One of our favorite places to visit is Monterey, California. When winter in the high country begins to feel like sensory deprivation, nothing recharges the spirit like a trip to the ocean. The aquarium in Monterey is a gem. A place that holds fond memories for my family. Many hours of being mesmerized by giant vats of jellyfish that vary between microscopic and giant, a three story aquarium and kelp bed, the joy of petting a bat ray, and watching a wave wash over the top of you. These are just a few of the exhibits and hands-on educational tools this fantastic aquarium offers. The latest is the "Secret Life Of Seahorses." A new one for 2009. Did you know that seahorses have a mating "dance" that looks like the tango? That the male actually carries the eggs and does the birthing? (Which we had the great good fortune to actually witness!)
One of the exhibits I really enjoyed was a "diner" where you are able to sit on a stool, order a fish dish, and have the "cook", "waitress" and "staff person" let you know if your choice is healthy or sustainable - and why. (A very Disneyland-like experience.) The aquarium even has an I-Phone application to help you decide what to cook for dinner. It will tell you what is safe for different parts of the country. It's helpful when standing at the fish counter trying to remember if Chilean sea bass is okay or if it is so overfished it's in danger of becoming extinct. (The latter.) Or if it is better to eat farm-raised salmon or wild caught. (Again, the latter.) The app is called Seafood Watch, described as a seafood guide, which is free by the way, created by The Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you get a chance, visit this aquarium. Take your family and friends with you. You won't be disappointed.