Monterey Bay Aquarium
- At 28 feet high, the Kelp Forest is one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. Our living kelp forest, an aquarium centerpiece, looks so natural you may think you're looking through a window to the bay. Sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels and a host of other fishes weave among the fronds of kelp, just as they do in the wild. The exhibit opens to the sky and the light streaming through the amber fronds helps the kelp grow more than 4 inches a day. In this forest, kelp is king!
- Enjoy the action and antics of these playful animals. Our lively sea otters came to us as rescued animals and are no longer able to survive in the wild. They seem quite at home in their exhibit, where they romp, tumble, wrestle and interact like otters in the wild. Don't miss our daily sea otter program where you can watch aquarists feed and train our sea otters, and learn how they help us understand otters in the wild. Daily, 10:30, 1:30, 3:30; Preview the show Meet Our Otters Which otter was named after a truck-stop waitress? Who has white speckles on her face? Visit "Meet Our Otters" to find out.
- Quick and keen, these active hunters live lives of magic. Our giant octopuses are masters of disguise, changing skin texture and color to blend in with their surroundings. This is the largest species of octopus in the world can grow to nearly 30 feet long and weigh nearly 100 pounds.
These amazing animals have survived hundreds of millions of years in the sea by using their awesome array of abilities. An octopus's eight tentacles are lined with suckers that can "taste" sweet, sour or bitter, or feel if something is rough or smooth. It can squeeze through spaces as small as its hard, parrotlike beak.
- Travel from mudflats to marshes, over sandy beaches to wave-swept shores. Our Coastal Wetland to Sandy Shore galleries celebrate life in Elkhorn Slough (pronounced "slew"), one of the largest coastal wetlands in the state, located in the heart of Monterey Bay's coast.You'll find many kinds of birds including foraging sandpipers, long-billed curlews and black-necked stilts. Other exhibits let you explore and discover the wetland's hidden nature—buried clams with siphons like snorkels and ghost shrimp that dine on the mud it digs. Take an underwater look at bat rays through periscopes or gently touch them as they swim by.
- Where land meets the sea, there's so much to see. From the high and dry rocks—wetted only by sea spray and occasional waves—to lush rocks exposed by only the lowest tides, each part of the rocky shore has its own cast of characters. A shy monkeyface-eel stares back from among the rocks while barnacles stand on their heads and wave their feathery legs in the currents. Watch a Living Tide Pool Get a close-up view of tide pool creatures on our tide pool video. Look for colorful sea slugs, camouflaged fishes, clinging anemones, scurrying crabs and more.
- A window into the endless, mysterious world of open waters. The stunning one-million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit is home to the largest community of open-ocean animals to be found in any aquarium. Giant bluefin tuna power their way through the water. Hammerhead sharks circle inches away. Sea turtles cruise lazily by. The Outer Bay also features the largest permanent collection of jellyfish species in the United States. Egg-yolk jellies and sea nettles drift gently in ten-foot-long exhibits beautifully lit to accentuate the jellies' delicate beauty. Comb jellies pulse with rainbow bands of light as they swim.
- Monterey Bay ranks as one of the most diverse and spectacular marine regions. Other than our sea otters, no marine mammals live in the aquarium. But you can see them here in abundance every day. More than 30 species of marine mammals live in or pass through Monterey Bay-ranging in size from the five-foot-long sea otter to the hundred-foot-long blue whale. To learn their stories, look to the aquarium. In our Marine Mammal gallery you'll find videos and graphics that tell their tales and reveal why the bay is a haven for so many species
- Their bodies don't look like other fishes, but they're fishes just the same With horselike heads and kangaroolike pouches, seahorses don't look much like fish. But look again—they breathe through gills and have tiny fins for swimming. And underneath their tough skin lies a bony skeleton, complete with a backbone. Do seahorse dads really get pregnant? How tiny is the smallest seahorse? How long do they live? Can they change their colors? Seahorses form faithful pairs—and seahorse dads get pregnant Seahorses form long-term faithful pair bonds. Though they spend time apart, each day at dawn they join in a graceful dance of greeting. When they mate, it's the male who gets pregnant. He carries the young in a pouch until they're born, up to six weeks later. They're big and small, active hunters and colorful characters, too There are 32 species of seahorses, ranging in size from dwarf seahorses an inch or less in length to potbelly seahorses more than a foot long. Long narrow snouts let them suck up the tiny animals like brine shrimp that they eat. Some, like cape seahorses, are beige colored; others can be bright orange or purple. Back to top Male potbelly seahorses can inflate their brood pouches. Their lives are short, and they have few offspring Seahorses live relatively brief lives, from a single year to perhaps four years or more. And they don't produce many young at a time. Longsnout seahorses, like other species, lay perhaps 1,000 eggs; other fishes produce hundreds of thousands each time they spawn. Many fishes eat young seahorses; adults have few predators. Back to top Seahorses come in many colors, from beige to bright purple. Camouflage helps keep seahorses safe from harm Seahorses can match their color to the places where they live. That makes it hard for potential predators to see them. They're also able to grow long skin filaments that help them blend into the background. Seahorses make their homes in waters around the world Seahorses, including tiger tails, are most common in tropical seas, but they're found in all but the coldest ocean waters. Creatures of the coastlines, they usually live in water no more than 50 feet deep. They're most often found in the IndoPacific and West Atlantic regions.
- Around the world and throughout history, sharks have inspired stories, art, traditions and rituals. In this award-winning exhibit, visitors took a "world tour"—from Africa to the Amazon—seeing more than two dozen sharks and rays with their own eyes—and also through the eyes of the many different cultures that have been shaped by them.