Explore Our History
Julie Packard works with an early model of the Aquarium in 1979. Hovden Cannery is in the background.
Ed Ricketts collecting tide pool specimens near Carmel.
The Vision Grows
November 1977Plans begin to take shape for a world-class aquarium showcasing the unique marine environment of Monterey Bay. The idea of displaying the region's marine communities rather than individual species is influenced by Edward F. Ricketts, the marine biologist and friend of author John Steinbeck. (Steinbeck famously modeled the character, "Doc," after Ricketts in his novel, Cannery Row.) Pacific Biological Laboratories, Ricketts' home as well as his place of work, was right next to the Hovden Cannery.
Ed Ricketts (18981948): An Ecologist before his TimeSlight and wiry, Ed Ricketts carefully studied tide pool life around Monterey Bay. Most biologists of Ed's time were interested in learning about and classifying plants and animals, rather than learning about their interactions or ecology. Ed called that "scientific stamp collecting."
Through his lab, Ed Ricketts supplied local tide pool plants and animals to classrooms around the world. The preserved laboratory, at 800 Cannery Row, is now owned by the City of Monterey.
In 1939, Ricketts published an elegantly written textbook called Between Pacific Tides. Now a classic, it's been updated four times by noted marine biologists and remains one of Stanford University Press's most successful books.