Located at the end of Cannery Row in an old sardine factory, this attraction is a must-see for travelers with children in tow. In fact, I would suggest it to any marine life lover as one of the nicest aquariums I have ever visited, well worth the price of entry.
Whales hang from the ceiling, and the visitor must choose which direction to go: to visit the kelp forest through which sharks quietly glide amidst hundreds of other species of fish, to see the otters playing in their tanks, or to the largest jelly fish exhibit in the world.
All of these places mesmerized me.
I found myself nose to nose (Does an octopus have a nose?) with a giant octopus, his tentacles curled around his bulbous head, eyes closed, wrinkled skin making him look every bit like an old man sleeping away the afternoon. I walked out onto an observation deck and stood gazing across Monterey Bay, home to the nation’s largest marine life sanctuary. I walked through the Splash Zone wishing my son had made this visit with me.
Children laughed as they garbed outfits hanging from pegs to costume themselves like the animals of the sea. Others waited patiently in line to touch a starfish. I moved away from them and watched a shark embryo push and move in a struggle to live and grow inside the sac his mother had laid for him as a staff employee explained the shark gestation period to me.
Sardines shimmered and glimmered in moving schools of silver in another section of the aquarium. Jelly fish with foot long tendrils billowed like the parachutes we used to play with when I was a child in PE. Up the white cloth would go, catch wind and float down, down, down like these magical creatures of the ocean…. Only jelly fish seem to float up!
Allow at least half a day for this attraction. Crowds were thin the weekday I visited in the hours right before closing. Look in the gift shops. There are some great books, videos and jewelry. There are also several educational games available for purchase for children.
For more information, you may call the info line at 831-648-4888.