- Regular: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
- Members: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Since its opening in 1984 on historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's mission has been to inspire conservation of the oceans. Consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative exhibits and unsurpassed visitor experience, and with more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits filling 34 major galleries, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a showcase for the habitats and sea life of one of the world's richest marine regions. Named the #1 family-friendly aquarium by Parents Magazine and the best aquarium and the third overall family attraction in the country according to the Zagat Survey® U.S. Family Travel Guide, the aquarium has also grown to become one of the leading ocean conservation organizations in the world.
|Child||$21.95||(Ages 3-12, under 3 free)|
|Student||$31.95||(Ages 13-17 or college ID)|
New Mola in Town!
There's a new ocean sunfish on exhibit in the Open Sea.
Our Husbandry team added the sunfish ( Mola mola ) over the weekend and it's acclimated very quickly. It's swimming well and makes a beeline to the surface to feed when our staff puts a colored target in the water as a signal that it's mealtime.
We collected the sunfish in Monterey Bay on September 11, when it was just over 2 feet long and weighed nearly 32 pounds. On October 25, when it went on exhibit, it was 2 ½ feet long and weighed 46 pounds – quite a growth spurt!
Then again, the Mola mola – its Latin name, which means “millstone” – DOES tend to get big. It's the largest bony fish on Earth, with some individuals topping out at 5,000 pounds. One sunfish we exhibited grew to weigh nearly 900 pounds before we returned it to the wild, with the help of a helicopter.
We've temporarily moved our two green sea turtles behind the scenes to help the sunfish adjust to its new surroundings. Before it gets too large, we'll fit the sunfish with a tracking tag and release it in Monterey Bay. Based on results from other sunfish we've released, it will do well and travel far.
Take your Aquarium visit to the next level. Sleepovers, behind-the-scenes tours and teen surface scuba diving are just a few of the adventures we offer to help you experience the wonders of ocean life.
Engaging auditorium programs, exciting live shows and our staff-led aquarium adventures help you get more out of your aquarium visit.
From acorn barnacles to zebra sharks, learn more about life in our oceans in our newly expanded animal guide. Includes cool facts, conservation, videos, podcasts and even computer wallpaper.
Our less-visited times are in the fall and winter months other than during holidays. At other times of the year, you'll find fewer visitors between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the peak summer months, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to visit.
Do you allow pets inside the Aquarium?
Only trained service animals are permitted in the Aquarium. Pet-sitting services are available within walking distance of the Aquarium. Call the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (831) 657-6400 for recommendations.
Do you have a "lost and found"?
Yes, at the Information Desk. A lost and found report can also be filled out if an item has not been returned before you're ready to leave. A volunteer will provide the form and leave it in the lost and found bin for Security to pick up. We'll call Security immediately if an item of value is turned in (purse with cash/credit cards, an expensive camera, etc.).
Do you offer any discounts?
We offer discounted tickets to active duty and retired military personnel at the door. However, your entire group can receive the discounted rate by purchasing tickets through a military base . AAA members may also receive a discount when purchasing tickets directly from any Northern California AAA office. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is unable to sell AAA discounts at the gate.
We offer our "two days for the price of one" ticketing program through participating hotels . You may also purchase discounted tickets to the Aquarium plus four more top San Francisco attractions with CityPASS . Additionally, companies sometimes provide discounted tickets to their employees. These special rates are not available through the Aquarium itself, but must be purchased directly from these institutions. We also extend a discount to groups of 12 or more when paying together with an advance reservation.
How long does it take to see the Aquarium?
An average visit to the Aquarium lasts two to three hours, but you can easily spend the whole day here and still have more to see! Be sure to check our Aquarium Exhibits section before you come to preview some of the highlights.
How many employees and volunteers does the Aquarium have?
There are approximately 450 paid staff and more than 1,200 volunteers. Our volunteers do everything from guiding school children through our exhibits to feeding the animals in our Kelp Forest. To learn more, visit our Jobs and Volunteer pages.
How many people visit the Aquarium?
The average number of visitors over the first 27 years has been approximately 1.8 million annually. The total number of visitors since opening has been 49,823,951 through 2011.
