Stay near the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Set on Monterey's famous Cannery Row on the site of a former sardine cannery,Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of California’s top attractions. Homing a whopping 35,000 creatures in nearly 200 exhibits, visitors can see a wealth of marine life, including exotic sunfish, sea otters, hammerhead sharks and green sea turtles.
For accommodation near Monterey Bay Aquarium, try the clutch of high-quality three- and four-star hotels situated on Cannery Row, within walking distance of the aquarium. There is also a range of affordable two and three-star inns and motels just south of Fisherman's Wharf, about 25 minutes’ walk from Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Things to See at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
The aquarium's 28-feet Kelp Forest is one of the world's tallest aquarium exhibits and enables visitors to see sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels and other fish as they swim through kelp.
Prepare to be wowed by the aquarium's largest exhibit, Open Sea, which features a glittering array of sardines, tuna, sharks, sea turtles and puffins. Other stand-out exhibits include Tentacles, where you can journey into the world of octopuses, squid and cuttlefishes. Come face-to-face with the world's largest species of octopus – which measure about six feet across from tentacle to tentacle - at the Giant Pacific Octopus exhibit.
Popular with families are the 45 interactive exhibits, including petting tanks which are awash with sea stars, abalones, sea urchins and kelp crabs. Watch beefy sharks and sturgeon gliding through a 90-feet long hourglass-shaped Monterey Bay Habitats exhibit. Check out who's hungry by watching numerous feeding sessions which take place throughout the day – favourite feeding sessions include blackfooted penguins, playful sea otters and Open Sea feeds, which allow you to watch tuna, turtles, sharks and sardines enjoying their dinner.
Where to Eat at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
It's easy to spend a day exploring this huge aquarium. There are two eating spots in which to refuel, including a family-friendly cafe which serves up brick-oven pizzas, made-to-order burgers, salads and tempting desserts. For an upmarket dining experience, go for Cindy's Waterfront, which boasts ocean views and offers seasonal dishes and fine wine.