Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row in California

At the ocean’s edge in Monterey, California, on Cannery Row, you’ll find the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Its windows into the magical underwater world of the ocean are a sight in California that almost every vacationer visits on their tour of the west coast.

Sea otters, sharks, seahorses, tuna, penguins and many other marine creatures make their home at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Interesting exhibits like the three-story kelp forest, touch pools, hands-on exhibits, and seasonal special exhibits invite you to visit the Monterey Aquarium.

According to, the aquarium was founded in 1984 on the site of a former sardine canning factory. The factory was closed when the sardine supply decreased due to overfishing. From the beginning, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s mission has been to inspire visitors to protect the oceans. The centerpiece of the Monterey Aquarium is an 8.5m high tank displaying California coastal marine life and home to a vast kelp forest.

An average visit to the aquarium takes about two to three hours. For more information, you can get free visitor maps in several languages ​​at the information desk.

History of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California

There have been a number of attempts to build an aquarium in Monterey. But it wasn’t until 1980, when a cannery was dismantled at the end of Cannery Row, that there was a permanent location. The Bay Aquarium Monterey was built with an initial construction cost of $55 million and opened October 20, 1984. The aquarium’s mission is to inspire visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium about conservation of the oceans.
The aquarium in Monterey was financially supported by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Who also founded the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, of which the aquarium is a part. His daughter, marine biologist Julie Packard, is currently the director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
A $57 million expansion was completed in 1996. The original Hovden Cannery steam whistle, blown at the time of the cannery, has been heard daily at the Monterey Bay Aquarium since 2002.

The aquarium was dedicated to honor the work of Edward Ricketts (1897-1948), a marine biologist. The aquarium is almost entirely self-supporting. It is financed from the income from entrance fees, membership programs, sponsorship, evening events, the aquarium shop and the restaurant.

Aquarium exhibits at the Monterey Aquarium

Aquarium exhibits are a living extension of the Monterey Bay Aquariums. Exhibits of more than 35,000 creatures and over 550 species of plants from the waters off California’s coast can be found at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The seawater from the ocean is used for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and piped into the aquarium tanks. 2,000 gallons of fresh Monterey Bay Ocean seawater flows through more than 100 display tanks per minute. Throughout the day, the water is filtered for a clear view. During the night, unfiltered seawater is pumped through the exhibits, providing them with nourishment in the form of plankton. Old water from the aquarium goes back into the bay. Due to the ideal location of the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the Monterey Canyon, a deep sea trench, this water is very rich in nutrients. The area around Monterey Bay is therefore specially protected, the protected area even extends to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Program

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California has a research program to protect endangered California sea otters. It is the only aquarium in the world that cares for stranded otter pups. In addition, the aquarium protects great white sharks and Pacific tuna together with Stanford University. The migration pattern, population development, food requirements and the dangers in the wild are being researched.

Exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

There are over 35,000 animals on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, representing 550 different species of marine life such as fish, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, birds and plants. In total, the Monterey Aquarium has over 200 tanks with plants and animals.

Tentacles is a special exhibition since 2014. It shows the amazing life of octopus, squid and cuttlefish. A journey into the world of underwater magicians, masters of disguise and quick-change artists begins here. Fascinating animals feature, such as a giant Pacific Octopus, the world’s smallest squid and the world’s largest squid.

The Jellies Experience
The exhibition “The Jellies Experience” looks like a distant world, graceful jellyfish and mysterious animals float through the water here. Shimmering bright colors with ruffles and pearls enchant the visitor. The entities and jellyfish grow or shrink depending on the availability of the food supply.

Giant Pacific Octopus
Large, beautiful giant Pacific octopuses that are so complex in appearance and masters of disguise roam the aquariums here.

Kelp Forest
Kelp Forest a 28 foot tall underwater forest is the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. It is the centerpiece of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is the first exhibit in the world to contain a kelp forest. A wave machine provides the seaweed with the constant water movement it needs. The top of the tank is open to maximize sun exposure. Eighty species of algae grow in this exhibition. In the Monterey Bay Aquarium you can look into the kelp forest on three floors. As a visitor, you will get diving perspectives here. The fish in the tank are fed by divers twice a day.

Life on the Bay
The Aquarium is located on the edge of Monterey Bay. On the aquarium’s deck there is a great vantage point to spot marine wildlife such as sea otters and humpback whales. In the accompanying Marine Mammal Gallery, see life-size models of whales and dolphins and learn about life in the bay.

Mission to the Deep
This exhibit features video footage of deep-sea exploration using underwater robots and other high-tech tools. You will be briefed on research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The exhibition is currently closed (as of 2014).

This exhibit features Monterey Bay Habitats
residents such as sharks and sturgeon that live on Monterey Bay. A long exhibit shows five different habitats of the Monterey Bay.

Open Sea
Open Sea, formerly Outer Bay, is the largest exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A 90-foot window through which you can watch tuna, sunfish, sea turtles, sharks and sardines swim by is the focal point of the exhibit. It offers a view directly into the ocean. In 2010, this area of ​​the Monterey Aquarium was renovated to include a puffin exhibit, juvenile sea turtle exhibit, and information on microscopic plankton.

Rocky Shore
Here you will find touch pools where you can touch starfish and look at anemones. Barnacles stand on their heads, waving their legs in the current and starfish move across the rocks. On the ground floor by the touch pools you will also find a glass tunnel through which a huge amount of seawater regularly flows into the outdoor pools.

Sandy Shore & Aviary
You’ll never get this close to the birds in the wild on the shore. Long-legged birds scoot through the sand and flounders lie flat in the water to avoid being found. In the touch pool you can touch eagle rays.

Sea Otters
Many sea otters can be seen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. These sea otters are rescued animals that can no longer survive in the wild. On the second floor of the exhibit, you can see the sea otters swimming on the surface. There is also an underwater view on the first floor.

Splash Zone & Penguins
Explore the ocean with over 45 interactive exhibits. Visit a coral reef or explore rocky shores. Sharks and penguins are at home here. The aquarium hosted 19 penguins from the New Orleans Aquarium when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Daily shows & feedings at the Aquarium in Monterey

Animal feedings take place daily. We have compiled the most important animal feedings at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for you here:

Sea Otters at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm
Blackfooted Penguins at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm
Kelp Forest Diving Fair at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm
Open Sea at 11:00 am
Laysan Albatross at 1:30 pm

Entry & opening hours to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open daily from 10am to 6pm except Christmas. Opening times may vary depending on the season.
Tip: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is included in the San Francisco City Pass.

Directions & directions to California to the Monterey Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey is located at the west end of historic Cannery Row, just minutes from Carmel and Pebble Beach. Monterey is approximately 125 miles (208 km) south of San Francisco and 360 miles (600 km) north of Los Angeles.

The address of the Monterey Bay Aquarium attraction

Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940

Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row in California