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
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About
Located at the ocean's edge, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a window to marine life -- for dive masters and non-swimmers alike. It's home to sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies and thousands of other marine animals and plants. Its mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
14,329 reviews
Excellent
10,074
Very good
2,856
Average
1,014
Poor
260
Terrible
126

Myles D
Whitehorse, Canada433 contributions
I can't add too much more than what people have already shared - the Aquarium is an absolute must-see if you're in the area. Budget 2 to 4 hours if you can, there is so much to see - there are sporadic feedings as well (not the penguins, tho, that's on hiatus). The otter feeding was especially fun but get there early, people really cram next to each other on that second level and if you're short you won't see much. Thankfully there are monitors that you can look at for a better view! The Aquarium has a great cafe, gift shop and even a historic part that talks about Cannery Row. My wife and I really enjoyed our afternoon there. There is a real emphasis on sustainability, too, and keeping our oceans and waterways clean, which I liked.
Written September 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Nancy A
5 contributions
Seeing the otter feeding is tough - too many people, but otherwise this place is simply awe inspiring. Take plenty of time to absorb it. The gift shops are very expensive, and it's probably best to eat a hefty meal before you go in - and then plan to stay a while.
Written August 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brenda F
Agua Dulce, CA8 contributions
Make sure you buy advance tickets (not sold at door) and pick a day that's not the weekend or holiday! Otherwise there's a long line to get inside and tons of families with strollers. We went on a Friday and easily found parking right by entrance (on Cannery Row). Gift shop was overpriced ($13 for a small chocolate bar?!) but that's typical. And all the money goes to sea life preservation/conservation, etc. Afterwards, you can walk up/down shops and eateries on Cannery Row. There's plenty to choose from.
Written June 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jen P
Los Angeles, CA12 contributions
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.

brooklyncouple
Brooklyn, NY64 contributions
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.

Randy C
Brooklyn, NY5 contributions
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.

EH-MUH-LEE
7 contributions
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.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,504 contributions
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.

BevyJo
Boulder, CO12 contributions
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.

akdeepdiver
2,792 contributions
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.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Monterey Bay Aquarium tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 7 Monterey Bay Aquarium tours on Tripadvisor