monterey bay aquarium sea anemone
Cannery Row
Monterey Bay Aquarium - The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a "must do" with kids, and is a wonderful way to experience the amazing marine life of Monterey Bay. Once you step inside, you'll be wowed by a giant kelp forest, gently swaying back and forth amidst schools of shimmering fish and sharks in a huge indoor tank.
Zip over to a wonderful exhibit "Tentacles" with giant Pacific octopus, bigfin reef squids, cuttlefish, chambered nautilus, flapjack octopus, wunderpus, and more!
At the Touch Pools, feel silky bat rays, pink sea stars, and nubby sea cucumbers. The "Jellies" exhibit is the best we've seen, with different kinds of moon, umbrella, sea nettle, upside down, crystal, and blubber jellies. Little kids can climb through a coral reef, explore a kelp maze, sit on a giant blue clam, pretend to be a whale or dolphin (put on fins and flippers), or play with waves in a tidepool. The whole family will love the sea otters; check the schedule for feedings daily.
All exhibits are in English and Spanish. The cafe and restaurant on site has a children's menu. Allow plenty of time to enjoy this fabulous aquarium (don't be in a rush).
Tip: Buy your tickets in advance online.
Sea kayaking - If you want to get close to the sea otters in the kelp beds, rent a sea kayak. When you spot a sea otter snoozing away, a translucent jelly fish floating through the clear water, or a cormorant fishing for its dinner, rest your paddles and just look.
Even if you've never kayaked before, it's easy to get the hang of it. A double kayak is perfect for an adult and one child (life jackets are available in kid's sizes). Kids need to be 7 and up. Rent Kayaks at Adventures by the Sea, this location is closest to the kelp beds.
Rent bikes or surreys - Last time we visited Monterey we rented a surrey (seats four) and had lots of fun pedaling on the bike path up to Lover's Point (spectacular scenery on this section of the trail), and then back down to Old Fisherman's Wharf.
Bike rentals, with kids' bikes and helmets, are also available. Fun for everyone in the family, bigger kids can bike to Pacific Grove and around Sunset Drive in record time.
Beaches - Around the bay there are several sandy beaches and places to poke around the rocks. McAbee Beach is a small stretch of sand, just a few doors down from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. San Carlos Beach Park has a grassy area, picnic tables and benches, a curved sandy beach and rocks to explore.