|Phase 2 of 3 of the NorCal Trip: Monterey: the Monterey Bay Aquarium picspam special
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
I’ve wanted to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Northern California since emelbe first introduced me to photos of it, which was at least 10 years ago. Knowing the aquarium was there heavily influenced our decision to stay in Pacific Grove once the Santa Cruz portion of our trip was done. We ended up going to the aquarium twice and spending most of the day there both times. It’s huge and beautifully set up and there are so many interactive things for the children. Nearly all of the second floor is splash pools and mazes and tanks on their level (e.g. the floor) and activities.
It was also a rather good Pokéspot because free wi-fi + 5 Pokéstops with lures going almost constantly + gym + historical spot next to the ocean == many, varied and frequent Pokémon appearances.
All of these images were taken with my phone. I brought my dSLR and nice telephoto lens, but they proved too much of a faff to deal with when chasing around two active children. I’m a bit sad I didn’t manage to get a good shot of an otter or from the shore bird enclosure (they come to within inches of the humans and there are no barriers) or of the Great Wave exhibit where you stand under a glass ceiling and the water crashes over you. I guess we’ll just have to return again, though my advice to anyone else contemplating a visit would be to avoid Labor Day weekend. Our first visit was on the Saturday and it was heaving. The Tuesday visit (with my aunt + cousin) was much calmer.
An aquarium specialty is truly enormous tanks. Below is a portion of a floor-to-ceiling one that, when walked through, gives the impression that the fish are circling around you.
Here I was trying to take a photo of a jellyfish, but it was both out of focus and overexposed. I really like the result.
Tufted penguin having a good squiz at Keiki and me.
In one area there were a number of fantastically lit steampunk tanks containing metal sea animals. I believe they were intended to illustrate the effects of human intervention (such as giant oil rigs) on ocean life. I must admit I got distracted from the message by their prettiness.
Steampunk giant octopus.
Actual giant octopus, folded into a corner of its tank, with anemone.
Closeups of steampunk nautiluses.
Sand eels. I love these. “Stick butt in sand! Wave head around munching food! Disappear when fish come by! Yes yes, we know the anemones did it first, but we did it...sillier.”
One of the almost-spherical fish tanks. These are wonderful, because you can walk completely around them while the fish school in gentle circles. I probably watched this tank with Keiki for a full five minutes. It was so soothing.
Orange and black clownfish with anemone. This tank was on the floor in the children’s area, so even the very little ones could put their noses up against the glass and goggle at them. There were a lot of cries of “Nemo”!
Keiki and a new friend splashing in the babies’ play area.
Keiki and me pulling faces at our lunch break in the middle of the first aquarium visit.
Keiki communing with a penguin.
Humuhumu and me enjoying a banana outside the aquarium.
The bloke, my aunt, Keiki and my cousin (big Keiki), enjoying the view into Monterey bay from the aquarium.
Big bench, small girl.
Keiki watching fish.
Keiki, Humuhumu and the bloke watching the kelp forest floor being cleaned by divers.
Sand dollars in a hemispherical tank.
Anemones in a spherical tank.
Keiki with the penguins, again. We visited the penguin enclosure several times. We even saw the lucky fellow who gets to hose the penguin poop off the rocks.
Humuhumu inside a giant clam.
Humuhumu inside a tunnel (with built-in fish tanks!) in the children’s play area.
Finally, Humuhumu and the bloke discovered an interactive in the ¡Viva Baja! exhibit where you could colour in your own fish, e-mail it to yourself and then view a 3D version of your fish design swimming in the ocean. Here is Humuhumu’s vibrant fish.
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