Next, our road trip brought us to the absolutely gorgeous coastal town of Monterey California. The weather was beautiful the day were there and exploring the town was so much fun.
Our first stop was to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I love aquariums and I knew I wanted to go to one somewhere along our road trip. I had heard that the one in Monterey is one of the best in the country, so I decided to check it out. It didn’t disappoint.
The price is a little steep at $50 per person, but the aquarium is large and there are plenty of exhibits to see. There are penguins and sea otters and sea birds that are absolutely adorable. There are dozens of different types of octopus and jellyfish in various brilliant colors. There are sharks and eels just about every type of fish you could ever find in the ocean.
They do different programs throughout the day where they talk about certain animals while you watch them getting fed. There are also touch pools, where you can get a hand on feel for certain sea critters and there is an outdoor area in the actual ocean where you can go snorkeling and learn about the sea animals that live in the Monterey Bay.
It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you have kids. The admission is good for the entire day so you can leave and come back as many times as you want to in that day. We spent about three hours there and were able to see all of the exhibits, but we didn’t watch any of the programs, which I wish we would have.
The aquarium is at one end of Cannery Row. We parked in the parking lot that was closest to the Aquarium, which cost us $10 for the entire day. That’s not bad at all. We strolled down Cannery Row looking at all of the old Canning building that are now gift shops and restaurants.
There is a pedestrian and biker only pathway that goes along pretty much the entire Bay. It was absolutely beautiful weather so we decided to walk to the other side of town on this path to check out Fisherman’s Wharf and the Historic Park. There is a free shuttle that goes back and forth across town though, if the walk is a bit too long for anyone in your group.
Fisherman’s Wharf is your typical tourist pier, with lots of gift shops and restaurants. There are a few different companies offering whale watching and glass bottom boat tours as well as sailing and fishing expeditions. There were performers and artists set up along the pier performing and selling their work. There’s even a guy who will let you take a picture holding his birds. It was a nice place to people watch and window shop.
Directly across from the entry to the pier is a cluster of buildings that make up the Monterey State Historic Park. These building were built in the early 1800’s and are the oldest buildings in Monterey and some of the oldest in the United States. Many of them are open to the public and have been turned into museums that are full of great history. The main building is the Pacific House Museum and Memory Garden. There are a lot of interesting displays inside and you can pick up a copy of the self guided walking tour of the historic district.
We took our pamphlet and headed out on our journey. Most of the buildings on the tour are made from adobe and have a very Spanish style to them. Many of the homes have beautiful gardens enclosed by stone walls that you can sit in and enjoy the flowers and birds. The tour also includes the old whaling station, the first theater, the first house made from bricks, and the original courthouse and jail. Walking around these building was like stepping back in time. They are beautifully maintained and the history of them is fascinating.
We walked back to the car on the bay pathway and stopped to enjoy the boats in the marina for a few minutes.I fell in love with Monterey. If I ever get rich I think that’s where I’ll move. I don’t know how likely that is, but I hope to at least visit again someday.
Have you ever been to Monterey? What were your favorite parts of town?