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Monterey Bay Aquarium – Permanent Exhibits

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Monterey CA Attractions

The aquarium's three story Kelp Forest is the centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge galleries.

© Monterey Bay Aquarium

In addition to its changing special exhibitions, the aquarium’s permanent exhibits include a towering three-story kelp forest; touch pools and other hands-on exhibits; the Splash Zone  family galleries; and the million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, home to sandbar and hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, ocean sunfish and on occasion, a Great White Shark.

The million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, featuring many visitor favorites.

© Monterey Bay Aquarium

Guests can get a deeper aquarium experience by booking behind-the-scenes tours and other Aquarium Adventures programs, including sleepovers, kids’ SCUBA experiences, and special Romance Tours – perfect for marriage proposals, anniversaries and other moments to share with a special someone.

Students touching animals at the Kelp Zone Touch Pool, as part of the Education Program’s self-guided programs.

© Monterey Bay Aquarium

Culinary fans mark their calendars for the aquarium’s annual Cooking for Solutions celebration, three days of sustainable and organic gourmet fare featuring celebrated chefs like Alton Brown, Carla Hall, Richard Blais and MasterChef Junior winner Alexander Weiss. This year’s events take place on May 16-18, including ticketed events and other programs open to all aquarium visitors.

Great food and drink is available all year long at the aquarium’s culinary gem, Cindy’s Waterfront Restaurant and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Cafe.  The restaurant and cafe feature a fantastic menu from the aquarium’s James Beard Award-winning culinary partner, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn – the creator of Mustards Grill in Napa Valley and many other celebrated restaurants – and from resident Executive Chef Jeff Rogers.

Special exhibitions and all exhibits and programs except Aquarium Adventures are included with aquarium admission. Rates and hours vary by season. The aquarium is located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except December 25. Visit for more information on exhibits and daily programs, and to purchase tickets online. Advance tickets can also be purchased toll-free by phone from the aquarium at (866) 963-9645. The website also hosts streaming live web cams. The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.