Facts & Figures

Opening Date

  • October 20, 1984                             

Operating Basis

  • 501(c)(3) California not-for-profit corporation founded in 1978

Attendance

  • Grand opening year (1984): 2.37 million
  • 2017 total: 1.9 million
  • Annual average: 1.8 million
  • Through 2017: Nearly 62 million

Staff & Volunteers

  • Approximately 550 full and part-time staff
  • More than 1,400 volunteers, who have collectively contributed more than 4 million hours since 1984

Exhibit, Number & Sizes

  • Nearly 200 galleries and exhibits devoted to the diverse habitats of Monterey Bay. Four largest exhibits:
  • Open Sea: 1.2 million gallons; 90-feet across, 52-feet front to back, 35-feet tall
  • Kelp Forest: 335,000 gallons; 28-feet tall
  • Monterey Bay Habitats:  326,000 gallons; more than 90-feet long
  • Sea Otters: 55,000 gallons; 15-feet tall

Exhibit Cost

  • Ocean’s Edge galleries: $55 million when opened in October 1984; $11 million renovations opened in May 2005
  • Open Sea galleries: $57 million when opened in March 1996; $19 million renovations opened July 2011

Site Dimensions

  • Total site: 3.3 acres and 320,000 sq. ft.
  • Exhibits and other public areas: 175,000 sq. ft. (excludes decks)
  • Ocean-view decks: 25,000 sq. ft.
  • Behind the scenes: 120,000 sq. ft.

Animals & Plants

  • More than 35,000 animals and plants representing more than 550 species of fishes, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, birds and plants found in Monterey Bay and other marine habitats worldwide.
  • ‚ÄčThis changes constantly as new species arrive through an open seawater system.

Water Source

  • 1,800 gallons of water per minute (24 hours a day) pumped into the Aquarium.
  • Nearly one billion gallons of seawater annually flows from the bay through the Aquarium and back into the ocean.
  • Incoming water goes directly to the Kelp Forest exhibit first and then splits into pipes that feed other exhibits.

First & Only in World

  • To successfully exhibit and release great white sharks
  • To reintroduce rescued sea otter pups to the wild using a surrogacy program
  • To build a living kelp forest exhibit
  • To exhibit deep-sea cephalopods (vampire squid, flapjack octopus, strawberry squid)
  • To discover the lifecycle of several jellyfish species (purple striped, flower hat jellies)
  • To consistently propagate comb jellies (sea gooseberries and others)

Only U.S. Aquarium

  • To exhibit bluefin and yellowfin tuna
  • To care for a Laysan albatross (in human care due to wing injury)
  • To exhibit ocean sunfish and pyjama squid

TV & Film Highlights

  • 2016: Big Little Lies (HBO)
  • 2016: Finding Dory
  • 2015: Big Blue Live (BBC/PBS)
  • 2013: Saving Otter 501
  • 2011: Oceans in Glass
  • 2008: Seven Pounds
  • 1988: Sphere
  • 1986: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Location & Schedule 

  • 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California
  • Open daily, except Christmas Day

Contacts