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Monterey Bay Aquarium
Vacation Travel Guide

Monterey Bay Aquarium showing marine life and interior views

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.

Top things to do in Monterey Bay Aquarium

Top Hotels Close to Monterey Bay Aquarium

InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is $237 per night from May 25 to May 25
Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is steps from Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum, Cannery Row, and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (916 reviews)
"Loved not only the ocean view, but being right over the water's edge! Having a little balcony with a couple of chairs and a tiny table to put our coffee cups on so we could sit outside, have our morning coffee and hear the sounds of the ocean waves on the rocks, the seagulls calling and the seals ..."

Reviewed on May 15, 2021

InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is $233 per night from May 31 to May 31
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 Fisherman's Wharf are ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (1,785 reviews)
"Stayed during covid"

Reviewed on May 13, 2021

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
4 out of 5
Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA
The price is $197 per night from May 17 to May 17
Located in Downtown Monterey, this resort is within a 5-minute walk of Monterey Convention Center and Fisherman's Wharf. Monterey Bay and Cannery Row are also ...
4.3/5Excellent! (952 reviews)
"We always enjoy staying here. The location and overall atmosphere is ideal for us...whether we bring the whole family, dogs included, or not. A favorite getaway."

Reviewed on May 13, 2021

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Monterey Bay Aquarium

InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is $237 per night from May 25 to May 25
InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is $233 per night from May 31 to May 31
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
4 out of 5
Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA
The price is $197 per night from May 17 to May 17
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Wave Street Inn
Wave Street Inn
2.5 out of 5
571 Wave Street, Monterey, CA
The price is $149 per night from May 17 to May 17
Wave Street Inn
Spindrift Inn
Spindrift Inn
3.5 out of 5
652 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is $199 per night from May 18 to May 18
Spindrift Inn
Monterey Tides
Monterey Tides
3.5 out of 5
2600 Sand Dunes Dr, Monterey, CA
The price is $175 per night from May 17 to May 17
Monterey Tides
Best Western Plus Victorian Inn
Best Western Plus Victorian Inn
2.5 out of 5
487 Foam St, Monterey, CA
The price is $149 per night from May 23 to May 23
Best Western Plus Victorian Inn
Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row, an IHG Hotel
2.5 out of 5
443 Wave St, Monterey, CA
The price is $129 per night from May 20 to May 20
Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row, an IHG Hotel
Ocean Wave B - Monterey Condo - Oceanview Cannery Row
Ocean Wave B - Monterey Condo - Oceanview Cannery Row
Monterey, CA
Ocean Wave B - Monterey Condo - Oceanview Cannery Row
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.