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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 around Monterey Bay Aquarium


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Lodging Near Monterey Bay Aquarium

See all 313 Hotels near Monterey Bay Aquarium
$179
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

400 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.6
of 5, from 2,177 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa sits right on the bay in the center of town, a 15-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf and 2.5 miles (4 km) from Point Pinos Lighthouse. Carmel, Pebble Beach, and 17-Mile Drive are within a 20-minute drive, and golfers can choose from over 20 courses in the county.

$169
Monterey Bay Inn

Monterey Bay Inn

242 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.6
of 5, from 1,013 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Anchoring the quiet end of Cannery Row, this waterfront boutique hotel is perched above Monterey Bay, with Fisherman's Wharf a quarter-mile away, A Taste of Monterey winery a half-mile away, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium within a half-mile.

$179
Wave Street Inn

Wave Street Inn

571 Wave Street, Monterey
4.5
of 5, from 82 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Lighthouse District, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Monterey Bay Aquarium, American Tin Cannery, and San Carlos Beach - The Breakwater. Coast Guard Pier and Fisherman's Wharf are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$175
InterContinental the Clement Monterey

InterContinental the Clement Monterey

750 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.6
of 5, from 1,643 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Monterey hotel is located on the waterfront, just steps from Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Fisherman's Wharf and Maritime Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$80
Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

Sea Breeze Inn And Cottages

1100 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove
4.0
of 5, from 1,093 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated near the airport, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary and Point Pinos Lighthouse. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$129
Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa

700 Munras Ave, Monterey
4.1
of 5, from 1,917 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This downtown Monterey property is a half-mile from Monterey State Beach and within a mile of Monterey Fisherman's Wharf.

$152
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
4.2
of 5, from 3,122 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Just 200 yards from Fisherman's Wharf, this resort borders Custom House Plaza, with the beach and sparkling bay just beyond; Cannery Row and the aquarium are a short walk away.

$99
Colton Inn

Colton Inn

707 Pacific Street, Monterey
4.0
of 5, from 1,590 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Monterey, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Monterey Museum of Art, Fisherman's Wharf, and Maritime Museum. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Dennis the Menace Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).