Monday, September 7th, 2015
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Rather shamefully up until two weeks ago I’d associated Monterey Aquarium with Pinkberry. Two years ago when we pulled up in Monterey we were at the tail end of our Californian road trip. I remember baulking $40 per ticket then deciding I wanted to try a Pinkberry instead. Fast forward to August this year with a bit more planning we paid the $80 and visited the aquarium for the first time. I still think that the ticket prices are very high, especially if you have a big family but the exhibitions in Monterey blow all other aquarium exhibitions out of the water. Firstly the jellies, sadly this is only a temporary exhibition but was so popular it might just have a home in Monterey in the future. The exhibit included the jellyfish I’ve seen on the tv before but also new species, in fact they are so new they haven’t even got an official name yet. The second exhibit I loved was the Kelp Forest, at 28 ft deep this exhibit allows you to see all the layers in the sea, what fish lurk in the darkness and what species like to prowl throughout the kelp always on the look out for food. It was feeding time when we visited and a diver was suspended in the water giving a step by step guide to the different fish. I’ve never been tempted by scuba diving before but seeing this beautiful underwater forest I’m keen to give it a go.Last but certainly not least the Open Sea show, this 90ft exhibit is one of the largest in the world and it really does take your breath away. What an honour it is to see such magnificent creatures up close but also have the space and freedom to swim around. I sometimes feel a bit uneasy about creatures in captivity but Monterey shows utmost respect to these mammals. Blue fin tuna and hammerhead sharks prowl the pool whilst schools of sardines shimmer as they swim past. My favourite part ( which I sadly didn’t manage to get a good photo of ) was the green sea turtle lolling around. We ended up on the terrace which looks out to the open sea, it was a gorgeous sunny day when we visited and I borrowed some binoculars to spy on two sea otters resting on the kelp. On the way out as I dodged past the children carrying stuffed penguins and dolphins they’d bought in the aquarium shop I smiled to myself, I’d enjoyed this aquarium so much as an adult I can’t even imagine how mind-blowing the experience would be for a child. If you’re planning a trip to California I really recommend saving up for the aquarium, then perhaps saving money by just getting a Pinkberry for dinner!