28 March 2017 – Monterey, CA
After a long morning of work and home school, we headed south for Monterey. Ever since I read John Steinbeck many years ago, this area has always held a special place in my imagination. Driving by Gilroy and smelling the garlic, through Salinas thinking of Mice and Men, walking down Cannery Row past Doc Rickett’s laboratory, and the lasting impact the Dust Bowl and Steinbeck’s description in the Grapes of Wrath left on the area.
In our visit last year we didn’t make time for the aquarium and this time we went specifically to visit the aquarium. While expensive, the aquarium is amazing and deserves its title as the best in the world. The aquarium itself is situated in an old cannery and is a unique juxtaposition between the over-fishing which doomed the canneries and a world-class ocean conservation organization. Not only is the aquarium itself spectacular, but enjoying the bevy of balconies perched off the pier on which the aquarium sits offers views into the bay itself, and it’s effortless to watch otters play in the water and the surf buffeting anemone-covered rocks.
During our two and a half hours we spent most of our time at the touch pools and enjoying the colossal and breathtaking open ocean and kelp forest tanks. The jellyfish were also a big hit – especially the moon jelly which were displaying krill in various degrees of digestion, the evidence of a recent meal.
After the aquarium, we headed to dinner at the Hula’s Island Grill – a great place with good drinks and happy hour all day Tuesdays! Sherrie enjoyed her Blue Hawaii and I had a Mai Tai while we all enjoyed coconut shrimp rolls, jalapeño bacon mac & cheese, and house-made french fries (with 5 cups of ketchup for the kids).