I haven't been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a few years, though as a kid growing up we went on pretty regular field trips there. It's still as fascinating as ever to see into the depths of the ocean, eye to eye with sea creatures not through a television screen, but through a few (or a dozen) inches of plexiglas. Built in 1984 (hey, the year I was born!) amongst the remains of Cannery Row (think John Steinbeck's domain), the aquarium's mission statement is to inspire conservation of the oceans.
Huge pumps circulate fresh water from the Bay through the aquarium's tanks every day, allowing it to replenish it's animal and kelp life naturally, essentially making the aquarium a part of the Bay itself. The Aquarium most famously houses several-story-tall tanks of sharks and kelp. The giant kelp grows four inches a day, and needs trimming each week by divers. Talk about maintenance! Viewing chambers with amphitheater seating and soft music invites you to sit and stay awhile, imagining yourself a mermaid, drifting along with the kelp and fish.
I took a million photos, though most of them didn't come out too well due to poor lighting and the glass, etc. If you like these though, stay tuned for the penguins and jelly fish post in a few days ⋘