Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Located by the oceanfront, the Monterey Bay Aquarium offers a window into the rich marine life of the area with over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals on display. Here, you can see leopard sharks weave through kelp forests at one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world, sardines swimming past a 90-foot aquarium window, and cute sea otters frolicking. Tickets are only available online so be sure to book before you go. There’s also a behind-the-scenes tour for an exclusive peek behind their world-class exhibits. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

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  • JSB915
    Northbrook, Illinois586 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Interactive Aquarium
    What an experience! This aquarium tops all, by far. The exhibits are fascinating, serving up interesting facts and history in an interactive manner. Overall, very well-organized, clean with helpful guides throughout who were happy to tell you more. I particularly liked the ability to go out on expansive open decks to experience pacific coastal environments up close. The ticket cost was well worth it! Can’t wait to go back!!
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 15, 2023
  • Christine D
    Clarence Center, New York98 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful but expensive
    A beautiful but expensive experience. We did not have small children with us, so we saw everything in under two hours. Most importantly we felt that the sea creatures were treated well and had spacious clean habitats. Much better than others we have seen. The entry cost was expensive and there was nothing we found affordable in the gift shops. I hope these costs are going directly to the care of the animals.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 8, 2023
  • Hayley A
    Wakefield, United Kingdom177 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great day out!
    We had a great day here! The exhibits all looked clean and well maintained. The touch pool were supervised by really enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. We really enjoyed the talk given by Becky at sea otter feeding time!
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 2, 2023
  • Voyage54431325785
    Atascadero, California15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best Aquarium in the West!!
    well the Monterey Bay Aquarium is still one of the best aquariums I know in the entire world. I haven't been to all of them but the ones I've been to in the midwest in the East and in Europe This one is still the big winner. I haven't said anything about it since 2012 so it's been a number of years and many of the major exhibits have changed and they've always changed for the better. I always buy annual subscriptions so that I can share my guest passes with other people and it's really the way to go I encourage people to get the annual support and then you get two passes for you and your honey and two guest passes which you can use again and again for your friends. introducing more people to this aquarium is fabulous. the open ocean is such a stunning sight to see the big fish swimming around right in front of you you just can't beat it. the kelp forest is always got a crowd and is always just wonderful especially when the divers go in and feed the fish it's beautiful the Otters isn't forever popular place however for me I like the otters in Morro Bay they're just right there in the wild and there's a whole lot of them and it's really fun watching them raise their babies. I recommend the aquarium with Two thumbs up and a hip hip hooray let's all go to Monterey
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 7, 2023
  • 808nlc
    Honolulu, Hawaii24 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    MUST VISIT!!
    This is a MUST SEE place when in Monterey. Pros: Lots to see the animals seem to be well cared for Cons: Crowded We went on a Saturday morning and it was CROWDED!! There is a lot to see, the tanks are clean, animals seem well cared for… We had a great time. We will definitely be back next time we are in Monterey
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 10, 2023
  • Honeylocket
    Wales, United Kingdom126 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent
    Amazing aquarium - a must do in Monterey. We went late in the afternoon and towards the end or our visit essentially had tank exhibits to ourselves. Really, really impressive. Friendly volunteer staff! Worth the steep ticket price.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 20, 2023
  • Tinkytinkster
    Cheadle, United Kingdom41 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Jellyfish Awesome
    Absolutely loved it but was relieved our kids were older as it was crazy busy. The large tanks with massive fish were great but the jelly fish were simply awesome. At €220 it’s not cheap but we’ll worth a visit.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 22, 2023
  • Coastrunner
    Coronado, California26 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must experience.
    This was not my first visit, but I found new things to enjoy. The aquarium is possible the best in the world, and the thousands of visitors there with me attest to that. The exhibits are well planned, highly educational, and cover the entire spectrum of life in the ocean, with the focus on the marine area of Monterey Bay. The exhibits displaying many species of jellyfish were particularly fascinating.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 26, 2023
  • Thomas J
    Sun Prairie, Wisconsin81 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Neat aquarium...way too many people
    There were a lot of great tanks and presentations but there were so many people it was impossible to see some of them my h less even move in the tighter places. Pick an off time (day or season) if you want to actually enjoy it. $60/tic is a ton to spend for 2 hours...sure if you watch every presentation and read every placard it might take you 4 hours.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 30, 2023
  • DeniseWLondon
    27 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great aquarium but too crowded
    The aquarium and exhibits/talks etc are excellent but it is way too busy. We went on a Friday in July and it was very crowded and it meant the experience wasn't as good as it could be. It may not make commercial sense for them but timed tickets/capacities would make for a better visitor experience. Our two kids did the Diving Experience which was fantastic, definitely book in advance. They had a great time and it was a really different experience and would strongly recommend, it's for kids aged 8-13.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 1, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

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Texan0957
Texas40 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We have visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium several times over the last ten years. We were just in Monterey the middle of February 2020.. We checked the website before we went to make sure there were no special events for the day we planned to go as it can be very crowded. When we arrived around 10:30am and paid we realized it was a school visit day. There were no buses outside in the area but oh man when we got into the exhibits it was cram packed with children. I understand an aquarium is for young folks, but adults enjoy it as well. I also do not believe the schools pay $50 per student and to allow so many school groups at one time is really unfair to the $50 patron. We travelled several thousand miles to visit the aquarium and really were unable to enjoy our visit.
Wtih all of that said it is a wonderful place. I suggest that you call ahead and ask if there are school groups visiting that day and maybe select a different day to visit and not waste $50. We stayed a brief hour and had to leave because it was so crowded and unrulely.
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jen P
Los Angeles, CA14 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021 • Couples
While the aquarium itself is as high quality as ever, they are letting FAR too many people in at one time. It is impossible to stay more than 2 feet away from others, less than that if you want to see the exhibits. The museum could control this by limiting admission much much more and guiding people through in one direction paced 6 feet apart. Our entry time (pre-purchased tickets only) was 2pm. There were hundreds of people in that group entering the museum, and previous groups were still there. There is no exit time for your reservation, which again they could control with colored wrist bands, or allowing only guided tours through the museum. They're making money hand over fist ($50/ticket), but doing nothing to observe COVID safety for the public and their staff. Hand sanitizer stations throughout are not enough.
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

brooklyncouple
Brooklyn, NY64 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Utterly unsafe crowding conditions. I'm happy they are enforcing masks, but they are doing nothing to limit crowding in the cramped, indoor environment and it felt like a covid hotbox. It was absolutely packed wall to wall, impossible to see any exhibits. Our fully-vaccinated party, which included children and older folks, felt it was unsafe even with masks given the Delta variant. I don't know why the aquarium is doing timed tickets bc it doesn't appear it is limiting capacity one bit. Given the very high ticket price and basic public health protocols, I was totally unhappy with our visit. If you have unvaccinated children or are immunocompromised, I would recommend not visiting until covid is truly over or they actually limit capacity responsibly.
Written July 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Randy C
Brooklyn, NY5 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
I should have read other reviews before going to the aquarium. Buying timed tickets gives you the false sense of security that the aquarium administration are taking public safety in mind during the increase of COVID cases around the country. Instead, they are fish packing as many people as possible into the building full knowing that social distancing is impossible. Many people were walking around without their masks on or simply down, enabled by no enforcement from the staff.
Besides hand sanitizer stations being present, this was a pre-COVID visit at its worse. If you are at all concerned about flying or being at an airport or being at some crowded outdoor event, this was 10x worse. The local government must only be concerned about lining their pockets with as many tourist dollars as possible until the State of California shuts or limits capacity at indoor venues, otherwise, they would not allow what is going on here. If you feel like wasting $170.00 for a family of four and putting yourself in maximum COVID danger while barely being able to see the exhibits, this is the place to go. Do your self a favor and go rent a kayak for a beautiful paddle in the bay.
Written July 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EH-MUH-LEE
8 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
My boyfriend and I bought tickets and enjoyed our recent visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We are both Bay Area natives and prior to this visit, we each had not been to the aquarium since we were kids. Nevertheless, we were STOKED about coming!

