The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the top aquariums in the world, and it's only an hour and a half drive south of San Francisco!
It sits on the northern end of the historic Cannery Row district in the cute seaside town of Monterey, CA.
During your visit, you will get the chance to see and learn about dozens of animals from penguins to stingrays. They also have several hands-on exhibits, including touch pools, as well as the largest indoor kelp aquarium in the world.
Here are a few more details on each of the top exhibits currently on display.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium can get very crowded. The high season is during the summer months, especially on the weekends. However, I find that even when it's busy, I can still make my way in to see the displays--with some patience and a little more time to get through the crowds.
The best time to visit is during the off-season. This is during the fall and winter months (minus any holidays).
If you are visiting during high season, you can plan ahead to avoid peak times and days. Most visitors make their way over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium during the morning hours, so you will find fewer people between 2pm and 6pm. You will also find fewer visitors on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
These are the admission costs per person:
The Monterey Bay Aquarium CA is at 886 Cannery Row. They are open every day except December 25. Here are their hours:
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The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit organization. All the proceeds from admissions go to support research, development, and day-to-day maintenance. This means that they rarely offer discounts or coupons for admissions.
Here are just a few exceptions to that rule:
In the past, many local hotels offered a two-day pass to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the price of one day's admission. As this attraction continues to gain popularity, fewer hotels offer this option.
However, make sure you inquire at your hotel to see if they sell these passes. If so, it gives you the opportunity to visit the aquarium over the course of two days.
If you don't quality for or aren't able to take advantage of these other Monterey Bay Aquarium discount tickets, then you will want to buy your ticket in advance. This allows you to skip the ticket line and head to the admissions door right away.
This option saves you time as the ticket line will sometimes take up to an hour.
This centrally located attraction has several hotels within just a few blocks of its entrance. Here are just a few of my favorites.
Spindrift Inn: 652 Cannery Row, 3.5 Stars
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa: 400 Cannery Row, 4 Stars
InterContinental The Clement Monterey: 750 Cannery Row, 4 Stars
Monterey Bay Inn: 242 Cannery Row, 3.5 Stars
Best Western Plus Victorian Inn: 487 Foam Street, 3 Stars
Holiday Inn Express Monterey-Cannery Row: