2017 General Info

Visitors watching a SCUBA diver in the Kelp Forest exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. © Monterey Bay Aquarium

Located at the ocean’s edge, the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium is a window to the magical marine world – home to sea otters, sharks, seahorses, tuna, penguins and thousands of other marine animals. In addition to changing special exhibitions, our acclaimed permanent exhibits include a towering three-story kelp forest; touch pools and other hands-on exhibits; the award-winning Splash Zone family galleries; and the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit

The 2017 General Press Kit contains:

  • Discover the Wonders of the Ocean at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Overview
  • Inspiring Ocean Conservation Fact Sheet
  • 2017 Calendar of Events
  • “¡Viva Baja!” Press Release
  • “Tentacles” Press Release
  • What they’re saying about the aquarium


Discover the Wonders of the Ocean at Monterey Bay Aquarium

On October 20, 1984, the fish came back to Monterey's historic Cannery Row.

They came back in style, too, as the stars of the world-acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Today, more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species fill 34 major galleries. With nearly 200 exhibits in all, the Aquarium is a showcase for the habitats and sea life of one of the world's richest marine regions.

The Open Sea: Out to sea and on the go - life's in constant motion in the open ocean. Welcome to the Aquarium's largest exhibit, a place where tuna and sharks speed past, sardines swim in huge, glittering schools, and sea turtles swim lazily across the 90-foot window. Nearby, colorful puffins await their next meal, and brilliant jellies pulse through the water.

Monterey Bay Habitats: Explore the waters of Monterey Bay, where sharks and sturgeon glide through the deep reef, 200-pound giant sea bass lumber among the reef pilings and flatfish nestle in the sandy seafloor. This hourglass-shaped exhibit is over 90 feet long, and highlights five different habitats beneath the bay and the amazing creatures that live there. Investigate the Sandy Shore and Aviary exhibits, where long-legged birds ply the sands and flounders lie flat to keep from being found.

Kelp Forest: Discover an underwater forest - at 28 feet, the Kelp Forest is one of the tallest Aquarium exhibits in the world. Get a divers-eye view of sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels and a host of other fishes as they weave through swaying fronds of kelp.

Sea Otters: Enjoy the antics of our playful southern sea otters as they romp, tumble and wrestle like they do in the wild. On the second floor of the exhibit you can watch them swim at the surface, while first-floor windows offer an underwater view of their lively acrobatics.

¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge (opens March 19): Visitors can explore an amazing array of tropical fishes and invertebrates and several iconic desert animals (a first for the Aquarium) that live in Baja's arid deserts, lush mangrove forests and vibrant coral reefs.

Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes (ongoing): Journey to a world of undersea magicians, masters of disguise and quick-change artists in this breakthrough special exhibition. Tentacles is the largest, most diverse living showcase for these amazing animals. You won't believe your eyes.

Splash Zone and Penguins: Discover a place where families can explore the ocean together. With over 45 interactive exhibits in English and Spanish, you can dive into a kelp forest, visit a coral reef kingdom or explore a rocky shore. Lionfish, giant clams, and penguins call these places home. Meet them in their magical worlds.


Additional Resources:

Overview: Facts and Figures
MISSION: To inspire conservation of the ocean.
GRAND OPENING: October 20, 1984
LOCATION: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California
HOURS: The aquarium is open daily, except Christmas Day. Hours of operation vary by
season. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org or call (831) 648-4800 for daily
ADMISSION RATES: $49.95 Adult (18 and over)
$39.95 Senior (65 and over)
$39.95 Student (13-17, or with college I.D.)
$29.95 Child (3-12)
$24.95 Disabled
Group rates available for 12 or more (by reservation; 1-866-963-9645)
INFORMATION: (831) 648-4800; www.montereybayaquarium.org
(866) 963-9645 (toll free) or online at www.montereybayaquarium.org
OPERATING BASIS: Private non-profit, self-supporting; no public funding; annual budget $84 million (on
the aquarium website)
CAPITAL COST: Ocean's Edge galleries: $55 million (opened October 1984)
Open Sea galleries: $57 million (opened March 1996)
New entry, ticket lobby and skywalk: $10 million (opened May 2004)
Ocean's Edge galleries (renovations): $11 million (opened May 2005)
Open Sea galleries (renovations): $19 million (opened July 2011)
CURRENT SPECIAL EXHIBITIONS: "Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes"
is the largest, most diverse living showcase ever created for these remarkable
animals. Ongoing.

"¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge" (opens March 19) features animals that live in Baja's
lush mangrove forests, colorful coral reefs and arid deserts - a first for the
Nearly 200 galleries and exhibits devoted to the diverse habitats of
Monterey Bay. The four largest exhibits are the Open Sea (1 million gallons); the
Kelp Forest (335,000 gallons); Monterey Bay Habitats (326,000 gallons); and Sea
Otters (55,000 gallons).
LIVE EXHIBITS: More than 35,000 animals and plants representing over 550 species of fishes,
invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, birds and plants found in Monterey Bay and other
marine habitats worldwide.
FEEDING SHOWS: Sea Otters at 10:30, 1:30 and 3:30 daily
African Penguins at 10:30 and 3:00 daily
Kelp Forest dive show at 11:30 and 4:00 daily
Open Sea at 11:00 daily
Laysan Albatross at 1:30 daily
Watch shows via live web cams
DIMENSIONS: Site: 3.3 acres
Exhibits and other public areas: 175,064 sq. ft. (excludes decks)
Ocean-view decks: 25,500 sq. ft.
Behind-the-scenes: 125,300 sq. ft.
Total aquarium square footage: 322,000 sq. ft.
ATTENDANCE: Grand opening year: 2.37 million
Open Sea grand opening year (1996): 2.41 million
Total in 2015: 2.1 million
Annual average: 1.8 million
Total through 2015: 58 million
STAFF AND ADMINISTRATION: Approximately 520 full and part-time staff; over 1,200 volunteers.
DISABLED ACCESS: All exhibits and aquarium facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. Most
exhibit videos are captioned; wheelchairs are available free for use during a visit.
Ask for details at the Information Desk.
VISITOR INFORMATION: Free visitor maps in several languages are available at the Information Desk.
ON THE WEB: Visit the aquarium website for more information about all exhibits, events and
promotions. Media are welcome to register for free access to our online Newsroom,
featuring the latest news releases, press kits, high-resolution photos, previews of
available HD b-roll footage, and other visual assets.
CONTACT US: General aquarium inquiries: equarist@mbayaq.org
Media inquiries: media@mbayaq.org
Inspiring Ocean Conservation Fact Sheet

Human survival depends on preserving the health of the ocean. Today, we’re working more effectively than ever on behalf of ocean health by integrating science-based conservation research with policy initiatives and partnerships that are making a difference.

Thriving Ocean Wildlife

Sea otters, sharks and bluefin tuna are among the most beloved and awe-inspiring species in our exhibits. They are also among the most vulnerable—and we're committed to help ensure their long-term survival. Our current focus is on the population biology and ecology of these species, whose health is vital to ocean ecosystems in the California Current and across the Pacific Ocean.

Southern Sea Otters

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program has been studying the threatened southern sea otter since 1984 to understand threats to the population and promote its recovery through policy action. Guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sea otter recovery plan, we also rescue, treat and release injured sea otters; raise and release stranded pups through our surrogate program; and find homes for sea otters that can't return to the wild.


Despite popular perceptions of sharks as invincible, shark populations around the world are declining because of overfishing, habitat destruction and other human activities. The Aquarium conducts innovative research, and promotes awareness and conservation of white sharks, and public understanding and protection of this ecologically important and threatened species. Learn more about our work tagging white sharks, and researching white shark genetics.