When I bought our tickets, I liked how we could choose the time we wanted to come to the aquarium.

We had an amazing time - we loved the "open sea" exhibit, and I love aquariums, period, small or big so I personally enjoyed just looking at all of them in the museum.

Now for the negatives... there is absolutely zero social distancing going on in the museum. It would be helpful if when we book our tickets, we are told how much time we're allowed inside. I understand it is difficult to keep track of how many people you are letting in the museum at a time and how long they have been inside, but my boyfriend and I recommend monitoring the indoor capacity. It was very crowded and we couldn't really enjoy all of the exhibits because of that.

Other than that, we had a great time and we will be back!
Written July 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MCK
3,035 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
This aquarium has been on my bucket list forever and when I finally had a chance to go, covid hit. I planned a trip the second week in June. When the aquarium reopened to members only advance ticket sales... I became a member so I could sign up early for a guaranteed ticket spot. I had chosen a weekday (less crowds), Tuesday at 10:00 for early members entry. SO GLAD I made this arrangement: hardly any line and it moved fast, not crowded at all, so enjoyable to walk and view at your own pace.

All the exhibits were great, wish there were more sharks in the main tank though. My favorite was the jelly fish area. My friend and I went through it in about 3 1/2 hours. On that note you could bypass the public parking garage charge and spent cheaper on a 4 hour meter.

Also Keep in mind, when we went June 8th to be exact, mask were mandatory, and very specific masks were only allowed, so read on the website the rules... and yes they were checking every person. Plenty of hand sanitizer stations and when we went there was social distancing which everyone actually followed (maybe because there was little to no crowd).

So glad I was finally able to experience this aquarium!
Written June 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,712 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
I guess buying tickets for timed entry really doesn't decrease the amount they have in there. Children were very active (understandably), exhibits were closed and no films or special activities but, oh the price is the same! Food in the one spot was chaotic and not many choices. Tip: Apparently there lockers BEFORE you come into the building so don't think you'll do that after entering or you get sent outside to pay $5 and then you have to line up again to get back in with a hand stamp.
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BevyJo
Boulder, CO12 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
I have been to the aquarium many times but this was the first since Covid. We were so taken aback by how poorly it is run now. Though they "require" mask and purchasing tickets for a certain time the situation was crowded and unsafe. There was a very long line to get in before you could enter and you were close to people. Once inside I had never seen it that crowded. We were with our three grandchildren, 6, 9 and 12. You had a hard time seeing any of the exhibits and to see them you had to squish yourself in a throng of people. It felt unsafe and just silly even if it was before covid. They are clearly monitoring how many people go in and do not seem to care that it is an environment that people cannot take care of themselves in the way that we want to. I was sad to find that our experience was like this. I love the aquarium and was surprised to see that they clearly care about money more than the people entering.
Written July 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CalifTravelerOne
San Jose, CA314 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
I noticed some people complaining about the price of admission. It is definitely pricey but takes a lot of money to maintain a very clean and well-run operation like this.
Lots of open spaces with hard walls make it very noisy in some parts particularly if some parents let their children have tantrums without moving them to someplace where they can settle down. That's what happens with a place that attracts lots of children.
There are several educational and hands-on activities for children. Stopping in to see one of the 15-minutes video presentations is a nice way to give your ears and feet a rest. The deep sea exploration was a real revelation to me.
Also, there are some areas with soft walls and low lighting where you can contemplate creatures such as jellyfish in relative quiet.
Written February 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

L.C.
Santa Maria, CA5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Went as a family school trip as we are homeschoolers. The location is pretty easy to guide through, right in midst of Cannery Row. Plenty of places to park. At the aquarium, there is a lot of information that can be utilized for schooling or just for fun (the have educational printables and resources on their site). The volunteers and docents are extremely kind, as well as informative on either habitats or animals. take your time and consume the information , shows and feeding times too! Cafe is expensive (we ate there) but was told you can re-enter if you need to leave for lunch or something. Would recommend!!
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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