If you're looking for an aquatic adventure, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the world. There's nothing like getting up close and personal with those beautiful sea creatures.
Tickets can be a little pricey, but it's worth it just for the giant octopus. In all seriousness, if you're worried about the cost, there are a few options to look into for a discount.
Sources for Discounted Monterey Bay Aquarium Tickets
We'll be honest — finding discounted aquarium tickets can be challenging. It's a popular destination, but there are ways to get in for less money. Besides discount tickets, signing up for a membership or for travel packages will bring you more discounts on aquarium tickets.
- The aquarium itself offers several discounts at its ticket booth. Children, youth, and seniors get in for less than the general admission adult tickets. Children under the age of four get in for free. They also offer a Free to Learn program for those who may not be able to afford tickets.
- Aquarium membership - The aquarium offers several membership packages to fit your budget and needs. This is a great option if you love to make regular visits or you plan to bring the entire family. Some packages also may include guest passes.
- Craigslist is a good option to try, since people often sell their aquarium tickets for as little as $10.
- Monterey County Free Libraries have offered free tickets to low-income families, but you'll want to call your local branch for more details.
- Once a year, the aquarium hosts a free open house for residents of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Proof of residency is required.
The aquarium contains roughly 81,000 animals and plants at any given time.
For folks who live nearby and are looking for ways to spend more time at the aquarium without paying the high price, consider helping out!
- If you're looking to give back, apply to be a volunteer. They will regularly post open volunteer positions so you can support the aquarium and get a behind-the-scenes experience with the wildlife.
- Another option is to keep an eye out for open positions at the aquarium. Making money and working for one of the coolest places in California? Sounds like a dream job!
Monterey Bay Aquarium Highlights
If you've never been to the aquarium before, here are a few of the exhibits that are responsible for making it so popular.
- Kelp Forest: This breathtaking exhibit puts you on the ocean floor as you look up at a forest of kelp. The twenty-eight foot high windows allow you to fully appreciate the magnitude of the kelp as you watch sea life like leopard sharks and wolf-eels swim amongst the foliage. This in one of the most unique aquarium exhibits in the world.
- Giant Octopus: The giant octopus is one of the most fascinating and mysterious animals in the sea. When you visit this exhibit, you'll have a chance to see these huge animals up close. At nearly thirty feet across and weighing almost one hundred pounds, the giant octopus is truly breathtaking. These creatures' ability to change color and blend in with their environment is an amazing activity to witness.
- Sea Otters: Sea otters are endearing and playful water mammals. The collection of otters at Monterey Bay Aquarium features a lot of pups that are endlessly entertaining. There is even a sea otter cam that you can visit to check in on the otters from your computer at home.
- Open Sea: The Open Sea exhibit highlights sea life from the open ocean. This exhibit hosts the largest collection of ocean animals in the world. Sea turtles and hammerhead sharks swim together with the largest collection of jellyfish in the United States. The Open Sea exhibit is truly breathtaking and not to be missed.
The aquarium gets its water from the actual sea, with pumps that push up to 2,000 gallons of water per minute (which eventually goes back into the ocean). In total, the aquarium gets nearly one billion gallons of water from the sea each year.
Worth the Price of Admission
While adult tickets are about $60 a piece as of the writing of this article, Monterey Bay Aquarium is a wonderful experience for individuals and families to see the wonders of the ocean. And, it might be encouraging to know that the cost of admission and memberships goes towards the aquarium as well as ocean conservation efforts.
In an area of the country that's rich with great attractions, the aquarium definitely stands out, so go ahead and schedule your trip. You'll be glad you did!