By far and away one of our favorite, favorite, favorite spots to go for a little staycation is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Bay Area but always gets the “2 thumbs up” from our little man. Our general itinerary looks like this (yes, we go that frequently):
9:00 Depart San Francisco
10:30 Arrive at the Intercontinental, check in and buy tickets for the Aquarium (they are 2 days for the price of 1).
11:00 Walk over to the Aquarium which is a block away
12:30 Meander over to El Torito for some great sea otter and dolphin sightings while dining
2:45 Head Back to the Aquarium to see various animal feedings at 3
4:00 Let the smell of Nestle Toll House guide us across the street for some warm cookies and milk
It was founded in 1984 by four marine biologists and gift funding from David & Lucile Packard, and based in the former Hovden Sardine Cannery, The Aquarium’s goals are to educate people on the marine-world that makes up Monterey Bay and beyond through the use of state-of-the-art aquariums, displays, interactive exhibits, and presentations. There is a huge emphasis on everything being done tastefully, humanely and educating in a manner that everyone can understand. Some of the exhibits thatwe love are the sea otters, penguins, sea horses, jellyfish and the feeding of the kelp forest.
Depending on the nature of our trip, we generally stop at the Aquarium for a couple more hours the next morning before heading back home. While, we generally center our trip around going to the Aquarium several times per trip; it is nice to make a pit stop with the whole family in Carmel or Pebble Beach.
Family Travel Tips:
1. Buy Aquarium tickets at the Intercontinental: 2 days for the price of 1 or purchase them ahead of time at AAA or at the Intercontinental Hotel
2. Check out the Gilroy Premium Outlets on your to or from the Bay Area…one of favorite outlet stops is Lululemon 🙂
3. Snag a window seat at El Torito and one is sure to see sea otter cracking clams on their chests, whales and pelicans galore
4. Check Travelzoo for great hotel deals on the Intercontinental or Portola Hotel and Spa