1984 and instantly became popular for encompassing a kelp forest within its interiors. The team of biologists here have mastered the technique of animal husbandry of jellyfish. This aquarium was the first one to successfully take a great white shark under its care.
The research and conservation efforts of this aquarium are also directed towards different bird species, sea otters, and tunas. It has close to 200 galleries which beautifully display the diverse aquatic life.
Every year, about 2 million visitors venture into this aquarium to check out the colorful underwater species. You can easily access the tickets to Monterey Aquarium by visiting their Monterey Bay Aquarium website.


Monterey Bay Aquarium facts

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Before you know more about the Monterey Bay Aquarium tour, let us look at some of the fun facts related to this aquarium. 

  • This aquarium opened to the public in 1984 and experienced about 2.37 million visitors that year. 
  • The youngest Monterey Bay Aquarium volunteer is 14 years old while the oldest volunteer is 95 years old.
  • The kelp forest holds a special place in Monterey Bay Aquarium history. This aquarium was the first to build and exhibit a living kelp forest, this is depicted in the Monterey Bay Aquarium logo.
  • There are about 200 Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibits displaying the diverse habitats.
  • The popular exhibits are Monterey Bay Aquarium open sea, Monterey Bay Aquarium kelp forest, Monterey Bay Habitats, and Monterey Bay sea otters.
  • Ever wondered how big is Monterey Bay Aquarium? It encompasses around 3.3 acres and 320,000 sq ft. of land consisting of 175,000 sq ft of exhibits, 25,000 sq ft of ocean-view decks, and 120,000 sq ft of behind the scenes.
  • This aquarium was the first to display cephalopods of the deep-sea: flapjack octopus, vampire squid, strawberry squid).
  • This aquarium is the home to about 80,000 plants and animals which include about 1,700 fish species, mammals, invertebrates, birds, reptiles, and plants. This keeps changing as new species enter through the open seawater system.
  • It was the very first aquarium to discover and study the lifecycle of a different jellyfish species including flower hat jellies and purple striped jellies.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium pictures and video clippings can be seen in several tv shows and movies including Big Little Lies on HBO, Today on NBC, Big Blue Live on BBC, Finding Dory, Oceans in Glass, Sphere, Seven Pounds, Saving Otter 501, and Star Trek IV.
  • Close to 2,000 gallons of water from the sea flows from the bay to the aquarium and back to the ocean in a minute.
  • Aquarium was the first to display and take care of great white sharks.
  • It was also the first aquarium to rescue southern sea otter pups and reintroduce them to the wild through a surrogacy program.


What makes Monterey Aquarium special

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Aquarium offers an opportunity to all its visitors to view all the inhabiting aquatic species up close. It encapsulates some of the most fascinating sea animals and is worth a visit.
Visitors of all age groups can enjoy exploring the mysteries of sea horses and can have fun checking out the white sharks. There is so much to do and explore in this aquarium that you can easily spend a fulfilling day filled with adventure. Here are a few reasons why you must plan a visit to this aquarium.

  1. Engaging events at Monterey Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium
There are several interesting tours and events held at Monterey Aquarium which can be chosen by the visitors according to their preference. Behind the Scenes tour is one of the most famous tours in this aquarium where the visitors get to hear interesting stories from the keepers.
Penguin and sea otter feedings along with a visit to the petting pools are some other activities that are frequently enjoyed by the visitors here. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program allows visitors to make conscious ocean-friendly efforts while picking seafood for consumption.
In this program, a detailed Monterey Bay Aquarium seafood guide keeps getting regularly updated on the aquarium’s official site. 

  1. Virtual initiatives

This aquarium offers several virtual tours and experiences through several programs. Monterey Bay Aquarium Animal Crossing event can now be enjoyed by anybody virtually from any part of the world.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Meditation programs are readily available on their site and they offer a great way to unwind and de-stress. If you are a member, you can access a number of member events that keep getting updated on their webpage.

