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Friday 1 August 2014

Monterey Bay Aquarium Visit

Time to get back to posting about my parents' recent visit. They've already been gone over a month. This Summer is just flying by.

You may recall that in previous posts I mentioned that we'd be going to Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was definitely one of the highlights of my parents' visit. We had visited Monterey Aquarium back in 2012 and the girls loved it so we've been keen to head back there again. You can see our previous visit here. It's such a wonderful place to spend a day so I knew that my parents would enjoy it too.

While the majority of the aquarium had not changed since our last visit there was one thing that had. See that photo below? That's right, the aquarium has grown tentacles!

The aquarium regularly features special exhibitions. During our last visit one of the exhibitions was all about seahorses and sea dragons (my absolute favourite). This time around the featured exhibition starred those amazing tentacled creatures: the octopus and the squid.

Believe it or not the pictures below are all of the one octopus. He (or maybe she) was pretty active and moved around the aquarium a lot. Every time he stopped he would change colour to blend in with the rocks and coral around him. It was pretty amazing to see.

The Jellies Experience is another special exhibition currently on at the aquarium. This exhibition was on display at our last visit too. Jellyfish are always amazing to see. They appear so graceful and delicate as they float about in the water despite the fact that many of them are quite dangerous. The exhibition also features lots of jellyfish inspired design with a distinct 1960s theme. Apart from the actual jellyfish my favourite part of this exhibition is the psychedelic kaleidoscope projector. We had lots of fun making crazy images

The Wave Crash was a big hit with the girls again. They really enjoyed standing under the glass with the wave crashing over the top of them. Watching it from the outside was pretty cool too.

The bat rays in the Sandy Shore & Aviary exhibit were a favourite with the girls too. They loved watching the bat rays "fly" through the shallow water. Bat rays really do look like they are flapping wings to move through the water. One particularly friendly bat ray kept coming up to the glass next to the girls. Lola was convinced he wanted to be her friend!

The girls loved the hands on exhibits in the Splash Zone and touch pools. They were pretty happy that they got the chance to hold starfish, crabs and sea urchins.

From our table in the cafe at lunch we had an amazing view over the ocean. Sea lions and sea otters bobbed about in the water while birds dived for fish. A large group of sea lions lazed about on a rocky outcrop. There was even a baby sea lion. Seeing the sea lions and sea otters in the wild is always an amazing experience.

While I wasn't able to get a close look at the wild sea otters, or snap a photo, the sea otters on display in the aquarium were much more accommodating. We watched the sea otters frolic about in their home for about half an hour. They were so much fun to watch. They played with balls, buckets and each other. At one point one of the otters had onlookers in laughter as it "tobogganed" down the rocks and into the water on a bucket lid. I wish I'd caught that on video. It was hilarious!  

The Open Sea exhibit is one of my favourites. I love seeing the school of sardines swimming around and around in the entry to the exhibit. I could watch those little fish forever - although I might get dizzy!

The main aquarium in the Open Sea exhibit is huge and contains some pretty amazing creatures like hammerhead sharks and the huge flat sunfish. The mezzanine level was a pretty peaceful spot to sit and feed Mathilde while watching the sea life gracefully swim past.

The Kelp Forest exhibit is another large aquarium that can be viewed over both levels. The colours are amazing with the sunlight streaming in through the swaying kelp. Another peaceful exhibit.

Monterey Bay Aquarium was just as enjoyable to visit the second time around as it was the first. It really is such a magical place and I feel lucky that we live so close to such a world class aquarium.

 I'm sure we'll be visiting again in the not too distant future.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful colours. And whoa nelly, those tentacles up through the roof is super-cool!


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