April 4, 2012

Sea Otters, Jellies and Seahorses

What, you might ask, do the above items have in common?  It’s simple really. Those three, and puffins, were my favorite exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where we spent the afternoon.  What can I say?  I’m a sucker not just for “cute” animals, but also for “elegant” ones.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the great aquariums in the United States, and it was packed today.  It is housed in a former sardine cannery on historic Cannery Row in Monterey, California, and that part of its history is also interpreted in the facility.  But the main draw, of course, is the marine life.

Kelp Forest
Fish in the Forest
Sand Dollars

Sea Anemones
Some people come to see the sharks and large ocean fish, but I wanted to watch the sea otters.  Play, eat, nap, repeat.  According to the folks at the aquarium, that’s the life of a sea otter.  These cute little creatures inspired “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd that watched their every move.  It was hard to take my eyes off the little pup that had recently been rescued and was paired with Joy, one of the adult female otters.  I’m sure she’ll show him the ropes.

The Sea Otters
The puffins, with their distinct orange beaks, also elicited their share of admiring comments.  Who knew that there are so many different kinds of puffins out there.

The Puffins
As cute as these two species were, my favorite exhibit was the new one, “The Jellies Experience,” a psychedelic world where jellies dance, glow, bloom and sting.  These have to be some of the most graceful and elegant creatures in the sea, and we saw species that we had never seen before.  How beautiful they were.  The design of the exhibit itself was a lot of fun with its retro theme.  It even ended with a quote from Jimi Hendrix, “You have to give people something to dream on.”  How true.

Amazing Jellies
Spotted Jellies
We ended our visit with the exhibit “The Secret Life of Seahorses.”  Here again we gawked at varieties of these animals that we never knew existed.  Weedy sea dragons and leafy sea dragons were just two of the most unusual ones.  We also learned that it is male seahorses that get pregnant, give birth and care for the young.  That’s a first.

Weedy Sea Dragon
Leafy Sea Dragon
Seahorses Like to Hide
We had such a fun time at the aquarium, and we acted like kids for a while.  It was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

The Aquarium's Backyard


  1. What an amazing place! When I die, I think I want to come back as one of their sea otters. :-) LV

    1. LV, Hey, that's a great idea. They seem to be enjoying quite a nice life. Sarah

  2. What a great experience. I like the sea horses best. The otters are very cute. Glad you got to go there. This is spring break for a lot of kids so you have a few more days of the crowds . Love A

    1. A, The sea otters weere adorable, but the seahorses were also pretty cool. From what I've been told, we may have even another week of spring break. Some kids are off next week. I'm trying to practice patience! Sarah

  3. Wonderful pictures! If I can do patience so can you!

    1. Jane, Thanks. Ah yes, patience. I'm working on it! Sarah