California Travel Log | Monterey Bay Aquarium

black sea nettleThis is the first post in my series covering my recent escapades and adventures in California. For more, check out Leslie’s California Travel Log.

The five of us arrived at the airport in Fresno, California on Saturday afternoon. We spent the night in Kingsburg with the kindest of hosts, Alistair and Sevia, long-time family friends of my husband’s parents. After a delicious meal of grilled burgers and corn on the cob, a good night’s sleep and Sunday morning services, we headed out to Monterey to see the Aquarium!

Out of all the places we visited on our trip, I think this was my favorite.


Unassuming in its exterior, once inside the aquarium we could see that it backed right up to the sea. Its “back porch,” so to speak, was an open air amphitheater! This was our first view of the Pacific Ocean. But even more intriguing than the view were the creatures within the aquarium’s walls.

IMG_6441Light played atop these fishes’ backs, casting shimmering rainbows across their skin as they swam. Still, the fish above were the most ordinary looking animals I found at the aquarium.


Blub! All the flecks floating around in the water are plankton, tiny sea creatures that fish feed on.IMG_6419

Little squids in the Tentacles exhibit. Look, I think he’s smiling!tentaclesMore tentacles. The giant red octopus was feeling shy and hiding in the corner of its tank, so I couldn’t quite capture the whole of it. Just these light pink circles, suckers grasping the walls of its tank.


I wish I knew all the names of these animals! This little squid had stripes like a zebra.


To the giant tank. A whole wall of this great room was made of heavy glass, separating the people from the sea life. The creature taking center stage is called a Sunfish. He was the most unusual looking fella. Flat as a pancake.


Stingrays shared the giant tank with the sunfish, as well as sea turtles and sharks.

IMG_6372I enjoyed watching the jellyfish the most. The white ones in the photo above are moon jellies. Wouldn’t want to put them on your toast though 😉 I learned that jellyfish movement is caused by muscle spasms.

sea nettles

More black sea nettles.


The umbrella jellyfish were so mesmerizing. I couldn’t believe creatures so small and thin like this could possibly exist, almost invisible but glowing in the tank like aquatic fireflies.IMG_6375


Otters – so cute and playful.

aviaryOur last stop was the aviary. The above view gives an impression of what the space was like – a wall of windows looking out to the ocean sheltered the open air room, full of space for the birds to fly.



The snowy plovers were the first reason I wanted to visit the aquarium in Monterey! Their website features adorable photos of baby snowy plovers, (Google it and you will be aww-ing all over the place) but alas all the ones I saw were grown.

At the end of our visit, we walked a little around the Monterey Bay area to find a place to eat. So here’s some California street photography in case I bored you with too many animal photos.

pinkberry tacos

bubba gump shrimp

There were lots of seafood places to choose from, but we decided on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. They had awesome outdoor seating, plus, I love Forrest Gump!shrimpA delicious dinner.

Watch out for my upcoming post about our next stop, Pebble Beach at sunset.



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