The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of my favorite day-trip destinations, especially since my mom got a membership from a friend a few years back. We've renewed each year since. Monterey is beautiful to begin with, but the aquarium has always held so many exciting, fun, and peaceful sights that you don't get to see on land.
They're one of the few places to have housed great white sharks for a few months at a time (4-6 months before they're tagged and returned to the wild) - always rescued, and always small enough that they won't cause too much ruckus in the tank - and only one at a time. No one else had been able to keep them alive in captivity. Yesterday they moved a new great white female (their fourth great white since 2004) into the Outer Bay exhibit, which is a ginormous tank that's two stories high and has a huge plate of glass to view the tank through. The room is dark except for the light from the tank, and it's so peaceful to just sit on one of the benches and watch the fish swim by. Even without the great white, it's a beautiful array of sealife - schools of barracuda, dolphinfish with their funny huge foreheads, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles (love them!), sunfish (or Mola Mola, which is another of my favorites - not just fun to say, but cool-looking: huge and flat, with equal-sized fins on top and bottom), bluefin and yellowfin tuna, and a variety of others depending on what's been caught recently (they switch out their fish so they don't spend too much time in captivity).
If you ever have the opportunity, go and see the aquarium for yourself. You could easily spend two days there. In the meantime, if you can't make it in person, they have a few webcams set up that are live from 7am till 7pm everyday. Of course, I'm currently loving the Outer Bay one, especially since the great white seems to love swimming right over the camera for you. She's only 4 1/2 feet long, but she's beautiful and so fun to watch. They've also got cameras for the otters and kelp forest, which is another of the most soothing and relaxing exhibits they have. Or the penguins, who are so adorable!
Check them out! It's like a desktop aquarium, only they're real and they have broadcasted feeding times!
Outer Bay (and great white shark) webcam
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