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A visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium


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As I am visiting home for the first time in almost 3 years (thanks COVID! 🙄), I had the chance to go back to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Other than the prices there now being on par with a Disney visit (I'll take the aquarium any day over the mouse-trap though!), the aquarium is just as amazing as ever!  I thought I would share a few photos here.

Gotta start with the classics, and the jellies are as impressive as ever:



Currently, the rotating exhibit space is home to a deep water exhibit.  It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend it!  Photos were hard to take because the lights were so low, but here we go anyhow...  The deep water crabs were amazing



I was also excited to see live hagfish!  If you aren't familiar, I recommend a quick YouTube search of videos.


There were a bunch of comb jellies that I couldn't get good shots of.  But the highlight of the deep water exhibit was probably the giant, deep-water isopods, which they let you touch!


I had to include the behind the scenes shot for those of you who want a tank so big you can dive with your fish.


Looks like way, way too much work to me.

The sandy bottom exhibit had a few things I thought were interesting.  First off, who know while alive sand dollars sit on their sides?!


Also, though the anemone here looks concerningly like aptasia, this was a cool little tank.


I always love the sardine school on the circular tank above everyone's head.  It's just mesmerizing.


I got to see the sardine school being fed in the million gallon tank too.  That was like watching something out of a nature documentary, but in real life!  No photos, though.  I was too awestruck to remember to tank any pictures.

I always like moray eels.  They just look so cool!


I took a photo of the seagrass tank because I know @eatyourpeas and I had discussed cultivation of seagrasses in the dark and distant past.


And for @Zenzo , I took a shot of these leaping blennies, which reminded of en even more acrobatic version of his mudskippers.  Not the best shot, and I totally failed at all attempts at actions shots of them.  Sorry.


Perhaps the only thing I would critique was the coral reef exhibit.  Their tanks were stuffed with fish in what I call the "living screesaver display".  For me, I like the hobbyist tanks with more live corals and fewer, more appropriate levels of fish.  But there were clearly loved by many!



Lastly, i will leave you with the California State Fish - the garibaldi.  A golden fish for the Golden State.  It's good to be home!


Edited by OnlyGenusCaps
forgot a couple photos
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On 9/19/2022 at 9:22 PM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

First off, who know while alive sand dollars sit on their sides?!

That is an awesome setup!  For whatever reason I remember my grandma telling me this!  It totally could just be me miss-remembering but my grandma is literally one of the most influential people in my life and I miss her so much!

MBA is a ridiculously cool place.  I am not a fan of aquariums in general (not the ones in my room, but the big ones) because they can take species that really don't belong there "for science".  Something like Monteray Bay and their work on sharks for instance is something where I just don't know how to feel.

As a thing, a place to go to, it's one of the better ones and one that I can find a lot of appreciation for. It's a beautiful setup and something where I hope to see it in person one day.

Totally jealous and excited you finally got to go see it again!

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On 9/20/2022 at 11:59 AM, Biotope Biologist said:

I wish the Seattle aquarium was better…

I've been to the Seattle aquarium.  I could watch those otters forever.  They are soooo cute.

On 9/20/2022 at 12:22 AM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

I took a photo of the seagrass tank because I know @eatyourpeas and I had discussed cultivation of seagrasses in the dark and distant past.

Even better than sea grass is something(s) I really enjoy when diving!  Garden eels.  They have the cutest little goby faces and they pretend to be grass.


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On 9/20/2022 at 5:41 AM, Solstice_Lacer said:

Did you visit Rosa, the world's oldest sea otter?

On 9/20/2022 at 11:07 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

I could watch those otters forever.  They are soooo cute.

I did stop by to check out the sea otters.  But I'll say that because the Minnesota Zoo has some, I didn't feel too deprived in that front.  It's not as weird as it seems to have them in MN.  They are part of the Russian Far East exhibit, which shares a similar climate with that part of the state.  I think the sea otters there are from Kamchatka. 

On 9/20/2022 at 10:59 AM, Biotope Biologist said:

I also quite enjoyed visiting the whale watching center. I want to say in Moss Landing?

The aquarium does have a research center in Moss Landing, but I haven't been there.  I've kayaked the slough, but not been to the center there, sadly.

On 9/20/2022 at 11:07 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

Even better than sea grass is something(s) I really enjoy when diving!  Garden eels.

They have a tank of those at the Minnesota Zoo (part of the indoor "Discovery Bay" exhibits.  I might show off the aquatic life there sometime too.  If I do, I'll definitely take a shot of that tank for you!

On 9/20/2022 at 11:42 AM, Zenzo said:

I haven't been there in a few years. Monterey Bay Aquarium is only a 2 hour drive for me...maybe I should take the trip soon to check out those leaping blennies.

FYI, I'd watch a vid of that.  If you made one...  I really liked your tour of the Steinhart!  I like that place, but I never really got up there growing up as it was all the way up in the big bad City, and the bay is so close.

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On 9/20/2022 at 6:12 PM, eatyourpeas said:

I noticed the diatoms in their eelgrass, maybe that is the key to successfully growing it! 😎

Could be!

I also thought of you when all of the deep sea tanks were covered in condensation from the low temperatures they keep the water at to keep the critters healthy - despite the very thick acrylic!  Took me a few thanks for it to occur to me why all of them were fogged up.  🤪

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Ah, yes! Always a challenge. I have not had condensation issues yet, even when the house has reached high 98F the tank stays clear. The lines do sweat a bit, though. I think next year I will insulate them a little better as I don’t think the crazy Summer temperatures will go away.

I dream of a deep sea tank with a critter like this one:



Edited by eatyourpeas
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I remember my visit in 2009; was a nice aquarium. I also like the one that had just opened up in Sanfran; it is tiny relatively speaking but still high quality. Others that i like a lot is Blatimore (though i haven't been there in 20 years); and the tiny one in Amsterdam. Never was a fan of the one in Boston (which i visited 4 or 5 times with the last time being around 2017). 

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