Since the 1960s, the abundance of tunas and other top ocean predators has decreased dramatically around the world. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and its Seafood Watch Program work with government agencies and fisheries management organizations worldwide in support of policies to safeguard ocean health. The Aquarium partners with Stanford University in the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) on a wide range of research initiatives to learn more about bluefin tuna and help inform conservation of this iconic species.


In addition to our studies of population biology and ecology, the Aquarium conducts research involving many of the species in our exhibits. Those diverse studies are aimed at understanding the basic biology and proper care of the animals in our living collection, as well to enhance their conservation in the wild. Learn more about recent husbandry research projects on our website.

Visit the Aquarium’s Conservation & Science webpage to learn more about our research efforts.


The Aquarium’s Ocean Conservation Policy Program aims to inspire and inform government decision makers to take science-based action on behalf of ocean health. We work at local, state, national and international levels to advance policies that protect key species like sea otters, sharks and tuna—and to address global threats to fisheries and human coastal communities, including overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change.

Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture

Since the establishment of our Seafood Watch program in 1999, the Aquarium has become one of the most respected sources of science-based information used by business and consumers to find and purchase seafood from ocean-friendly sources, both wild and farmed. In a global seafood market, our seafood program has expanded, using market-based incentives as well as advocacy for policy change to shift fisheries and aquaculture in more sustainable directions.

Learn more about the Aquarium’s initiatives to protect ocean health through policy and sustainable fisheries on our webpage.

2017 Calendar of Events

Día del Niño (April 30)

Live Latin performances, bilingual animal feeding shows, a craft room and more are part of our annual celebration of children and families. Join us! Children 12 and under will be admitted free all day.

Evenings by the Bay (Fridays in July & Saturdays from July 8 – September 2)

Spend your summer evenings by the sea and enjoy extended hours until 8 p.m. on select Fridays and Saturday nights. Our summer time festivities include sustainable food and wine tastings and special programs, all while listening to live music and hanging out with your favorite animals.

Fiesta del Mar (October 15)

Latin American traditions come alive during this celebration of ocean conservation! With live music, cultural dance, animal feedings presented bilingually and crafts for kids, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy. Children 12 and under will be admitted free all day.

Community Open House (December 2-10)

Free admission for residents of Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Visitors must present a photo ID and proof of residence at the main entrance. Current student identification from colleges and universities in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, and current utility bills showing residence are also valid proof of residence.


“¡Viva Baja!” Special Exhibition Press Release

From sun-soaked deserts to vibrant tropical reefs, Baja California is a unique and fragile place. Just across the U.S. border, it’s a place where life thrives on the edge of sand and sea on a wild coast whose future hangs in a delicate balance.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s next special exhibition, “¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge,” explores this beautiful and rugged region, and the diverse habitats and amazing animals that thrive where Baja’s coastal deserts meet sapphire seas. It opens March 19, 2016.

“Life in Baja California thrives on the edge,” says Senior Exhibit Developer Raúl Nava. “We’re excited to introduce visitors to the remarkable animals that live here, and highlight how people in Mexico and around the world are working to protect this extraordinary place.”


Additional Resources:

“Tentacles” Special Exhibition Press Release

Journey to a world of undersea magicians, masters of disguise and quick-change artists. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s special exhibition Tentacles is the largest most diverse living exhibit ever created to showcase these amazing animals that have gripped the human imagination for thousands of years.

Over the life of the exhibit, visitors might see any of the two dozen species that will rotate through a dozen living exhibits, from giant Pacific octopus to Hawaiian bobtail squid, the wunderpus and others – including one of the world’s smallest squid and one of the world’s largest cuttlefishes. From time to time there are never-before-exhibited deep sea squid and octopuses collected in collaboration with the Aquarium’s sister organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

“These are all short-lived animals. Many are species that have never been exhibited for very long by any of our colleagues, or raised through their entire lifecycle. This is definitely a first for any aquarium,” said Jennifer Dreyer, special exhibits coordinator for the animal care team.

