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Monterey Aquarium vs. Aquarium of the Pacific

presley

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Looking to hear from those who have already visited Aquarium of the Pacific and the Monterey Aquarium. I'll be visiting Monterey next year and planned on going to the aquarium, but mostly because people make such a big deal about it, not because I love aquariums.

I just had my first visit to Aquarium of the Pacific and I thought it was great. While I did enjoy it very much, it isn't something I'd need to see again. I'm wondering if I should skip the Monterey Aquarium next year or if it is so completely different that it would be worth going to it.
 

DaveNV

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Not quite what you're asking for, but...

I haven't been to Aquarium of the Pacific, but reviewing their website shows it's a high-end, pretty progressive kind of place. I'm sure it was a great place to see.

I have been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, several times. And it seems to be pretty similar in its presentation. It's a great place with some spectacular exhibits, tailored to their location on the north-central California coast. Probably the most interesting to me is the three-story high kelp forest aquarium. It's like being in the ocean right off shore. Fascinating. They have some other things I found pretty awesome, like the open ocean tank, (where they had a Great White Shark for awhile, till it started eating its tank mates. :eek: ) What makes Monterey Bay Aquarium pretty special is its location, right on the rocky shoreline of Cannery Row. It's worth seeing, if only for its location.

So the question is whether there is enough that is different enough to make it worthwhile. At first impressions, I'd say probably not. If you're not a huge fan of aquariums, chances are good that once you've seen the one, it's pretty much like the other. The bulk of exhibit tanks will contain similar kinds of fish, and only a few stand-out exhibits will be unique to that facility.

Unless someone chimes in with a specific difference to make it worthwhile, my guess is you could probably skip the MBA.

Dave
 

b2bailey

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I grew up going to the Steinhart Aquarium. As an adult, when I visited the Monterey aquarium I was a bit let down. However, I later visited Steinhart and realized it wasn't all that I remembered it to be from my child perspective.

I'd say pass on the Aquarium unless you will have children with you that might enjoy it.
 

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I'd have to disagree and say not to skip Monterey. It's much larger than Aquarium of the Pacific and has more exhibits. On another note, the Steinhart Aquarium is not the same place as the Aquarium of the Pacific and is a lot different than it used to be. Monterey Bay Aquarium is wonderful. Don't miss it.
 

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If you enjoy Aquariums then IMHO Monterey aquarium is the best. We live close enough to have had season passes many times when our kids were young. We have been to also been to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Plus being in Monterey is a bonus.
 

MON2REY

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http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/exhibits/mission-to-the-deep

I'll put in a vote for the MBA. In addition to the long running exhibits, a new exhibit called Mission To The Deep will take you on a virtual voyage deep into the Monterey Canyon (larger than the Grand Canyon). It will show and describe much of the scientific equipment used to capture critters and data. Well worth the visit. (disclosure: I work for MBARI)
 

Talent312

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If you're going to be in the area, take the time to go, not becuz it's better than any of the major ("national") aquariums, but for it's uniqueness. The 28' tall giant-kelp forest tank... the Open Sea galleries with huge single-paned windows. You may also recognize scenes from the movie, "Star Trek IV."

 

easyrider

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I could hang out all day at the Monterrey Aquarium. My wife, not so much.

We both like hiking in Garapata Park. Canery Row was a she like and me not so much.

Bill
 

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I went on a tour of the coast while I was in SF a few years back. They gave us a option to go to the aquarium but it was only 2 hrs . I thought I'd feel rushed so I didn't go and I'm still regretting it. I could have been there for hours and it was expensive for just 2 hrs.
 

applegirl

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If you will have kids with you, I'd take them to the Monterrey Aquarium. If not, just do what you want to! They are both good but different.
 

Luanne

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Love the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Don't miss the otters.
 

DaveNV

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DaveNV

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Ooop, really need to check more carefully. It popped up for me on "What's New".
Someone posted just before you.

Dave
 

b2bailey

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Ooop, really need to check more carefully. It popped up for me on "What's New".
So this needs a response from OP -- did they go and/or did they like it?

Just last week my grand-daughter, age 25, asked her boyfriend to take her there for her birthday, and she has been there several times previously. As for me, once was enough.
 

presley

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So this needs a response from OP -- did they go and/or did they like it?
Well, it's been 5 years since I was looking at going, but I have been twice since then. I like Aquarium of the Pacific much more, actually. The main thing that I enjoyed at the Monterey Aquarium was the really big exhibit with the turtle and sunfish. I was able to enjoy that for a long time. I felt like the rest of the place would have been great if I had young children, which I don't.

I went again last year only because my other daughter wanted to go. We booked a behind the scenes otter tour, thinking it would make it feel like a better use of my time than my first visit, but I felt like that was kind of a dud, too. I've been to lots of aquariums for my entire life, so I just don't get the hype for the Monterey one.
 

DaveNV

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I've been to lots of aquariums for my entire life, so I just don't get the hype for the Monterey one.
I think for me it's because the place is right on the shore of Monterey Bay, where you can literally look from an exhibit out the window and see the same ocean area where that exhibit species comes from. Walk outside to smell the ocean air. Environment counts, I think.

As to how the MBA compares to other aquariums? Probably not a lot different from any "good" one. The one in Georgia seems awesome - and it's something like a hundred miles from the ocean. Kind of like the ski resort they have in Dubai - location also counts for something, I think. :D

Dave
 

SandyPGravel

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The one in Georgia seems awesome - and it's something like a hundred miles from the ocean.
Adding my 2¢. (Figure I can tangent off this, since the thread is 5 years old;) ) Georgia aquarium is nice. (We did the whale shark SCUBA dive.) It definitely has experiences you won't get at other aquariums. We stopped in Chattanooga TN on our way to the Georgia aquarium and I actually liked that aquarium better. Don't get me wrong the SCUBA experience at Gerogia is one of my favorite dives, but I really liked the Tennessee aquarium better.

and it's something like a hundred miles from the ocean.
You should check out the Shedd in Chicago. Talk about far from an ocean. The history of how they got the original water to Chicago is pretty impressive.

I want to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I'll have to look up the Aquarium of the Pacific. I haven't heard of that one.
 
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clifffaith

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We live 20 minutes over the bridge from Aquarium of the Pacific and take visitors there -- as long as we haven't been in the last five years. In the early 2000s went to a Boeing Christmas party there one night when Cliff was still working. We go to Maui Ocean Center every five years or so too. Just did Monterey in 2017 (asked for a wheel chair for me and price went down about $25 for being old and lame), so when we are at Worldmark Marina Dunes again in August we'll skip it this time. BTW, British tourists are very vocal about having people move so a wheelchair bound person can get up to a window to see!
 

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We did the shark dive there too. Tank isn't as large as Georgia's, but the facility is way more laid back. (Georgia only allows you to wear your own mask, all other equipment has to be theirs, wouldn't allow me to wear my own mask because it has a built in camera. MOC allowed you to bring all your own equipment if you wanted to) I really enjoyed that dive too. Usually 6 different shark species. We missed out on a tiger shark, they had recently released it back into the ocean.
 

Sandy VDH

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I have done both, and would do both again in a heartbeat. Of course I am a diver and LOVE my fish. So I would usually enjoy most.
 
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