Monterey Bay Aquarium
No California itinerary is complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Considered one of the world’s greatest aquariums and a global leader in ocean research and conservation, this is the place that inspired the setting for Pixar’s Finding Dory and the BBC’s Big Blue Live – and was featured in HBO’s Big Little Lies. Located in historic Monterey County, this jewel of California's scenic central coast was built inside a defunct cannery from the industrial heyday of the sardine packing era, immortalized by author John Steinbeck. General admission grants visitors access to the Aquarium’s acclaimed marine exhibits such as the first-of-its-kind living Kelp Forest, the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, and a two-story home for its cutest inhabitants, charismatic sea otters. Enjoy mesmerizing jellyfish, touch a bat ray, and watch playful penguins. Daily live feeding shows and auditorium programs grant visitors a closer look at the incredible underwater world humans often only see from the surface. The Aquarium's dramatic ocean-front decks offer views of passing whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters in Monterey Bay. The Aquarium also offers ocean-view dining in a casual cafe and a full-service restaurant. Both emphasize regional and sustainable cuisine that showcase a commitment to Seafood Watch standards for ocean-friendly seafood selections. Stop by the Aquarium's many gift shops for unique gifts and books. Admission supports the Aquarium’s mission as a nonprofit organization to inspire conservation of the ocean. Discover the wonders of Monterey Bay and how protecting our living ocean benefits us all. Monterey Bay Aquarium is open daily, except for Christmas Day. Please visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/visit for daily operating hours and daily programs.