  1. Educational amenities

Monterey Aquarium offers plenty of courses and trips for educational purposes. If you feel like taking the classes at home, even that can be done through the several online courses and parent-led activities offered on their official website.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium gift shop features educational toys for sale which can be great for a fun learning session. You can also explore the teen programs, online courses for teens, and information about teen career resources on their site. They also offer free courses online through which interesting science concepts can be learned.
Through these online courses, you also get a chance to indulge in highly engaging science projects. This aquarium also offers the Monterey Bay Aquarium homeschool days program through which all the family members can educate themselves while exploring the exhibits in the aquarium.

  1. Incredible visitation rates

There are incredible deals and discounts to Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are certain hotels in the region that have partnered with this aquarium and when you stay at these hotels, you can get free admission tickets to Monterey Bay Aquarium which is valid for two consecutive days.
You can also access the Monterey Bay Aquarium discount if you are planning a visit in a group of 12 or more members. This aquarium also offers military and locals-only discounts on Monterey Bay Aquarium ticket prices which can be availed at the main entrance.

  1. Perfect venue for events

The truly mesmerizing backgrounds with colorful aquatic species makes this aquarium the ideal place to host personal as well as official events. May it be your wedding, birthday, corporate meeting, or any other form of social gathering, you must consider booking Monterey Bay Aquarium for a unique experience.
The commercials for Monterey Bay Aquarium wedding and other social events can be discussed via call or email by contacting the aquarium’s team.

Best time to visit Monterey Bay Aquarium

The best time to plan a visit to this aquarium is between April and May. During the spring season, the Monterey Bay Aquarium weather would be relatively warm due to which you will experience fewer numbers of people.

Monterey Bay Aquarium address 

Are you thinking about where is Monterey Bay Aquarium? Here’s the address for you!
886 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
The directions to the Monterey Bay Aquarium are pretty easy to understand. This aquarium is situated in Monterey at Cannery Row’s west end.
It is just a few minutes away from Pebble and Carmel beach, which are the most popular beaches near Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Monterey Bay Aquarium directions can be better understood through the Monterey Bay Aquarium map.

Monterey Bay Aquarium admission

The Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets can be brought easily by just visiting their online ticket booking page. All you have to do is fill in all the details like date of visitation, number of tickets, etc, after which you will receive an email with your ticket.
However, make sure that you check if you are eligible to access any discounts or deals. If you have a valid Monterey Bay Aquarium membership, you can access special discounts whenever you visit the aquarium. Here are a few important things that you need to know while purchasing tickets to visit this aquarium.

  • The purchase of Monterey Bay Aquarium passes is only possible online as there won’t be any sale of tickets in-person.
  • While visiting the aquarium, you need to keep the ticket copy open on your device or you can even show a printed hard copy of the same at the entrance.
  • Ensure that you are there at the venue at least 15 mins prior to the given entry time on your ticket. If you are not there on time, you may have to book a ticket for the next day.
  • Keep sufficient time aside for parking near Monterey Bay Aquarium as it may take time to find a viable space for Monterey Bay Aquarium parking.
  • If you are staying at any of the Monterey Bay Aquarium hotels, you can get an exclusive two-day admission ticket for free. 
  • If you are visiting in a group of four or more people, book your tickets at least 48 hours prior to your time of visitation to access discounted Monterey Bay Aquarium cost.
  • You can get a discount on the Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets costco by showing your military ID.
  • Discounted or free admission for locals during certain Monterey Bay Aquarium events and shows in the aquarium are also offered here.

If you have a Monterey Bay Aquarium groupon or any of the Monterey Bay Aquarium coupons 2019, you can access further discounts on your admission tickets.
You can get more information regarding this on the official website of Monterey Aquarium.

Monterey Bay Aquarium prices for admission: 

Are you wondering how much are Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets? Here are the general ticket rates to visit this aquarium.

  • Adults (ages 18 to 64) – $49.95
  • Youth (ages 13 to 17)  – $39.95
  • Child (ages 5 to 12) – $34.95
  • Senior (ages 65+) – $39.95

Opening hours: 

Thinking about what time does Monterey Bay Aquarium open? The Monterey Bay Aquarium hours are from 10:00 AM to 06:00 PM PDT on all days of the week.

