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How to Tour the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a Hurry

Tour the Aquarium in An Hour or Less


The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a lot to see and the average visitor is there for at least three hours. If you want to see it all, watch the animal feedings and see a film in the auditorium, it could easily take all day.

You must be short on time. or you wouldn't be reading this. If you don't want to miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium but are in a hurry, follow these tips:

  • Order Monterey Bay Aquarium tickets online ahead of time so won't have to stand in line at the ticket office.

  • Avoid exhibits during feeding time. They're crowded, it's hard to see and take too long for someone in a hurry. Try to get to the otters, kelp forest and outer bay at least half an hour before feeding time.

Highlights of the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Start from the aquarium's main entrance. Focus on these highlights in the order listed (unless you need to skip one because of feeding time):

  • Giant Pacific Octopus: It's a one-animal exhibit, but it's one fascinating creature and well worth a few minutes' stop.

  • Kelp Forest: A microcosm of the Monterey Bay, filled with local fishes and swaying kelp.

  • Touch Pools: At the Touch Pools near Sandy Shore, you'll get a chance to pet a bat ray, touch a starfish and find out how prickly a sea urchin can be.

  • Sea Otters: You might call them the aquarium's poster child, and they're just as cute as you imagined. View them swimming underwater or go upstairs to see them on land.

  • Jellies Experience: Go upstairs toward Ocean's Edge and walk under the tank of circling anchovies. In the exhibits beyond it, you'll see a fascinating bunch of jellyfish and other drifting sea creatures.

  • Open Sea: Get a look at the million-gallon tank full of mid-ocean fish, sharks and other creatures.

  • Special Exhibit: Downstairs below the Ocean's Edge, the exhibit changes every few years.

  • Exit through the back door for a quick look at the bay. If you still have time to spare, go upstairs and across the sky bridge to Splash Zone's kids' play area and to see the penguins.

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