An Ancient Fascination

Octopuses and their kin, sea creatures known collectively as cephalopods, have grabbed hold of our collective imagination for thousands of years.

We share this fascination as manifested in art, literature and contemporary culture in “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes.” Highlights include:

  • A steampunk-style sculpture made from raised copper and brass with glass in the Japanese technique called “Tankin.”
  • Ancient Minoan pottery replicas painted with cephalopod designs.
  • An illustration from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
  • A drawing of octopuses attacking a fleet of ships, depicted as fact by a French naturalist in 1803.
  • A highly detailed drawing of cephalopods by famed naturalist Ernst Haeckel.
  • Glass models of squid and octopuses by father-son team of Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka.
  • A replica of the famous abstract work, The Birth of the Cephalopods, by Mark Rothko.
  • A dramatic depiction of a sea of ammonites 73 million years ago.
  • The intriguing yet slightly disturbing image of Contessa with Squid by Omar Rayyan.
  • Cephalopod tattoo art.

We also commissioned San Francisco Bay Area artist Nemo Gould to create three kinetic sculptures for “Tentacles” using found objects. Gould has transformed a jumble of junk into delightful dioramas that carry conservation messages delivered through a sense of wonderment.

Tentacles" opens April 12.


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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

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