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Monterey aquarium - is it a must-see?

Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:30 PM
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Monterey aquarium - is it a must-see?

We will be in Monterey area for 2 days or so in March (our first and maybe our last visit to California). We are a middle aged couple with no special interest in aquatic life. Should we skip the aquarium, even though it gets a lot of mention as being a highlight of the area? What's so special about it?
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:42 PM
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Yes, I think it's a must. It's not like any other aquarium you will ever see - or at least not that I have seen. We were just there (and have been there before) and took the "behind the scenes" tour which I highly recommend. You can probably walk through and enjoy it in a couple hours...no need to spend the whole day. It will give you a good understanding and over view of the Monterey Bay Area, as well as the marine life. Don't miss it!
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:43 PM
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It's been a few years since we were there (couple in 30s with no kids) and I don't remember anything special about it or the experience. I do remember there being a lot of kids around, so maybe it's more geared towards them.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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If you're there, yes, it's a "must-see."

Many people visit Monterey for the aquarium.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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To be in Monterey for more than a day and NOT tour the Aquarium??? You're kidding, I hope.

Great exhibits, many of which can ONLY be seen at this spectacular site, with a wonderful restaurant too (make advance reservations).
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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I think it's a wonderful aquarium, but yes, you can see it in a couple of hours. You can skip the entire aquarium and just see the jellyfish exhibit, as far as I'm concerned!
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 01:03 PM
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"To be in Monterey for more than a day and NOT tour the Aquarium??? You're kidding, I hope."

That's a very fair point. I don't remember there being so many other things to do in Monterey that would warrant keeping someone from the aquarium, so it probably does make sense to go if you're there.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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IMHO --

Rather than being inside to see marine life; head north to Ano Nuevo State National Reserve to see the elephant seals live and in living color.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523
Be sure to get tickets now, as it is can be sold out.

Or head south to Point Lobos for some spectacular views.

http://pt-lobos.parks.state.ca.us/

If the weather is bad, then being inside is good.

For us, when we are in CA we want to be outside looking at nature.

You can see lots of otters playing just outside the aquarium and along the path that leads to Pacific Grove. There is also a beach/sandy area just past military bldg that was covered in seals, at the start of the path to PG. We loved being able to see them in that natural environment.

Here are some pictures:

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/PacificGroveCA2008

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/PacificGroveCA2008

We loved it so much, we are headed back next month.

Deb
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 01:30 PM
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About 7 years ago, wwe were in your shoes. Same demographic, same lack of interest in aquatic life. And we were both underwhelmed.

I'd suggest saving the fifty bucks and put it toward a good meal somewhere.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 01:45 PM
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Although I think the aquarium is great, I can see that it might not be a must-see for some. If the weather is good, I would be inclined to spend the time outside as some others have mentioned - Point Lobos, boat trip out on the bay, kayaking at Elkhorn Slough, tidepooling and walking along the coast at Pacific Grove, etc.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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The Monterey Aquarium is nice but I have to admit that I liked the National Aquarium in Baltimore much more. We visit aquariums everywhere, and except for the jellyfish exhibit in Monterey, I wasn't sure what all the hoopla was about. I think the outdoors in that area is much more exciting.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 06:39 PM
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We loved it, but if you have no interest in aquatic life, I don't see it appealing to you that much.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 12:33 PM
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I wanted to comment on the other things to do in Monterey besides the aquarium - a lot of outdoor things have been mentioned already, but I wanted to mention the historical stuff. Monterey has a ton of history, and right by the wharf is the history park with the customs house and some other things, and in addition there are several historical houses available for tour on a rotating basis. Then for Steinbeck fans, in Salinas there is the Steinbeck center - not Monterey specifically, but very close.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 03:09 PM
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I echo DebitNM's post... Point Lobos and the other outdoor locations are a must for the area..not because of the sealife ersay but because of the scenery!!!

However, if sealife isn't your thing... then why feel constrained to spend time viewing the aquarium?
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 03:44 PM
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I love aquariums. Monterrey totally bored me. Part of it may have been the long drive and really lousy company, but I wouldn't go back.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 04:37 PM
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Adding to the outdoors suggestion: why not drive the 17-Mile Drive in Carmel and have lunch at Roy's in Spanish Bay or at one of the restaurants at the Pebble Beach Lodge, like the Tap Room or the Stillwater? Or just wander around the shops in downtown Carmel? Or just walk along the Carmel Beach?

If you have no interest in aquatic life then skip the Aquarium and spend those hours along the beautiful coast. The Aquarium is really for the younger crowd or for people who like marine life.

If you are going as far as Point Lobos then continue on through to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and do the short hike around the redwoods. Then drive about five miles further south and lunch/dinner at Nepenthe restaurant.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 04:57 PM
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FYI -

Pfeiffer Campground Closure News Release NOTE:
All park areas (to include campground and trails) east of Hwy 1 will remain closed until further notice due to unsafe conditions and infrastructure loss. Park areas west of Hwy 1 (to include Buzzards Roost Trail) are unaffected and open for use.



http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=570

Deb
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