I’ve had a little cloud of guilt hanging over my head. Every year when I visit California, we make a pilgrimage to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. And every year when I come back to Chile, I tell you how I’m going to share my California adventures, including my aquarium trip. But for whatever reason, while I post about San Francisco and little things like wedding receptions, I never quite get around to sharing the aquarium.
This may sound like it doesn’t matter. I’m sure you’ve all been to an aquarium. They tend to be filled with fish. Fish are boring, right?
Oh my god, no. Fish are freaking FASCINATING. Seriously, how do schools of fish do it? And I know turtles and sharks aren’t fish, per se, but just go with me on this one.
I especially love the Monterey Bay Aquarium in particular because it’s so local – they have a massive living kelp forest filled with creatures native to the California coast.
Know what else is native to the Monterey Bay? SEA OTTERS. Yes, the caps are necessary because we saw a sea otter feeding featuring a baby sea otter who was found abandoned in the wild and is being fostered at the aquarium. Hello, adorable baby, let me cuddle you.
Then of course, there’s all the other good stuff. The penguins are a perennial favorite, but this time the aquarium had puffins on display. I can’t remember why, but I was kind of obsessed with puffins as a child - I think a stuffed animal was involved - so this one got several squeals of glee.
More squeals may or may not have occurred by the bat ray touching pool. Please note just how far I’m leaning over the barrier to reach the ray who was trying to play it cool.
The main attraction at the Monterey Bay Aquarium has always been the jellies. They’re hypnotic as well as gorgeous.
Although I have to admit that for me, the sea horses may be surpassing the jellies as my favorite exhibit. They’re so cute!
I really don’t know if I can go the aquarium justice in words or even pictures. It’s just one of those places I love – sure, it’s overrun with kids, but at 5’9″, I can see over their heads. And the exhibits are well worth it. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a local focus, which keeps it from being any old aquarium in any old city, as well as having a huge emphasis on conservation and sustainability. In other words, it’s fabulous.
A special thanks to my friend Amanda not only for the photos – my fancy pants new camera wasn’t mine quite yet – but for being my date and joining me in every ooh and ahh.
Have you been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? Or any aquarium? Do you think fish are as amazing as I apparently do?
More pictures of fish (yes, there are more) on the Emily in Chile Flickr page.