Starts today! Share your love of #MBATentacles on Instagram or Twitter and you could win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium! Learn more
(Photo: @adventureswithrein)

Starts today! Share your love of #MBATentacles on Instagram or Twitter and you could win one of eight packs of eight tickets to the Aquarium! 

Learn more

(Photo: @adventureswithrein)

Behold our amazing South American sea nettles! Enjoy these bright beauties all day with our free wallpaper for your computer or smartphone.
Download now

Behold our amazing South American sea nettles! Enjoy these bright beauties all day with our free wallpaper for your computer or smartphone.

Download now

How do you explore the deepest, coldest and most mysterious parts of the bay? Immerse yourself in underwater technology and research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Open House July 19! Learn more

How do you explore the deepest, coldest and most mysterious parts of the bay? Immerse yourself in underwater technology and research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Open House July 19! 

Learn more

Jack Johnson Sings Praises of the Aquarium as He Receives Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award

"It’s a full circle. Every time I come to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I’m inspired to write songs." - Jack Johnson

In an evening of words and music, singer-songwriter, philanthropist and ocean advocate Jack Johnson received the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award at our 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Ocean.

Jack paid tribute both to the Aquarium and to actor Paul Walker, in whose memory the award was created. Paul’s brothers, Cody and Caleb, were in attendance.

Executive Director Julie Packard saluted Jack and Paul for using their voices to encourage others to create a world with healthy oceans.

"Paul was an aspiring marine biologist," Julie said. "He was a friend of the Aquarium, and a lifelong champion of the ocean. And I can think of no one better to receive this award in his name than Jack Johnson."

Making a difference in the world

The ocean, Julie said, “is part of his life, and his music. He and his wife Kim have used that connection to make a difference in the world. They’re leading the music industry in green practices and using their success on behalf of many social and environmental issues.”

Among the initiatives their foundation supports is the Aquarium’s annual Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit that helps teachers find new ways to engage their students around the issue of plastic pollution and ocean health.

"It’s a high-impact experience for the kids and teachers, who take what they’ve learned back to their peers and communities," Julie said. "We’re so grateful for Jack and Kim’s support."

'One of the honors of my life'

For his part, Jack said, “It is one of the honors of my life to be acknowledged by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s a very inspirational place. Whenever I bring my kids here, we have the best day, and we go away wanting to learn more about everything we’ve seen that day. 

"So, keep up all of the great work."

Of Paul Walker, he said, “I loved that guy. It’s an honor to be getting an award in his name.”

The celebration included some of Jack’s songs, a reception featuring Hawaiian music and dance, and dishes created in the aloha spirit by Seafood Watch Chef Ambassador Ed Kenney, a friend of Jack’s from Oahu.

All proceeds from the evening benefit our Children’s Education Fund.

We are so grateful to Jack and Kim Johnson for all that they do, and to the Paul Walker family for partnering with us to recognize individuals who — like Paul — are using their public stature in support of ocean issues.

Learn how you can support our Children’s Education Fund

Come dive with us! In our Underwater Explorers program, kids ages eight to 13 are introduced to surface scuba diving in our Great Tide Pool, where they’ll meet amazing animals while getting a fish’s-eye view of the wonders of the bay. This time lapse video gives you a bird’s-eye view of the action! 

Signup now 

(Video: Patrick Webster)

How do you truck a 30-foot gray whale model down Cannery Row? With a police escort! See the beginnings of the Aquarium in this #ThrowbackThursday video from the early 1980s.

New! Our Sea Otter Tour gives you an insider’s look at how we care for exhibit animals and help save this threatened species in the wild. Learn more and signup

New! Our Sea Otter Tour gives you an insider’s look at how we care for exhibit animals and help save this threatened species in the wild.

Learn more and signup

The Squid Are In!

By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience

When we say “the squid are in,” we could be talking about the Aquarium’s new special exhibition, Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes. However, at this time of the year we’re talking about the annual spawning run of market squid in Monterey Bay. 

