Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monterey Bay Aquarium

While my mom was here we took a day to drive down to Monterey to visit the aquarium.  I have only been one time before and it was when Clara was just 5 months old so it isn't like she could really experience any of it then.  At $40 per person, it is kind of expensive, but it really was a fun day with lots of interesting creatures to see and beautiful facilities.  First we watched the penguins.  There was one penguin in the water showing up and Clara kept poking her head down below water level then back up then back down again to watch him swim back and forth.

There is a big tank that is supposed to replicate the kelp forests that are actually in Monterey Bay.  Two scuba divers were in it feeding the larger fish bits of cut up fish from a pouch.  Clara thought the scuba divers were pretty interesting because she is familiar with (and kind of afraid of) the scuba diver from "Finding Nemo".

My favorite part of this exhibit though were the leopard sharks.  There were quite a few of them and they are so sleek and interesting to watch.  I was glad that Clara didn't freak out whenever they swam past.

The touch pools weren't quite as interesting as the last time I went because there were hardly any starfish at all.  One of the volunteers explained that there is a nationwide epidemic with starfish because they have all got some kind of disease that is eating them from the inside out so they hardly have any at the aquarium.  Clara didn't really want to touch anything that looked remotely alive anyway.

There is another really incredible tank called the "Open Sea" which is just an enormous big blue tank with larger open ocean creatures like hammerhead sharks and tuna and rays.  The three hammerhead sharks were amazing to watch glide past.  Some were above and some were below (it is a two-story exhibit so you can see different things on the top from the bottom).  I love this picture of Clara holding her grandma's hand.

Those are anchovies behind us.  My mom wanted a picture to show my dad because while she was visiting us she said that my dad had ordered a pizza with anchovies and pepperoni on that, which is kind of gross but also hilarious.

I don't have pictures of the sea otters or the puffins or the seahorses or the jellyfish but those exhibits were all really cool too.  Clara liked the jellyfish best.  I think the highlight of the day was at the very end when we saw a giant red octopus that had been suctioned onto the side of its tank in a corner let go and swim across to another area.  We overheard somebody say that normally that octopus is holed up in the rocks and all you can see is just a tentacle or two hanging out so we felt really lucky to see it swim around.  I'm glad that we were able to get out and explore with my mom while she was here.

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