Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
Monterey , California
Tel: 831 648 4800
Concierge.com's insider take:
This aquarium is one of the best in the world, and the top reason to visit touristy downtown Monterey. Press your nose against the glass of a million-gallon tank,the world's largest,for a window into the sea life that dwells in the bay, including hammerhead sharks and translucent jellyfish. You can also watch otters performing their daily ablutions and see divers feeding swarms of hungry fish in the giant kelp forest tank (daily at 11:30 am and 4 pm). Other exhibits and events cover everything from tide pools to cooking demonstrations. Kids get their own special activities and educational programs, with penguins and touch tanks and patient staff members to keep things entertaining. Education is a big deal at the aquarium. Pick up a copy of the Seafood Watch: Sustainable Seafood Choices brochure, which tells you which edible fish are endangered. To avoid having to wait in long lines to enter, particularly on weekends and in the summer, book tickets ahead of time, by phone or online (some hotels also sell tickets). If you prefer the swishing of fins to the patter of thousands of little feet, call ahead to ask about adult-only visiting hours.
Open daily 10 am to 6 pm.