Monterey Bay Aquarium live cam

With the ongoing tensions due to Covid-19, Monterey Aquarium has found a new way to keep its visitors entertained. You can now view all the aquatic exhibits live in action and can even check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium zoom backgrounds through Monterey Bay Aquarium cam.
Thanks to the live Monterey Bay Aquarium webcam, you can get delighted by the sea otter’s antics through the Monterey Bay Aquarium sea otter cam, get amazed by the jellies drifting hypnotically, experience astonishing views of Monterey Bay Aquarium sharks and view so much more from the comfort of your home.
There are totally ten different live cams through which you can view Monterey Bay Aquarium videos, each of them are listed below.

  1. Aviary live cam

You can have an experience similar to an adventurous bird-watching session by accessing this live cam in Monterey Aquarium. You can get a chance to spot a variety of bird species like the black oystercatcher, black-necked stilts, shorebirds, etc.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT

  1. Coral reef live cam

Explore the colorful spread of coral reefs and also spot a few tropical fish species like scrawled filefish, Cortez wrasse, and Cortez angelfish. 
Timings: 09:30 AM to 05:00 PM PDT

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium Otters live cam

Witness the playful otters frolicking in their habitat through this live Aquarium otter cam. In the live sessions through this Monterey Bay Aquarium live otter cam,
you can learn about their behaviors and get to know how the keepers keep their mind stimulated with certain training techniques. 
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT, narrated feeding every weekday at 01:30 PM PDT

  1. Kelp Forest live cam

You can spot a variety of invertebrates and fish floating around in Monterey Aquarium through this live cam. Some of the animals you can spot here include giant sea bass, leopard sharks, wolf eel, etc.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT, narrated feeding session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 11:30 AM PDT

  1. Jelly live cam

Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium can be seen gracefully trailing around. Through this Monterey Bay Aquarium jelly cam, delicate sea nettles, which is an open seawater exhibit, can be seen.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 06:00 PM PDT

  1. Moon Jelly live cam

You can see these delicate creatures pulsating their translucent bells. The best part about moon jelly is that it changes its color with different kinds of food.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT

  1. Penguin live cam

Get a chance to witness the underwater acrobatics by the penguins through this live Monterey Bay Aquarium penguin cam.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 05:00 PM PDT, narrated feeding every day at 10:30 AM PDT

  1. Open Sea live cam

Explore the diverse variety of underwater species like green sea turtles, pelagic rays, and a variety of fishes.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT, narrated feeding session every weekday at 11:00 AM PDT

  1. Monterey Bay live cam

Enjoy the mesmerizing sights of the ocean-view decks which are frequented by a number of sea mammals and birds.
Timings: 24 hours

  1. Shark live cam

Get a chance to sight leopard sharks, seven gill sharks, pacific angel sharks, and spiny dogfish. You might also get to witness bat rays and big skates passing by. The Monterey Bay Aquarium great white shark is the prime attraction that can be spotted through this cam.
Timings: 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM PDT
Tune in to these live webcams for a Monterey Bay Aquarium virtual tour to experience the wondrous ocean-life thriving with numerous aquatic species from the comfort of your home.
For a unique experience, make sure that you check out these live cams during the Monterey Bay Aquarium feeding times mentioned above.

Hotels near Monterey Bay Aquarium

Exploring all the exhibits in Monterey Bay Aquarium may take more than one day so it is a good idea to book your stay in any of the motels near Monterey Bay Aquarium.
There are a few hotels that have partnered with the aquarium and they give certain admission benefits to the visitors who are planning an exploration trip to the aquarium. This is why it is a good idea to book a stay in one of these hotels.

  1. Hampton Inn Monterey

This is a quaint hotel which is located near Del Monte beach. You can easily reach this hotel since it is just five minutes’ drive away from the Monterey Bay Peninsula Airport. Apart from being a partner to the aquarium, you can enjoy visiting other nearby attractions like Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, etc, while enjoying your stay here.
Distance from the aquarium: 2 miles

  1. Best Western Plus Victorian Inn

If you want to experience a seaside vacation during your visit to the aquarium, this is one of the perfect Monterey Bay Aquarium hotels. You can enjoy refreshing activities like biking along the shorelines, go wine-tasting, try kayaking, enjoy whale-watching, etc. The rooms here are well-equipped with private balconies, patios, and window seats.
Distance from the aquarium: 0.5 miles

