Copyright Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation
Can humans learn to live with nature? At a restored sardine cannery, half in Monterey, half in Pacific Grove, there is a great hope that we may learn. A wonderful place has been built here for people to interact with the incredible Monterey Bay. Cannery Row, the Steinbeck novel, and its conscience, 'Doc,' have been cast a literary justice in this great aquarium. Doc was Steinbeck's marine biology traveling pal, Ed Ricketts, in real life. And they spent their formative mental development time in the tide pools, and in Rickett's lab close by. Much of the rest of Cannery Row celebrates Steinbeck's writing, but is too much like an amusement park and woefully missed the point. The Aquarium, on the other hand, is the highest calling of those moved by that wonderful literature.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was a dream of people who worked with marine life in Monterey and were driven to share the mysteries of the sea. What has been created with that drive and dream has become a truly great learning experience for 3 million people a year. Pelican PhotoThe nearly 200,000 square foot Aquarium is an impressive engineering feat. Outdoor exhibits have waves. One-half million gallons of seawater is pumped in each day to the tanks to keep the habitats real and well. Windows to the tanks are 7 inch thick. Huge organic filters screen the incoming sea water for pollutants and clouding organism. Should there be an oil spill, the aquarium's system can operate as a "closed system" for two weeks. Lucinda Jaconette, author of Monterey Bay and Beyond, wrote about the father of Aquarium CEO Julie Packard: "David Packard not only provided financial support but worked at his forge in Big Sur to create exhibits for the aquarium, including the gears and pulleys of a simulated tide machine. Scientists and craftspeople worked together to offer an undersea world unparalleled in the country."Explore habitat trails, visit a kelp forest, just like looking right into the Bay. More real remarkable things, like recreated tide pools, sea otters, and a coastal trout stream.
Follow the Habitats Path to the Kelp Forest. View pictures live from the Kelp Cam, and time lapse animations. You have to see it to believe what a thrill this can be.
Visit the Aquarium research sister organization, MBARI. Live cam shots of research expeditions in Monterey Bay canyons. On the left is the position of the R/V Western Flyer, currently being repaired. On the right is the position of R/V Point Lobos.
Where you can become involved, volunteer