We rate the Monterey Bay Aquarium 5 out of 5. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, more than 35,000 strange and colorful ocean creatures live inside a former cannery. Where sardines once went into cans, over a thousand employees and volunteers now tenderly care for the marine life so Monterey Bay Aquarium visitors can see them and learn more about the ocean and its riches.Among the aquarium’s numerous exhibits, two are of particular note. The centerpiece of the Ocean’s Edge wing is a 33-foot (10-m) high tank for viewing California coastal marine life Holidays Planer. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp using a wave machine at the top of the tank allowing sunlight in through the open tank top, and pumping in raw seawater.The second exhibit of note is a one million gallon tank in the Outer Bay Wing which features one of the world’s largest single-paned windows (crafted by a Japanese company, the window is actually four panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process).The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a close relationship with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).
History of Monterey Bay Aquarium
The aquarium occupies land at the end of Cannery Row (once Ocean View Avenue) in Monterey, at the site of the Hovden Cannery, a sardine cannery that helped to define the character of Monterey from the time it was built in 1916, to the day when it was the last cannery on the Row to close in 1973, after sardine fishing collapsed. This building was dismantled in 1980, but beginning in 2002 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has blown the original Hovden cannery steam whistle at noon each day to commemorate it.The aquarium’s original building was designed by the architectural firm Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis and opened on 20 October 1984. The aquarium’s mission is “to inspire conservation of the oceans.” The aquarium’s initial financial backing was provided by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Packard, an avid blacksmith, personally designed and created several exhibit elements for the aquarium at his forge in Big Sur, including the wave machines in the Kelp Forest and aviary. His daughter, the marine biologist Julie Packard, is currently Executive Director of the aquarium.The aquarium was built in honor of the work of Edward Ricketts (1897-1948), a marine biologist who specialized in describing communities of organisms (which would also be the focus of aquarium tanks), and whose old laboratory (Pacific Biological Laboratories) and home resides next to the present MBA site. Ricketts, whose life was an inspiration for the eventual building of the aquarium, is famous as the “Doc” of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday. The aquarium itself contains a display of Ricketts’s items, including some of his personal library. The shop also sells a variety of Steinbeck books.
Basic design of Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium is a Beautiful Place For Vacations.The basic design of the aquarium pumps 2000 gallons per minute of Monterey Bay ocean water, night and day, through the more than 100 exhibit tanks. During the day the water is filtered for viewing clarity. During the night, raw (unfiltered) seawater is pumped through exhibits, bringing in food in the form of plankton. Waste ocean water from the aquarium is returned to the Bay. This design makes the aquarium ecologically essentially part of the ocean in the Bay, and allows the culture of organisms such as Giant Kelp which are not suitable for ordinary saltwater aquariums.The acrylic plastic (the same plastic as Plexiglas and Lucite) that makes the various tank walls ranges from 3 to 13 inches in thickness, enabling them to resist the pressure and high total force of the water behind them.
Funding and Staffing
The Monterey Bay Aquarium was endowed initially with a personal gift from David and Lucile Packard, with the vision that the aquarium would be self-supporting after it opened. Initial construction cost was $55 million dollars. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, other foundations and individuals support some programs of the aquarium. Operating costs are largely covered by visitor admission, as well as by special events and membership dues. No government money is involved, with the exception of an occasional federal grant given to visiting scientists, for study. The aquarium is organized into three institutions: Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, the Support Services, which manages some aquarium-owned property, and the independent Research Institute, which operates three ocean-going research vessels.The MBA has about 420 employees and 1270 volunteers.