MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM: Explore the wonders of our ocean planet in nearly 200 galleries and exhibits at one of the world’s finest aquariums. Highlights include one of the largest jellyfish collections anywhere, a two-story exhibit of playful sea otters, a towering three-story kelp forest, a million-gallon Open Sea exhibit with sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, tunas and more; a walk-through wave crash tunnel; and the award-winning Splash Zone family galleries with tropical corals and fishes, penguins, and other engaging animals and activities. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org for an exciting preview of aquarium exhibits and programs.
SEA OTTERS RETURN MARCH 23: The aquarium’s beloved sea otters return in spring 2013. Visitors can watch and learn more about these popular marine mammals via new video monitors and signage, and other hands-on features. Daily public feeding and training sessions return as well. An Otter Spotting Station on the aquarium’s Great Tide Pool deck offers helpful interpretive guides and use of high-powered telescopes to spot wild otters offshore.
INTRODUCING ‘CINDY’S WATERFRONT’ RESTAURANT AND A REDESIGNED CAFE – SPRING 2013: The aquarium’s restaurant has a new name, a new look and a fantastic new menu from its culinary partner, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn. Pawlcyn and resident Executive Chef Jeff Rogers have crafted a new menu with changing seasonal specials for the full-service restaurant and self-serve cafe. The menu follows Seafood Watch guidelines, and draw on many local producers for seasonal, sustainable and organic produce, dairy and proteins.
“COOKING FOR SOLUTIONS 2013”: Renowned chefs from across North America and around the world share their passion for fine dining and environmentally sustainable living at the aquarium’s 12th annual “Cooking for Solutions 2013” celebration, May 17-19. The 2013 event honors celebrity chef, TV host and food activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as Educator of the Year, and features sustainable gourmet cuisine at a Friday food and wine evening gala. The weekend is packed with events, including two days of special presentations and cooking demonstrations from Carla Hall, Cindy Pawlcyn, Robert Irvine and Nathan Lyon. The delicious three-day event is a tour de force for food aficionados. Reservations and ticket sales begin February 11; January 28 for aquarium members. Details and tickets: 866-963-9645 or online at www.cookingforsolutions.org.
“THE JELLIES EXPERIENCE” SPECIAL EXHIBITION: The magical world of jellies – graceful, dancing drifters that pulse and glow, flash colorful lights and often pack a powerful sting is alive in all its psychedelic glory with “The Jellies Experience.” It features 16 species from around the world: from crystalline comb jellies that pulse like living rainbows to improbable flower-hat jellies with magenta and chartreuse highlights on transparent, pin-striped bodies; from elegant Japanese sea nettles to upside-down jellies; from a room that immerses visitors in a living moon jelly swarm, to exhibits of fluorescent jellies and Day-Glo corals. Ongoing. Included with aquarium admission.
LAST CHANCE TO SEE “THE SECRET LIVES OF SEAHORSES” SPECIAL EXHIBITION: Commune with one of the ocean’s most fascinating animals before “The Secret Lives of Seahorses” closes September 3, 2013. Featuring more than 15 species of seahorses, sea dragons, pipehorses and pipefish, the multimedia exhibition reveals the private lives of these elusive animals and the stunning – but fragile – habitats they call home. Included with aquarium admission.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS (through April 21): Shark Days (February 23 & 24), a chance to learn more about these amazing animals and what it takes to care for them. Dia del Niño (April 21) celebrates children and families with live music, prize drawings and Latin-American musical performances throughout the aquarium; children 12 and under admitted free all day. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org for more information.
AUDITORIUM PROGRAMS AND TOURS: Live presenter-led programs with HD video in the aquarium’s 250-seat auditorium; included with admission. Watch the Sea Otter Research and Conservation program in action with a new 15-minute program, “Luna: A Sea Otter’s Story,” which follows a sea otter’s journey from rescue to release. Learn about lives of great white sharks in Project White Shark, get acquainted with jellies, explore the deep sea canyon in Monterey Bay and find out how humpback whales have inspired windmill design! Check daily schedule for program times. New Jellies Tours: meet the jelly “farmers” who maintain one of the world’s largest galleries of jelly exhibits and journey through the labs. $12 per person, plus aquarium admission; $10 per person for aquarium members.
ADMISSION: All exhibits included with aquarium admission – $34.95 adult; $31.95 senior (over 65) and student (full-time college, with I.D.); $21.95 children and the disabled; under 3 free (2013 prices; rates subject to change). Located at 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California. The aquarium is open daily except Christmas Day. Hours of operation vary by season. Visitwww.montereybayaquarium.org or call (831) 648-4800 for daily schedules, pricing and information. Advance tickets: online atwww.montereybayaquarium.org or by phone, 866-963-9645. Discounted tickets for members of the military and their families can be purchased in advance at many California and Nevada installations.