Family Vacations in California

Family Vacations in California: Monterey Bay Aquarium

The exhibits in the Monterey Bay Aquarium showcase the marine life of the Pacific Ocean.

Just off the coast of Monterey, in the deepwater canyons of the Pacific, among gigantic kelp forests, lies a world of mysterious marine life. Monterey Bay Aquarium brings this world into view for its visitors with extraordinary exhibits that are sure to captivate your family.

Hands-on experiences are its hallmark, from touch pools to steerable underwater cameras. Divers communicate with visitors from huge tanks where fish reside among three-story stalks of kelp, and staff members who feed the mischievous sea otters tell tales about their adorable charges. A special petting pool lets children touch rubbery bat rays and nubby sea stars.

The aquarium's Splash Zone is a special exhibit and play area where children can crawl through, climb on, and pop up in displays as they visit nearly 60 different sea creatures in their coral reef and rocky shore homes. Just about everyone's favorite are the comical black-footed penguins. Their antics are great fun to watch, especially at mealtime.

Other not-to-miss aquarium exhibits include Sharks: Myth and Mystery, featuring nearly two dozen species of beautiful sharks and rays from around the world, and Outer Bay, full of yellowfin tuna, green sea turtles, barracuda, and other creatures that inhabit the open ocean.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Information

Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA

Telephone: 831/648-4888

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily

Admission: $24.95 adults; $15.95 kids

No trip to Southern California is complete without a visit with Shamu. On the next page, learn all about visiting SeaWorld.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Los Angeles City Guide: Explore the City of Angels -- Los Angeles is brimming with restaurants, shops, attractions, and the occasional celebrity hotspot.
  • California State Guide: From north to south, California encompasses mountains, deserts, beaches, and vineyards. Learn about it all in our guide to California.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.