If you have a fascination for marine creatures and don’t think it quite possible to go scuba diving or get into a submarine to see the wonders the sea for yourself, Monterey Bay Aquarium is a place you should visit.
From sardines to leopard sharks, from Sea Otters to Penguins and from Crabs to Octopuses, this place has it all. Standing tall beside California's Monterey Bay, this aquarium pledges to conserve aquatic life along with facilitating people to have a close look at the marvels of the sea world.
We began our exploration of this commendable man-made wonder at the Kelp Forest that is home to algae, Kelp Bass, eels and several shark varieties. This three-storey exhibit with sea weeds, the artificial sea bed, and of course the water with these fishes frolicking about; separated by just some tall glasses did succeed in giving us the vicarious experience of being in the deep waters of the sea.
This place exhibits not just underwater beings, but also winged creatures that live in the vicinity of the sea. The coastal birds they have here at the Monterey Bay Aquarium include Red-necked Phalarope, Common Murre and Snowy Plovers among others.
The sea Otters that live in this huge aquarium can be watched from two levels: below water and above it, where they surface every now and then. These aquatic mammals are such a joy to watch. Despite the fact that they do not have scales or a slimy skin, they still manage to do mischief in the waters, catching prey and swiftly swimming to the top. And when their heads are out in the open air they quickly chew up and gobble down their food. I must say our camera was no match for the otter's speed and maneuverability.
The penguins too were interesting to watch. When they move about in water, you almost take them for one of those otters. It’s only when they are out of water and climbing on to the sandy or rocky shores that you see how much of a bird they are. Here at the Monterey Bay Aquarium you can also watch the penguins being fed provided you are there at half past ten, when the routine takes place.
There are other feeding shows too for visitors to enjoy: feeding of the otters, the fishes of the Kelp Forest and creatures of the Outer bay too. Some of these shows happen several times a day, so chances are that you will get to watch some residents of the aquarium enjoy their food, whatever time of the day you are there.
Monterey Bay is a welcome place for tiny tots too. The touch pools make sea weeds, sea urchins and a few other living beings of the sea more tangible to them. It is such an amazing sight to watch these little ones interact with the staff and volunteers there, who are more than happy to unravel many a mystery to these inquisitive young visitors. The fun does not end there; there are other attractive as well as educational play areas for these little ones.
Quaint and bustling with activity, this road at the end of which Monterey Bay aquarium is situated, is an attraction too. This sea-front street was once a hub for the sardine canning business.
Today, however, Cannery Row has `tourist attraction’ writ large on it. Lined with shops selling curios, clothes and chocolates, its bistros and inns, this place with its age-old charm is a must look around.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is situated in Monterey in California, USA. It is around 50 miles south of San Jose.