Visitor information cards are available at the Information Desk in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Many staff and volunteers speak other languages. Look for special nametags that indicate what languages they speak.
Is there a place to store my belongings?
There are lockers for personal use located on Hovden Way, just past the Member Entrance. From September through May, the lockers on the left are reserved for school groups. Guests are welcome to use the lockers on the right. Each locker costs one dollar and will only accept quarters. Locker dimensions are 16 by 23 by 30 inches.
Photography & video
During your visit, you're welcome to take photos and video for your personal use only. Commercial photography is allowed only with prior written permission from our Public Relations Department . For your safety and the safety of other visitors, we prohibit the use of tripods and monopods in the Aquarium.
Flash photography can hurt some animals—like sea dragons, octopuses and others. Before you click the shutter, please look for signs asking you not to flash the animals. You'll find professional photo postcards of many of our animals in our gift and bookstores.
For the health and safety of our guests and animals, smoking is prohibited anywhere on Aquarium property, including outdoor areas.
Strollers are permitted throughout the Aquarium, except in our aviary and on the mezzanine of our sea otter exhibit. We ask that you be considerate of other visitors as they're navigating dark galleries to see the exhibits.
The coastal areas of Monterey County usually enjoy temperatures averaging 57 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It's a good idea to dress in layers as temperature and wind conditions may vary throughout the day and it can get cool, even during the summer.
What if I already have tickets?
Prepaid and complimentary ticket holders may enter at the Main Entrance and will be directed to the Advance Tickets line.
Where can I buy film, batteries, stamps, aspirin, etc.?
The Gift & Bookstore carries disposable cameras, aspirin, AA and AAA batteries, along with a full selection of merchandise including natural history books, Aquarium logo clothing, educational toys and much more. You can reach our merchandising staff by phone at (877) 665-2665 toll-free in the U.S. or via e-mail . Stamps may be purchased nearby at Nob Hill Foods.
Where can we eat our picnic lunch?
The Aquarium provides an onsite picnic area reserved for visiting school groups. Individual guests may use the outside seating at the end of Hovden Way. Please note that no food or drink may be consumed inside the Aquarium, and seating is reserved for restaurant patrons in our restaurant, Cindy's Waterfront, and the Cafe. There are a number of great picnic sites within walking distance from the Aquarium, including Lovers Point, Berwick Park and San Carlos Beach.
Who owns the Aquarium?
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation owns and operates the Aquarium. It's a public nonprofit organization, established by David and Lucile Packard in 1978.
Who pays for the operation of the Aquarium? Does it receive government support?
The Aquarium is almost entirely self-supporting. The annual budget is met with income from admission fees, our membership program, business sponsorships, grants from individuals and businesses, evening events, the Gift & Bookstore, our restaurant, Cindy's Waterfront, and the Cafe. We receive occasional government grants for specific projects and programs.
Wireless internet is available at the Aquarium free of charge. You can browse the internet with your Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones, tablets and other devices. For more information, please visit the Information Desk.
|Ocean Advocate||$250||2 adults plus children,
2 guest cards and more
|Member||$195||2 adults plus children
All memberships include:
- Free admission for one year and express entry
- Discounts in our Gift & Bookstore and on Aquarium Adventures programs
- Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Mon.–Fri.
- Tel: (800) 840-4880
- Fax: (831) 644-7554
Member Night: Holiday Event and Sale
Dec. 6 (Fri.)
7-10 p.m. Member event Help us kick off the holidays with a special Member Night featuring our gift & bookstores! Shop for unique holiday gifts and enjoy local wines while strolling through the Aquarium at its festive best. Member Nights are free for members and guest cards are honored. Registration not required. Please enter through the Main Entrance.
Save the Oceans
For more than 25 years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has worked to protect ocean life for future generations by inspiring young and old with the beauty and wonder of the oceans. We count on the generosity of people like you to support our urgent work.
What does my gift do?It costs $3.5 million to bring this innovative exhibit to the public. Your gift will help us create Tentacles and provide critical support for our work on behalf of ocean animals and ocean conservation. Here are just a few examples of how your support can make an impact.
$1,000 feeds the animals in the Tentacles exhibit for one week. $500 feeds our jellies for three weeks.