Out to sea and on the go—life's in constant motion in the open ocean. Welcome to the Aquarium's largest exhibit, a place where tuna and sharks speed past, sardines swarm in huge, glittering schools, and sea turtles swim lazily across the 90-foot window. Nearby, colorful puffins await their next meal, and brilliant jellies pulse through the water.
11 a.m. PST
See open-ocean animals, from sharks to tunas.
Sea turtles travel far, riding currents across the ocean. Females return to the same beach each year, using magnetic clues as a map, and lay close to 100 eggs each. She then buries them under a sandy blanket and returns to the sea.
Its bright colors have earned the tufted puffin the nickname, "parrot of the sea," but this beautiful bird is at home on land as well. In early spring, its beak and feet turn a vibrant orange in preparation for breeding season.
Bluefin tuna are some of the largest and fastest fish in the ocean—they're powerful swimmers, built for endurance and speed. To help conserve energy on their long-distance journeys, tuna's bodies are almost perfectly streamlined, reducing drag around their fins.
Ocean sunfish, or molas, look like the invention of a mad scientist. Huge and flat, these silvery-gray fish have tiny mouths and big eyes that vanish into an even bigger body with a truncated tail. They can weigh up to 5,000 pounds!
With that wide, thick head shaped like a double-headed hammer, it's easy to identify a hammerhead shark. The shark's eyes and nostrils are located at the extreme ends of its head, which may give it added lift and let it make sharper turns than other sharks.
These alien-looking creatures are named for their translucent, moonlike circular bells. Instead of long, trailing tentacles, moon jellies have a short, fine fringe (cilia) that sweeps in food, where it’s stored in pouches until the oral arms pick it up and digest it.
More Open Sea Animals
Open Sea Cool Facts
- Puffins know how to pack: they often carry 10 fish in their mouths, but have been known to hold more than 60!
- Anchovies frequently seem to be "yawning"—that's how you know it's mealtime. They're opening wide, straining tiny plant and animal plankton from the water.
- Ocean sunfish hatch from tiny eggs but grow to weigh more than a pickup truck, increasing in size 60 million times along the way. Topping out around 5,000 pounds, molas are the world's heaviest bony fish.
- Sea turtles rid themselves of excess salt through a salt gland near each eye, making them appear to be crying.