- Hours: Open every day except December 25
- Reservations: Not required, but buying tickets in advance will help you stay out of line
- Cost: Admission charged Check current prices
- Location: Cannery Row, driving directions below
- How Long: The average visit is 3 hours, but if you're short on time see our one-hour guide
- Best Time to Visit: Any time, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium is less crowded on weekdays when the kids are in school
- See it Now: Photo tour
Monterey Bay Aquarium ReviewWe rate the Monterey Bay Aquarium 5 out of 5. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, more than 35,000 strange and colorful ocean creatures live inside a former cannery. Where sardines once went into cans, over a thousand employees and volunteers now tenderly care for the marine life so Monterey Bay Aquarium visitors can see them and learn more about the ocean and its riches.
Others may disagree. You can see what other people just like you think about it, then bookmark this page and after you've been there, come back and tell us what you think.
What do you think of the Monterey Bay Aquarium as a tourist destination?
- So-So More fun than a night in jail, but you might enjoy a good nap more
- OK Some people find it interesting, but I didn't
- Good I really liked it, and I think you will, too
- Awesome! It's a must-see sight that I recommend to everyone
Tips for Visiting the Monterey Bay AquariumMany visitors worry about long lines and crowding here. The good news is that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is very roomy inside, and even on the most crowded days, you can still get to see everything. These tips will help you enjoy your visit to the fullest.
- Order Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets online and pick them up at the Will Call window. You won't have to stand in line at the ticket office.
- If you visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium during summer or on a school holiday, lines are longest in the middle of the day. Arrive early to minimize the delay.
- If you live in northern California, consider a Monterey Bay Aquarium membership. It pays for itself in less than two Monterey Bay Aquarium visits for a family of four, and members enter through a special side entrance. You'll also get an excellent monthly newsletter, members-only nights, early admissions and opportunities to enjoy special Monterey Bay Aquarium activities.
- Their behind the scenes tour is a great way to learn more about what it takes to run this place. Reserve in advance (extra fee in addition to admission).
- As soon as you get inside, check the feeding schedules and the times for the films shown in the auditorium and schedule the rest of your exploration around them.
- If you're visiting with children, try to arrive around opening time, head for the Touch Pools early before the animals have to take a rest, tour for 1.5 to 2 hours, then break for lunch and start again.
- Each of the stores inside the aquarium has a theme, so if you see something you like, either make note of its location or buy it on the spot.
- Wheelchairs and assistive listening devices are available for free and all exhibits are wheelchair accessible.
Monterey Bay Aquarium ExhibitsTake our photo tour for a step-by-step preview of the major galleries and exhibits.
- Drifters Gallery: Float along through the largest permanent collection of jellyfish species in the United States.
- Kelp Forest: Look through the world's largest window to get a diver's eye view of a kelp forest and its inhabitants. Divers feed the fish in this exhibit twice daily.
- Ocean's Edge: You'll find the Touch Pools here, along with a fun walk-through tunnel where you can let a wave crash over you without getting wet.
- Outer Bay: Creatures found in the temperate Eastern Pacific swim in more than a million gallons of sea water, giving a glimpse of life in the open ocean. Once a day on selected days of the week, you can watch the fish getting fed.
- Sea Otters: See the otters above and below the water at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Feeding time is a special treat for Monterey Bay Aquarium visitors as well as the otters.
- Splash Zone: Decorated in colors as bright as the coral reefs on display, this area includes a large kids' play area and is home to the penguins, who are fed twice daily. A renovation completed in 2008 expanded the size of Splash Zone and added new touch pools.
- Special Exhibits Every few years, the aquarium mounts a large special exhibit that runs for several years. Since April, 2009, more than 15 kinds of seahorses, sea dragons, pipehorses and pipefish set up housekeeping in must-see exhibit “The Secret Lives of Seahorses.”
Getting to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay AquariumThe Monterey Bay Aquarium is located at the west end of Cannery Row. To get there from California Highway 1, exit at Munras Avenue. Follow the brown signs toward Cannery Row and the aquarium. You will find a paid parking lot just uphill from the aquarium on David Avenue.
886 Cannery Row
(831) 648-4888 (information)
(831) 648-4800 (main number)
Monterey Bay Aquarium Website
During summer months and major holiday periods when the area is very busy, look for signs directing you to parking in downtown for the free WAVE visitor shuttle to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.