Hanging with the animals in Monterey Bay, California

monterey jellyfish 3


We spent the day in Monterey Bay yesterday. Their tourism tag line is “Grab life by the Moments” and it was definitely a day full of moments. We started at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and then spent time on the Monterey Coastal bike trail and on the Coast Guard Pier.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is impressive – right from the time you spend on their website through to the actual experiences you have. They have created an app that you can download and it allowed Hunter to plan out our visit the night before, picking what feeding experiences he wanted to see and which exhibits he wanted to visit. That made it so easy to make the most of our visit and ensure there were no disappointments or missed moments.

Some favourite experiences were:

  • Penguin Feeding
  • Sea Otter Feeding (and Sea Otters in general)
  • Open Sea Feeding
  • Kelp Forest Feeding
  • Touch tanks with the star fish

The feedings were great – the staff were so informative and engaging and the Open Sea Feeding was eye opening with respect to how they manage to feed 4 distinct groups of sea animals (slower ocean sunfish, fast moving blue & yellowfin tuna & mahi maui, school of sardines and a group of hammerhead sharks) without any carnage.

monterey trail hunter

After our 4 hours in the aquarium we were ready to do some more exploring. We hopped on our bikes and road south down the Monterey Bay trail system to explore the Pacific Grove shoreline. Lots of crashing waves and rock outcrops. On our way back to the truck we detoured down to the Coast Guard pier and it was an unexpected treasure…

  • Coast Guard boats
  • Fire department boats
  • Police boats
  • 2 dive shops for Tim
  • a shoreline full of sea lions and seals at play

On our way home we stopped at a California Farm Stand and enjoyed the low prices and fresh produce as we loaded up for dinner!

monterey farm stand hunter

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  1. Boy do I miss this area. We were there last year and really enjoyed it. In fact, Monterrey was by far my favorite part of California. We also went to the aquarium and had a blast. I would recommend driving south on the Pacific Coast Highway and experiencing Big Sur and hitting Pfeiffer Beach. Phenomenal! We were a full time RV family for about 18 months and this area was one of highlights. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

    1. Hi Chad – thanks for your comment! It’s great to hear from other families that are living on the road. I enjoyed reading your blog and the opportunity to learn about what is working for your family…

  2. Monterey Bay is such a beautiful place…we were able to spend a month there and it was not nearly long enough! If ya’ll are still in the area, you should check out the thousands of monarch butterflies that winter in Pacific Grove. They are in a lovely little park and it’s totally free to see them, always nice :).

    Happy travels :)!

    1. Hi Melonie – thanks for your comment. I would LOVE to spend a month in this area! There seem to be so many amazing things to see and do. What were your top 3 from your time there?

      1. It’s hard to pick just 3 :)! You’ve already mentioned the aquarium, CG pier, all the excellent farm stands, and the bike trail…so I’ll skip those.

        Hm…ok, number 1 for us was probably treasure hunting on the beach there in Monterey. We found lots of sea glass and often saw whales swimming off shore (usually just their puffs of mist, but a couple times they jumped up and we got a better look at them).

        Number 2 was probably Point Lobos. We spent one of the best days of our trip there…it was so beautiful and there are some really nice trails to walk.

        Number 3 would have to be the tide pools at Point Pinos. We spent many late afternoons out there climbing around on the rocks and then watching the sunset.

        As a bonus, all of these activities are free (even Point Lobos if you walk in) and great for kids…I did all of this just me and 5 kiddos ages 7-12.

        Sorry for the LONG reply…Monterey really is the kind of place that pretty much every corner holds something new to discover and enjoy. Have fun :)!!!

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