Located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row, Monterey, California, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a public aquarium housing a large collection of animals and plants representing more than 600 species.
Founded in 1984 the aquarium has received an annual attendance of over than two million visitors. Designed as an ecologically essential part of the ocean, Monterey Bay Aquarium makes use of a continuous and high circulation of fresh seawater from Monterey Bay obtained by way of pump to more than 100 exhibit tanks. This makes the aquarium perfect for maintaining organisms such as giant Kelp which are less suited for ordinary saltwater aquariums.
The aquarium’s highlight of the Ocean’s Edge Wing, is a 8.5 m, 1,260,000 l tank for viewing California coastal marine life, and the first to growl live California Giant Kelp worldwide. Visitors to the Ocean’s Edge Wing building can watch marine life of the kelp forest at several levels. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s largest tank, Open Sea galleries formerly the Outer Bay is a 4,500,000 l tank featuring one of the world’s largest single-paned windows and one of the few to house the ocean sunfish.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sealife exhibit which can be viewed both above and below the waterline houses jellyfish, stingrays, sea otters, and a variety of other marine species native to the costal regions of the United States.
One of the first worldwide to exhibit bluefin and yellowfin tuna, the Monterey Bay Aquarium does not house any mammals other than its collection of otters. To create a circular water current to support and suspend their collection of jellies the aquarium uses a Kreisel tank.
Interesting Facts About The Monterey Bay Aquarium
• Dating back to almost a century there have been numerous attempts to construct an aquarium in Monterey, California. One such mention was a proposal to the Monterey Bay city council by a man named Frank Booth in 1914 at a cost of $10,000. In 1925 a bond issue was sponsored in a proposed effort to build the aquarium in the basement of the Pacific Grove Museum, which was followed by a later suggestion in 1944 to have it built at the Point Lobos State Reserve.
• Since 2002 the aquarium blows the Hovden Cannery steam whistle each day at noon to commemorate the dismantling of the 1916 Hovden Cannery in 1980.
• Monterey Bay Aquarium’s original building which first opened in 1984 was designed by the architects Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis and funded by the the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard and avid blacksmith David Packard who also designed and created many of the elements used for the aquarium’s exhibits at his personal forge located in Big Sur. Notably his daughter Julie Packard who is also a marine biologist is the aquarium’s current Executive Director.
• The Monterey Bay Aquarium was founded in virtue of the work of marine biologist Edward Ricketts who was inspirational in the building of the aquarium renown as the “Doc” of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. Many of Ricketts’ items can be seen on display at the aquarium as well as several of his books sold in the shop.
• Monterey Bay Aquarium’s tank walls ranging from 3 to as much as 13 inches thick are constructed of the same plastic used in the manufacture of Plexiglas and Lucite and can resist excessive amounts of pressure and force of water behind them.
• The Monterey Bay Aquarium during the early 1900s was been the first worldwide to exhibit jellyfish, which were once considered impossible to cultivate.
• In 2004, the Open Sea galleries became home to the first great white shark ever successfully kept on exhibit. The shark which was housed at the aquarium for 198 days was eventually released after biting two soupfin sharks.
• In 2006 the aquarium added another great white shark to its Open Sea gallery. The juvenile male which was captured outside Santa Monica Bay and later released a year later had grown from an original length of 5’ 8” and 103 pounds to over 6’ and more than 170 pounds on the date it was released.
• In 2007 the aquarium introduced a third great white shark which was released in 2008. Much like the first great shark this male was also accidentally caught in commercial fishing gear and like the second shark was also a juvenile male weighing in at just over 67 pounds and about 5’. Since then the aquarium has added a three more great white sharks to its collection all of which were later released two dying shortly after.
• In 2014, the aquarium opened “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes.” During this period the exhibit which highlighted 4000 years of aquatic mystery allowed visitors to view up to 24 aquatic species including, Hawaiian bobtail squid, one of the world’s largest cuttlefish, the world’s largest squad and giant Pacific octopus.
• The Monterey Bay Aquarium currently has approximately 420 employees and about 1270 volunteers.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Webcams
Monterey Bay Aquarium Aviary Webcam
Monterey Bay Aviary houses a variety of bird species including Red phalarope, Western snowy plover native to North America, Puffball and several other species.
View Aviary Webcam.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Jelly Webcam
In 2012, the aquarium opened “The Jellies Experience,” live exhibits that offers visitors a journey into the world of jellies for an interactive themed experience. The Jellies Experience features species never before exhibited at the aquarium, such as blubber jellies, comb jellies elegant jellies and flower hat jellies.
View Jelly Webcam.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Kelp Forest Webcam
Kelp Forest exhibit which stands at over 8m in height and over 1,200,000 l was designed as the aquarium’s main attraction and the first worldwide to display a living kelp forest. More than eighty species of seaweeds are grown in this exhibit as well as many that have entered the aquarium by way of the bay. The kelp which grows in the Kelp Forest grows at a rate of approximately 100 mm daily and needs to be trimmed at least once each week. Each main window of the Kelp Forest exhibit is designed 2.4 m wide, 4.9 m high, and 190 mm thick.
View Kelp Forest Webcam.
Monterey Bay Open Sea Webcam
In 1996, the aquarium opened its Outer Bay wing featuring one of the world’s largest single-pane windows to offer open-water exhibits covering the ecology of Monterey’s Outer Bay. In 2010 Outer Bay wing was extensively renovated and re-opened in 2011 as the new Open Sea galleries. During this period the aquarium also opened exhibit featuring a school of 3000 sardines, a juvenile sea turtle exhibit, a multimedia experience centerpiece for microscopic plankton and a puffin exhibit.
View Monterey Open Sea Webcam.
Monterey Bay Webcam
A part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary effort, the Monterey Bay Webcam offers online viewers an first hand look at the birds and sea mammals on the federally protected marine area offshore the central Californian coast
View Monterey Bay Cam.
Monterey Bay Penguin Webcam
In 2000, the aquarium opened a penguin exhibit as part of its Splash Zone family galleries in replacement of the two penguin exhibits formerly housing South American Magellanic penguins and African Black-Footed Penguins. The Black-Footed Penguin exhibit located on the second floor enclosure is currently the aquarium’s only penguin exhibit.
View Penguin Webcam.
Monterey Bay Sea Otter Webcam
Since 1984 the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program has focused on conservation of the Sea Otter population by rescuing, treating and releasing injured otters. The aquarium by way of its surrogate program in addition to conducting scientific studies also finds homes for sea otters that are unable to survive on their own in the wild.
View Sea Otter Webcam.
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