  1. Casa Munras Hotel and Spa

This is one of the most preferred hotels near Monterey Bay Aquarium California featuring picturesque grounds and impeccable architecture. This is located in the heart of Monterey Bay and all the essential amenities can be easily accessed when you stay here.
Distance from the aquarium: 2 miles

Restaurants near Monterey Bay Aquarium

Endless explorations throughout the day in Monterey Bay Aquarium can sure be a tiresome ordeal. Well, you need not worry! This aquarium features a cafe, a coffee bar, and a restaurant within its premises where you can have a quick bite, an appetizing meal, or even sip on your favorite kind of coffee. Here are the dining options available at this aquarium.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium cafe

This cafe features casual food options like burgers, pizzas, desserts, and salads, in their menu. All these dishes are made fresh through the locally sourced ingredients from Central Valley and Monterey Bay.
Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 04:30 PM

  1. Monterey Bay Coffee Bar

Take a break from strolling through the different exhibits in the cafe and have a refreshing sip of freshly brewed coffee at this place. You can pick from an assortment of organic coffee beverages, desserts, and pastries.
Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM

  1. Monterey Bay Restaurant

This restaurant is perfect if you wish to peacefully dine amidst serene ocean views. It is an ideal place to unwind with a glass of wine and a plate of seasonal dishes.
Opening hours: 11:00 AM to 03:00 PM

Activities to enjoy at Monterey Bay Aquarium

There are plenty of activities offered by this aquarium which are fun and educational at the same time. There is some activity for every kind of visitor in this aquarium. Here are a few of the most popular activities in the Aquarium.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium sleepover

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Generally during the months after July, Monterey Bay Aquarium sleepover 2019 is a regular affair at the aquarium. You get to choose from the different exhibit rooms to sleep in with your friends and family.
Imagine waking up to an enchanting view of the ocean. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? This is not like any casual sleepover, in fact, you will get a chance to experience a number of exciting planned activities during such an event like a dance party, themed dinner, improv comedy, etc.
Make sure that you keep a track of such an event to enjoy a never-before-experienced event.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium underwater explorers

This activity is specifically designed for kids aged 8 to 13 years. This is a great activity to introduce them to the underwater world through scuba diving sessions.
The kids are guided by an expert dive staff who will help them get a closer look at the different sea animals. This activity generally takes place from June 15th to September 2nd every year. The approximate length of each diving session is around 90 minutes.
Fees: $95+admission ticket fee and $75 for members of the aquarium
You can book these sessions from the official website of the aquarium.

  1. Camping near Monterey Bay Aquarium

The region surrounding Monterey Bay Aquarium is dotted with perfect campsites. A few of the most enviable campsites include Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur,
Limekiln State Park in Big Sur, Plaskett Creek Campground in southern Big Sur, Lake San Antonio in Harris Creek Campground, Veteran’sMemorial Park in Monterey, and Fremont Peak State Park in northern Monterey County. If you are an adventure freak, camping at these sites will be an ideal activity for you. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium exhibits

This aquarium houses plenty of exhibits that feature the habitats of different Monterey Bay Aquarium animals like Monterey Bay Aquarium great white shark, otters, jellyfish, among several others. For the best experience, take your time and visit each of these exhibits given below.

  1. Viva Baja

Creatures that originate from the coastal regions of Baja California can be spotted in this exhibition in Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA.
The creatures that you can spot in this exhibit include Cortez rainbow wrasse, blue-spotted jawfish, golden trevally, desert tortoise, mountain kingsnake, lookdown, green moray, pacific seahorse, and the staghorn hermit crab.

  1. Splash zone and penguins

This displays the coastal habitat where you can come face to face with Monterey Bay Aquarium Penguins and sharks. A large variety of sharks at Monterey Bay Aquarium can be seen at this exhibit. Other animals that can be spotted here include swell shark, zebra moray, clownfish, African penguin, and giant green anemone. 

  1. Sea otters

In this exhibit, you can see magnificent sea otters tumbling and wrestling in the most adorable way. The lively acrobatics is a must watch while viewing this exhibit in Aquarium in California.