Many a night in the past month I’ve awoken to an eerie green glow in my bedroom window, emanating from the bay. This isn’t an alien sighting, but it could be described as a visitation from a bygone era. The green light is used by squid fishers to lure these cagey cephalopods near the surface where they can be more easily caught. Large purse seiner boats quickly encircle the concentrated schools and haul them aboard by the ton. Market squid is the largest commercial fishery in Monterey Bay, with the catch running into thousands of tons in a good year—and by all accounts 2014 is turning out to be a great squid year in Monterey Bay.

Part of our history

The squid fishery is a remnant of Monterey’s past. Chinese fishers came to Monterey in the 1850s and are credited with starting commercial fishing in the bay, including squid. They developed the technique of fishing at night, with a fire burning in a wire basket suspended over the gunwhale of a sampan boat.  Squid would rise to the light and were easily dipped out with a net. In those days the squid were salted and dried for shipment to Asia.

Today the process is largely the same, although the scale has increased dramatically. Specialized electric lights that emit a green light have replaced the flame in a basket. The sampans are long gone and today there are large purse seiners that can land as much as 40 tons of squid in a few hours. Much of our Monterey squid still goes to China to be processed, as well as Taiwan or India. That squid is consumed in Asia or shipped around the world—including the United States. So even when you’re eating market squid caught in California, odds are that it has traveled across the Pacific for processing.

That’s a lot of squid

The statewide limit is 118,000 short tons, set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. After the season starts April 1, squid landings are reported every week. (The total through June 6 was 7,323 short tons.) When the total for all landings reach the limit, the fishery is closed for that year. Some years that limit is never reached; in other years the total may be reached in six to eight months. In order to give the squid (and fishers) a break, there is no commercial squid fishing from noon Friday through noon Sunday. On average, the squid fishery earns over $70 million per year in California. 

Right now the Aquarium feels like “squid central.” From the deck we can watch over a dozen purse seiners fishing for squid next to the Monterey and Pacific Grove. Inside, we can watch the amazing behaviors of several species of live squid on display in Tentacles exhibit. And if that isn’t enough, Cindy’s Waterfront Restaurant at the Aquarium serves some very tasty calamari!

Read our Seafood Watch recommendation for market squid

Buy tickets now or later? Visit at 10 a.m. or 4 p.m.? Get insider tips for the perfect summer visit in our latest podcast! 

We’re Building a new Ocean Education and Leadership Center for California’s Schoolchildren and Teachers!

Each year, more than 75,000 schoolchildren and teachers take part in our array of free school programs. We’ve always known we can do far more in reaching and teaching students and educators about the oceans, given the right space. On Monday, we became the new owners of two connecting buildings located at 585 and 625 Cannery Row, a short walk from the Aquarium. One is destined to become our state-of-the-art, K-12 Ocean Education and Leadership Center.

Reaching teens and teachers

So what will the new center do? It will mainly offer innovative and highly interactive education programs for teens and teachers—programs that will take advantage of the most appropriate, cutting-edge learning technology.

The Aquarium’s role in science education has become increasingly important at a time when the capacity to deliver 21st century science learning is on the decline in schools. “We have a crisis in science and environmental education right now,” Executive Director Julie Packard points out. “Society’s success will depend on today’s young people having the knowledge, skills and motivation to create solutions to very complex problems.”

The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center will make a significant contribution to science education throughout the state of California. It will allow for some increase in the number of students who can attend an Aquarium education program, and a much deeper impact on many that do. The new 13,000 square-foot center will also allow the Aquarium to better meet California’s Next Generation of Science Standards, while doubling the yearly number of science teachers who take part in our teacher institutes to more than 1,200.

Turning the center from a concept to a reality will depend on a $50 million fundraising campaign that supports our Children’s Education Fund. To date, the campaign has raised $20 million toward that goal.

Center highlights

  • Four STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning labs, each large enough to accommodate for 40 students
  • A large multi-use space for workshops and video teleconferences
  • A new pre-Aquarium orientation space for visiting school groups
  • Storage and supply rooms, including for new technology
  • A rainy-day lunch space for school groups
  • Offices for 35 education staff
  • Collaborative meeting spaces for staff, teachers and youth
  • A convenient, safe parking lot dedicated to schoolbus pick-up and drop-off

The new Ocean Education and Leadership Center is expected to open at the start of the school year in fall 2016.

Learn more about our education programs

Help make our Ocean Education and Leadership Center a reality

About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.