Monterey, CA

The Best Aquarium in the Country is in Monterey, California

DarrylBrooks

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I have been in about a dozen aquariums around the country, including Orlando and the one back home in Atlanta, but the best one in the country is in Monterey, California.

This sometimes presents a problem for me because the small city on the southern edge of Monterey Bay is packed with things to do, so carving out a half-day to tour the aquarium is difficult. But it is well worth the time as the exhibits, wildlife and even the layout of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a true pleasure.

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We first toured the aquarium in 2006 while on an excursion from a cruise ship. By that time, I had seen half a dozen aquariums and wasn't very excited at spending the time or money to see more fish. That would have been a mistake. We have been back half a dozen times, and we always stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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The first thing I saw once inside was the fantastic array of jellyfish. I've only seen a few in other aquariums, but Monterey, California aquarium had several huge tanks with hundreds of the captivating creatures. The glowing orange Pacific sea nettle against the soft blue background made for some great photographs.

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium had many standard tanks full of various fish, anemone, and sea urchins. Still, one, in particular, got my attention for a long time when I spotted Nemo trying to cope among the colorful angelfish and urchins.

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Almost every aquarium has a shark exhibit, but the one in Monterey, California, has more variety in a larger tank, which can be observed from the bottom inside the aquarium or the outside where you can look down into the shark-infested waters. Both locations have guides and shows to tell you about these deadly creatures.

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While up top, make sure you go by the African penguin exhibit. But, in my opinion, the must-see display at the top of the aquarium, especially for kids, is the playful sea otters. These little guys are a blast to watch as they swim, dive and play.

You can't miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's right there at the northern end of Cannery Row. If you come from Fisherman's Wharf or a cruise ship, it's a little over a mile and almost flat. I would suggest wandering through Cannery Row and hitting all the shops, then have lunch. After lunch, the dark and cool interior of the aquarium is a welcome respite.

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For the more adventurous, take an Uber down to the Point Pinos Lighthouse and walk back along one of the most scenic coasts I have ever seen.

If you find yourself in Monterey, California, take some time to enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is well worth the time and the $49.95 admission ($39.95 for kids). I promise you won't regret it.

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I am a writer with over 16 years of experience and hundreds of articles. I write about photography, productivity, life skills, money management and much more.

Alpharetta, GA
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