Visitor’s to the Monterey Bay Aquarium can park in metered spots (credit cards accepted) on nearby streets – and it is generally a short walk to the cannery. There are also two parking garages within the close vicinity of Cannery Row. Those who don’t mind parking further away can find non metered street side parking in residential neighborhoods to the west of the aquarium (about a 10-15 minute walk away). Tickets to the aquarium can be purchased on line or on site.
The aquarium opened in 1984 on the former site once occupied by the Hovden Cannery (was active from 1916 until 1973 when it was the last cannery in Monterey to close). Visitors to the museum are first greeted with educational displays and exhibits about the original cannery.
The centerpiece of the aquarium is a 28 foot tall tank containing a living kelp forest (the first exhibit in the world to showcase a kelp forest). The largest tank on site is 1.2 million gallons and features and impressive school of several thousand sardines all swimming in unison with each other. A unique feature of the aquarium is that is pumps in seawater continuously from the bay throughout the various tanks on site.
Arguably the highlight of a visit is time spent standing in awe in front of the tanks that house various species of jellyfish.
Nearly 2 million visitors come through the aquarium each year. The busiest seasons are from May through September. Allow at least several hours. For more information visit: www.montereybayaquarium.org