The jewel in the Central Coast of California is our Monterey Bay Aquarium. Located in historic Cannery Row, this beautiful building entices you to just come on in. The first time we visited the aquarium was when Cam was 4 years old. Easter Seals had recommended we take him on a two week coastal tour to see if the visual stimulation would help bring him out of his autistic silence.
We were willing to try ANYTHING at that point, so we loaded up our car and started our journey. When we arrived in Monterey, we immediately walked over to the aquarium and went on in. This is truly a magic place. There are so many exhibits and interactive areas throughout the site. We took Cam to the rock pools and helped him feel the sea urchins and starfish. Though the pools were crowded, everyone was thoughtful and considerate, letting us bring him right up front.
We then began taking the full tour of the aquarium which is huge! Each individual tank held the most fascinating fish and sea life. We saw the sea horses quietly floating in the water and learned they were on the endangered species list. We had no idea there that many varieties of this strange little creature:)
The Octopi tank showed us these intelligent, curious and exotic looking creatures. Cam really reacted to them and kept trying to reach them through the glass. The giant octopus would change colours as his tank mates approached, which was really awesome to see. Since our last trip, they've opened a much bigger exhibit for these interesting marine creatures.
There are kelp forests, jellyfish tanks, shark tanks and an interactive otter pool. They are sooo cute playing in their pools:)
They offer behind the scenes tours and boat trips out on the Bay for an extra charge. In addition a yearly family membership entitles your family to attend overnight camps and very special private visits. This aquarium is both wheelchair and stroller accessible, so that all ages and disabilities can be accomodated. There is a small cafe offering sandwiches and other light fare at reasonable prices. The Aquarium shop is a good place to pick up a tee shirt, a book or other items relating to the aquarium. Their stuffed animals are so cute!
The fees are:
$24.95 for adults
$13.95 for children ages 3-12
free for children 0-3 years old
$22.95 Senior citizens and students 13-17
You can often get a package deal when you book with Embassy Suites Hotels or other inns in the area, which include passes to the aquarium.
If you love helping your child learn about their world and its oceans, don't miss this aquarium.