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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 191 Hotels near Monterey Bay Aquarium
$107
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa

1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey
4.0
of 5, from 4,692 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

After undergoing a $60 million renovation, this 550-room hotel and conference center is situated on 22 acres next to the 18-hole championship Pebble Beach Resort's Del Monte Golf Course, 6 blocks from the beach and 1 mile from downtown Monterey.

$154
InterContinental the Clement Monterey

InterContinental the Clement Monterey

750 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.6
of 5, from 1,632 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).

$159
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay

Two Portola Plaza, Monterey
4.2
of 5, from 3,071 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.

$219
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa

400 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.6
of 5, from 2,179 reviews
4.5 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.

$199
Spindrift Inn

Spindrift Inn

652 Cannery Row, Monterey
4.7
of 5, from 1,021 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

On a stretch of beach along Monterey Bay, this European-style boutique hotel is less than 3 blocks from Monterey Bay Aquarium and a half-mile from Fisherman's Wharf and downtown shops.

$109
Best Western Plus Victorian Inn

Best Western Plus Victorian Inn

487 Foam St, Monterey
4.2
of 5, from 1,457 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Less than a half-mile from Monterey Bay Aquarium and 1 block off Cannery Row, this Green Seal certified, family-friendly Best Western hotel is composed of a historic Victorian mansion and a modern boutique inn.

$99
Wave Street Inn

Wave Street Inn

571 Wave Street, Monterey
4.5
of 5, from 41 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

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

$109
HI Monterey

HI Monterey

778 Hawthorne Street, Monterey
4.2
of 5, from 38 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Situated by the ocean, this hostel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Monterey Bay Aquarium and 1.7 mi (2.8 km) from Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. Monterey County Fairgrounds and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are also within 12 mi (20 km).