  1. Rocky shore

This habitat is the rocky shore which describes the border where the ocean water advances and slowly declines with tidal rhythms. In this exhibit, you will get to see monkeyface prickleback, acorn barnacle, giant green anemone, and California mussel.

  1. Open sea

This is the largest exhibit in Monterey Bay Aquarium and showcases a variety of sea animals including pelagic stingray, tufted puffin, pigeon guillemot, pacific bonito, common murre, and purple striped jelly.
Here, you will also see the well-known Monterey Bay Aquarium whale shark, which is the scalloped hammerhead shark. The popular Monterey Bay Aquarium sunfish can also be spotted here.

  1. Monterey Bay habitats

This is an hour-glass shaped exhibit which is about 90 feet in height and highlights around 5 habitats with amazing creatures like white sturgeon, rockfish, bat ray, acorn barnacle, pacific spiny dogfish, big skate, and broad nose seven gill shark.

  1. Life on the bay

This is an aquarium which is perched right on the Monterey Bay’s edge. The animals found in this exhibit include scooty sheerwater, orca, humpback whale, common bottlenose dolphin, pacific-white sided dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, harbor seal, and Monterey Bay Aquarium blue whale.

  1. Kelp forest

This is known to be the tallest exhibit in the aquarium and is about 28 feet in height. Here you can check out rockfish, giant kelpfish, giant green anemone, and swell shark.

  1. Tentacles

In this open water exhibit, you get to explore all the sea animals with tentacles like squids, Monterey Bay Aquarium octopuses, nautilus, and cuttlefish. They are known to be masters in the art of adapting to any kind of situation underwater. Apart from these animals you also get to see the fragile pink sea urchin.

  1. Giant pacific octopus

As the name indicates, in this exhibit you will get to see the giant pacific octopus which is known to be one of the smartest sea animals. It has mastered the art of disguise and also possesses the ability to solve a maze.
The tour guides do a very good job of helping you identify the different fish species inhabiting Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. However, you can also refer to the fish guide for this purpose.

Monterey Bay Aquarium careers

Monterey Bay Aquarium offers plenty of educational and job opportunities.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium jobs

For any job openings and other relevant updates in the aquarium or in Monterey Bay Research Institute, click here.

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium internships

This aquarium also offers plenty of internship programs. These internship programs keep changing every year. Watch this space to be updated with the latest internship program offerings.

Get in touch with Monterey Bay Aquarium

If in case you have any queries with relation to the aquarium, you can use the details given below to get in touch with their team.

Contact the team:

Aquarium phone number – 831.648.4800 for sales and reservations, 831.648.4880 for membership and donations.
You can call these numbers on any weekday (except holidays) from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM PDT.

Follow us:

Aquarium YouTube
Aquarium Twitter
Aquarium Instagram
You can check out Monterey Bay Aquarium Yelp for the reviews left by satisfied visitors to the aquarium. You can even leave your feedback on this page.

Photo Gallery:

Aquarium images of the diverse aquatic life encompassed by the aquarium can be checked out by clicking here

Attractions near Aquarium

Monterey encompasses several places near the aquarium which the visitors to the aquarium can explore. This place has something for every type of traveller.
The vast landscapes, interesting activities, and the close proximity to the aquarium make these places a must-visit for every visitor.

  • Old Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Cannery Row
  • Pacific Grove
  • Golden State Theatre
  • 17-Mile Drive
  • Historic Downtown Monterey
  • Monterey Museum of Art


Is Monterey Bay Aquarium worth it? Absolutely! With an incredible range of aquatic species and enthralling viewing spots, Aquarium can easily be deemed as one of the best aquariums in the USA.
It encompasses 10 wonderful exhibits, each of which excellently showcases the aquatic animals in their natural habitat. You can even explore a number of activities offered by this aquarium for a great experience. This a great aquarium for educating the young generation about several concerning issues related to aquatic animals.
This place also houses the Monterey Bay Aquarium store where you can shop for gifts and souvenirs. If you are looking for a unique experience, you must plan a visit to Monterey Aquarium with your friends and family.

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