Visit our Newsroom to download high resolution photos and view the full press release.

Honors and Awards

2017 The Daily Meal names Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard one of “America’s 50 Most Powerful People in  Food” for our Seafood Watch program
2016 American Institute of Architects honors Aquarium with Twenty-Five Year Award
2016 Smart Meetings honors Aquarium as a Platinum Choice Award Winner
2015 Travel Channel names Aquarium “Best in the West
2014 TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice™ awards names us “Best Aquarium in the World”
2014 Parenting places the Aquarium at No. 3 of the “20 Best Places to Take the Kids
2014 Noyce Foundation presents a Bright Lights Community Engagement Award to Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats program
2014 USA Today food columnist recommends Cindy’s Waterfront as a “must” for visitors to the Aquarium
2014 Lonely Planet includes the Aquarium as No. 4 of their “Top 10 must-visit destinations
2013 American Zoo and Aquarium Association awards its Significant Achievement Award to our Sea Otter
2013 American Zoo and Aquarium Association awards its Significant Achievement Award to Watsonville Area
Teens Conserving Habitats program
2012 Cooking Light awards its 25th Anniversary Food Heroes Award to Aquarium Executive Director Julie
Packard for leadership in the sustainable seafood movement through our Seafood Watch program

…and many more honors dating back to our grand opening in 1984.

What They’re Saying About the Aquarium

“Amazing exhibits, fish large and small, fantastic corals,
unbelievably beautiful jellyfish, sardines going around
overhead. A thrill.”
TripAdvisor™ Travelers’ Choice® awards

“One of the most enchanting aquariums in the world.”
Forbes Traveler

“Not only is it one of the premier organizations
fighting to save our oceans from overfishing and
pollution, it is also a haven for marine life lovers eager
to gaze at playful otters, undulating jellyfish, waddling
penguins, respect-inducing sharks—and faithful
re-creations of local underwater habitats.”
Los Angeles Times

“For my money, the best aquarium in America.”
—Keith Bellows, editor, National Geographic Traveler

“…arguably the greatest aquarium in the world.”
The Guardian

“Monterey Bay Aquarium is the most technically
sophisticated—and perhaps the most esthetically
successful—public aquarium yet built.”

“…set a new bar in the art of showing off sea creatures
to the public.”
USA Today

“Coolest aquarium in the world.”
—Bill Nye,“The Science Guy”

“As soon as you enter the aquarium, the cathedral aura
of the Kelp Forest, with sunlight streaming down from
above, turns your head and pulls you over, bidding you
to slow down andmeditate on the majesty that lies hidden just offshore.”
National Geographic

“Stunning seems too meager an adjective...”
Dallas Morning News

“…knock-your-socks-off marine exhibits.”
Boston Globe

“A superstar…a perfect balance between education
and entertainment.”
—Copley News Service

“This aquarium routinely makes history.”
National Geographic Traveler

“One of the world’s most impressive aquariums”
Financial Times of London

“Making the ordinary extraordinary is business as usual
at the (Monterey Bay) aquarium.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Remarkable…As I watched the schools of fish slowly
circling…I began to slip into the rhythm, the silence, of
life under the surface of Monterey Bay, a deep and
boundless home.”
New York Times

“It won’t get you wet, but it will make your head swim.”
Sacramento Bee

“Standing before the showpiece of the Outer Baywing—
the world’s largest window, opening onto a seemingly
infinite water world swirling with tuna, barracuda,
bonitos and sharks—I realize I’m confronting the
newest Wonder of theWorld.”
— American Airlines’ American Way

“We dare you not to bemesmerized and enriched by
this eco-conscious aquarium.”

“As a habitual aquarium-goer, I’ve seen my share of
these institutions...The Monterey Bay Aquarium is, for
me, the clear winner...Like all great aquariums [it] offers
not just an assemblage of fish but a passionate argu-
ment that the ocean is far more intricate and alive than
you ever imagined it to be.”