Comb jellies are living rainbows. As they move through the water, rows of cilia defract the light and produce a beautiful, shimmering effect. Our innovative aquarists cracked the code to successfully raise these delicate beauties behind the scenes, and now you can see several species on display in our Open Sea exhibit.
Fresh feathers for spring! The red phalarope and several other shorebirds in our Aviary have traded dull, drab winter hues for brighter, richer colors. It's the start of breeding season, and species like the black-bellied plover, American avocet and red knot are also strutting their stuff. Our knowledgeable volunteers inside this peaceful place can point out who's in bloom.
Did that algae just wink? If you spot a bit of seaweed with eyes and fins in our Splash Zone exhibit, you've found one of our new ribboned pipehorses! With its plant-like projections, this fish is often confused for one of its cousins, the weedy or leafy sea dragon. And like another cousin, the seahorse, it has a prehensile tail it uses to attach itself to sea grasses or corals. But despite the family resemblance, the ribboned pipehorse (Haliichthys taeniophorus) is its very own species.
A new school of synchronized swimmers! We recently added 5,000 Pacific sardines to our Open Sea exhibit. Schooling is a survival strategy for these small, silvery fish. When predators come near, it's hard to pick out a single fish among the school's darting movements and reflective scales. Watch in wonder as the sardines swirl through this million-gallon exhibit!
A one-of-a-kind returns! The Moorish idol is back on display in our ¡Viva Baja! special exhibition. This fish, Zanclus cornutus, is the one and only member of the family Zanclidae. It ranges from the Indo-Pacific to the Gulf of California and can be found near reefs and the seafloor. You may recognize it as the character Gill from Finding Dory.
Spot those spouts! Be sure to visit the Wildlife Viewing Station on our back deck, where our naturalists will point out what the birds and other ocean wildlife are up to. If you're lucky, you might see a gray whale migrating through Monterey Bay. Each year, this baleen whale treks 10,000 miles between Baja's breeding lagoons and the food-rich waters of the Bering Sea.
Happy hatchday, Makana! Makana—named after the Hawaiian word for "gift"—is one of only two Laysan albatrosses at an accredited zoo or aquarium in the United States. She can't fly or survive on her own because of a permanent wing injury. Makana has been with us since 2006 and is a great ambassador for her kin in the wild and the deadly threats they face from ocean plastic pollution. To see Makana for yourself, check our Daily Shows & Feedings for the Albatross Encounter!
Dive into our Kelp Forest feeding show! Twice a day our divers jump into this iconic exhibit to feed all the fishes—including fan favorites like the leopard shark and giant sea bass. Hand-feeding helps us ensure everyone gets enough sustainable seafood to eat, and check up on their overall health. It's also a great chance for you to get to know the many different species that make up this diverse underwater community.
Snack time for the sea gooseberry! This graceful jelly lets its tentacles trail in the current to catch bits of plankton drifting past. Then it elegantly spins and brings its tentacles in, passing the food to its pulsing combs, which then ferry the morsel to the jelly's mouth. It's a mesmerizing mealtime ballet you can see for yourself in our Open Sea exhibit.
The giant clam returns! This rare beauty recently spent some time behind the scenes while we created several new coral community displays in our Splash Zone exhibit. The giant clam is the largest clam species in the world and can weigh as much as 440 pounds, grow up to four feet, and live to be 100 years old or more. Be sure to stop by and welcome it back—and check out the colorful new corals while you're there!