Join us in celebrating the 186th birthday of Jules Verne. Considered one of the fathers of science fiction, he’s best known for his novels Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), and our favorite, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
Readers in Verne’s day loved his vivid portrayals of adventurers Phileas Fogg, Otto Lidenbrock and Captain Nemo, as well as his fantastical inventions — including a powered submarine and deep-sea exploration — some of which are now part of our modern world.
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea inspired many ocean explorers, including William Beebe, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Ballard. Jacques Cousteau called it his “shipboard bible.”
Verne’s stories are still widely appreciated today, nearly 150 years after they were first published. He is the second-most translated author in the world, between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare.
We tip our hat to Verne and the giant octopus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when ”Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes" opens April 12.
The special exhibition includes the most diverse living collection of these cool creatures ever, plus art, literature and contemporary cultural artifacts showing how they have captured our imagination for over 4,000 years. We feature the illustration above from as well as an early edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
While we all have to wait a little to see “Tentacles,” we don’t have to wait to journey 20,000 leagues under the sea, courtesy of this Google Doodle from 2011 in honor of Verne’s birthday. Dive in!
Can volunteering at the Aquarium help keep you young? Amazing 94-year-old Paul Croonquist receives 8,000-hour award from Executive Director Julie Packard, in the company of his daughters and wife Phoebe. Thank you Paul, and all our volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you!
Excited about “Tentacles”, our forthcoming special exhibition focusing octopuses, cuttlefish and kin? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the workshop of Bay Area artist Nemo Gould, who’s creating our amazing kinetic sculptures from found materials.
Are you a San Francisco Giants fan? We were honored recently to have pitcher Matt Cain and his family visit the Aquarium while he was in Monterey for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament!
We want your vote! What should be our next computer wallpaper?
It’s #WeirdWednesday, and we can count on our friends at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to captivate us with creepiness.
Need an easy way to help our oceans? Check the box for the “Protect Our Coast and Ocean Fund" on your CA state income tax form! The fund supports education, cleanups, habitat restoration and public awareness that improve the health of the state’s marine and coastal resources.
More to Sea in Our Octopus Exhibit
The most famous residents of our giant Pacific octopus exhibit are, of course, the beautiful octopuses themselves. But did you know there are lots of other amazing animals sharing the display? These species came from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, our sister organization just up the road.
White or glass sea cucumber (Pannychia moseleyi): Lives at depths greater than 400 meters in the Monterey Bay Canyon. When disturbed, it bioluminesces with brilliant blue-green spirals to deter predators. (Dave Robel)
Deep sea sun star (Rathbunaster californicus): This animal has as many as 22 arms, which it can shed as a defense mechanism. Predators investigate the wriggling arm as they crawl to safety, then it regenerates the lost arm! This star scavenges dead animals such as fishes and whales. It also feeds on fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs. (Dave Wrobel)
Common feather star (Florometra serratissima): This star has feather-like pinnules that cover the arms and are used for feeding. Tiny tube feet secrete mucus that helps capture food particles such as marine snow and small zooplankton. (Craig Racicot)
Johnson’s sea cucumber (Parastichopus johnsoni ): Like many other deep-sea creatures, this animal is bright red, helping it hide in deep water, where red is invisible (appearing black). (Dave Wrobel)
My, how the cuteness grows! Otter 649 weighed less than seven pounds when rescued in November. Since going on exhibit January 21, the plump pup has reached a portly 19 pounds.