While I was in Santa Cruz for Thanksgiving I made sure that I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Though my choice of going the day after Thanksgiving was not the brightest one, I did have a great time and managed to take a few great photos despite the overwhelming crowds of children. All of the images here were taken with a Canon PowerShot SD550, and not my usual Canon PowerShot SD10 ELPH because I forgot the battery in Mexico.
Upon entering the aquarium the first thing you see is the awesome Kelp Forest exhibit complete with a large school of tiny fish, Leopard Sharks, and a Wolf Eel I couldn’t get a clear picture of. Be sure to check out the live kelp cam.
As you might expect there were more exciting and strange animals at every turn, like this Sheep Crab (pictured below). It wasn’t long before we started moving in to the deeper water inhabitants like the goliath grouper below, and huge yellowfin and bluefin Tuna. I wish I could have captured better images of the Tuna because there were easily a few over 500 pounds. As a fisherman seeing these beasts up close for the first time in my life I was unable to blink and had to be pulled away from the glass.
As we continued through the aquarium there were quite a few areas where you could pet and/or feed different species of fish, stingrays, sharks, and more. It was nearly impossible to get pictures in this area with all the children pushed up against the exibit and their parents close behind them. I did manage to break through their wall and snap two good images of the Yellowtail feeding, and the Shark petting exibits.
The Jellyfish were truely a highlight of the trip for me and that area of the aquarium was nearly empty of little children running about, screaming, and getting their oily fingerprints all over the glass. I was able to take my time getting high quality photos, and watch the jellies slowly waltz around the tanks. The layouts of the jellyfish exhibits and the lack of children made for a very relaxed environment.
The view of the Monterey Bay from the aquarium is just as amazing as everything you’d see inside with a few added bonuses. You can easily spot seals, turtles, and other marine wildlife with the provided (and free) telescopes located all around the observation deck. If you look closely at the last image blow you might notice something familiar. Not ringing a bell yet? Well the Monterey Bay Aquarium was where they shot portions of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and this is where they kept two Humpback Whales. You can watch a short clip from the making of the movie at the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
I definitely want to go back to the aquarium when it’s not as busy, perhaps even write up a much more in depth article, but I don’t know when that may happen. Until then I’ll probably just watch the live webcams while I’m working.