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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  • Christine D
    Clarence Center, New York103 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 8 June 2023
  • Hayley A
    Wakefield, United Kingdom185 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 July 2023
  • Voyage54431325785
    Atascadero, California5 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
    Travelled solo
    Written 7 July 2023
  • 808nlc
    Honolulu, Hawaii22 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 10 July 2023
  • Honeylocket
    Wales, United Kingdom141 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 20 July 2023
  • Tinkytinkster
    Cheadle, United Kingdom48 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
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Coastrunner
    Coronado, California25 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 26 July 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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 30 July 2023
  • DeniseWLondon
    29 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 1 August 2023
  • Suz52014
    Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A great day out
    A spacious and well laid out aquarium in the heart of Monterey. A huge variety of sea life to see and lots of learning opportunities for children. I easy walking distance Monterey’s popular tourist area and right beside the sea. Tickets must be pre booked
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 6 August 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles14,474 reviews
Excellent
10,157
Very good
2,876
Average
1,031
Poor
270
Terrible
140

John W
Lostant, IL2,656 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Friends
Originally, the plan was to come here with my wife while on vacation in California with the in-laws. Sadly she passed away the month before due to a heart condition, but still came here with my brother who replaced her on the trip. Admittedly I wasn't there 100% mentally due to my wife not being there but it was definitely a beautiful aquarium. While it can be hard to pick a favorite, the Kelp Forest was definitely up there along with the otterz. Note it seems to be quite crowded especially during the summer so definitely plan ahead. Well themed throughout and it seemed like the sealife had plenty of space. Tickets are a little expensive but I do think it's worth it though the food was expensive and was just average. Plenty to see outside with the coast nearby
Written 6 May 2024
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.

Mari9
Naperville, IL891 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We went to Monterey aquarium while on vacation in Carmel by the Sea. The aquarium is laid out nicely, and the exhibits are easy to see. However, I was very disappointed in the ticket process. Upon arrival, we were told to scan the QR code to buy tickets online. After several minutes trying to do this, I heard the young lady tell a family that they can go in and buy tickets at the counter. I questioned her and she said oh yes, you can go inside. I told her how frustrating that was as she saw me standing there trying to check in and saying this was ridiculous. Too much time spent trying to buy tickets online so if you're going to do it, do it in advance. I also want to say that I do not think that this aquarium is worth $119 for two tickets. I was disappointed and could've spent the money elsewhere, like a boat tour or whale watching. Sadly, I don't recommend the aquarium; although it seemed the families were enjoying. They had good children's exhibits and areas.
Written 24 April 2024
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.

barbaramichaelfa2023
23 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
The outdoor tidepool exhibit/experience was neat.
They also had some really cool windows in the exhibit that allowed to you "sit inside" almost, surrounded by the fish. That part was really cool.

Sure do wish they had offered a military discount, like they used to. It was quite expensive, especially for military members on a very fixed income.
Written 16 April 2024
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.

Fkrasil
San Francisco, CA141 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
It is a fabulous entertainment for children, adolescents as well as adults. It is a very complete aquarium, huge, with different attractions. For me, it is a blissful place, I have been there several times and it is always fantastic.
Written 13 April 2024
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.

David C
3 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Visited just after spring break, so not too busy.
Buy tickets before you go, to avoid having to stand outside and to scan a QR code to create an a account and hand over all your personal info to buy tickets. (No family tickets.) $165 for 2 adults & child. Not able to just pay at the door.
DON'T BUY FOOD or REFRESHMENTS. £££.
Eat before you go in.
Take and empty water container which you can refill inside. Some attractions were far to small. (I'm glad I'm not a puffin)
Had a "good time"
Would I visit again. No.
Written 9 April 2024
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.

Innyperson
Stafford, UK694 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
The displays are lovely but it is not as big as I thought it would be and is very crowded. There is no way that many people can get near to watch the otter feeding. I thought it was very expensive for what it was.

Highlights are the jellyfish and the enormous tanks with the multitude of fish including sharks.
Written 7 April 2024
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.

A. Mary Tripster
Perth, Australia3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Luckily I was able to get a refund, as we bolted for the doors after less than 30 minutes. The noise and crowd were simply unbearable. I came to learn about the ocean ecosystem in this part of the world but left discussed and literally feeling sick to my stomach.

The best I can say about MBA is I was able to get a refund but that does not begin to cleanse the sour taste from my mouth.

I’m sure that on a calmer day MBA provides a great learning opportunity but being packed in like sardines only suggests that they continue to exploit the current resource, tourists, just like the hay days exploited the ocean I now wish to see more protect.

For a great aquarium experience my I suggest Exmouth in Western Australia where even the Mexican food tasted better.
Written 4 April 2024
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.

Maddalena S
4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
The aquarium was an absolute circus!
Way too many people inside, layers deep people crowded in front of each display, noisy, claustrophobic. It was impossible to enjoy the displays even if by miracle you managed to get a good location to observe the fish.
Management should really try to control the crowd by restricting the number of people allowed in the facility during busy days. But they seem more willing to perpetuate the exploitation of resources well ingrained in this area, then it was the sardines now it’s the tourists, rather than giving a good experience to those who visit the facility.
I so looked forward to seeing this place and to learn about the ocean, the life in there and the research that I know the MAM is conducting.
Unfortunately that goal was utterly impossible to achieve due to overcrowding. I left with a headache and upset stomach within less than 30 minutes. The only positive thing is that they refunded our tickets after a bit of pushing.
Written 4 April 2024
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.

Roamingrhonda
Washougal, WA116 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
One of the only good things I can say about my experience here was that in the long, long, long line, it was a breeze to get through. You must buy your tickets on-line, so they just scan your code and the line moves quickly.
Other than that, the otters have a super small habitat as well as the poor pacific octopus. They let EVERYONE in (I don't think they have a limit) so there is lots of waiting to see an exhibit. Apparently, Monterey has no Fire Marshal...You undergo a multitude of screaming children and babies all the while trying to navigate the huge strollers and running children.
Certainly not worth the $49.95 price tag for entry.
Written 4 April 2024
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.

Ray K
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
We left after 15 minutes. This is not a place for adults who are gentle lovers of the ocean. It was more like a crazy theme park full of stressed out parents and lots of children.
Written 3 April 2024
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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MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Monterey Bay Aquarium





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