Visitor enjoying the new Soaring with Seabirds exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

What's New

Come Explore the Incredible Lives of Seabirds

Visitor enjoying the new Soaring with Seabirds exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Have fun Soaring with Seabirds in a new exhibit designed for families with young children. The successor to Flippers, Flukes and Fun features educational, interactive and engaging opportunities to learn about these remarkable birds.

The newest addition to our Open Sea wing explores how these birds are uniquely adapted to life at sea, but still must return to land to hatch and raise their chicks. Through exploration and play, children will learn how seabirds thrive in conditions in which most birds could not survive.

A flock of 75 stylized birds circles the ocean-view exhibit from above and guides visitors into the first of three themed areas: Meet the Seabirds. Guests of all ages become acquainted with eight types of seabirds they might see in Monterey Bay—gulls, terns, pelicans, albatross, murres, guillemots, cormorants and puffins.

In the next area, Life at Sea, an interactive video lets you experience what it's like to glide like an albatross or flap like a guillemot. Another interactive display explores different feeding strategies of pelicans (diving), puffins (pursuit diving) and gulls (dabbling).
The main feature of the last area, Life on Land, is a 28-foot-long wall focused on seabird family life. Dynamic displays highlight the incredible nesting and brooding adaptations of murres, puffins, cormorants and guillemots—from eggs that roll in circles to keeping flightless fledglings safe.
An interactive display lets kids discover how much work it takes to feed tern chicks, and a large crawl-in egg features a cacophony of recorded bird sounds that adds to the crowded seabird colony experience.
"Soaring with Seabirds is about helping people develop a fondness for the birds of the greater Monterey Bay," says Senior Exhibit Designer Bart Hays. "Through exploration and play, we hope visitors will gain an appreciation for these amazing animals."

We Celebrate a Makana-versary

Our lovely Laysan albatross—the only one of her kind at any zoo or aquarium in North America—is our most visible (and vocal) animal ambassador. She raises awareness about the threats facing seabirds and other marine life from ocean plastic pollution.

Here's a list of her most notable accomplishments:

  • She hosts her own daily public program at the Kelp Forest.
  • She's appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
  • Her picture was featured in Audubon magazine.
  • She stars in our own podcasts and videos.
  • She helps us inspire people to support legislation that protects marine life, such as California's recent plastic bag ban.

Makana—named after the Hawaiian word for "gift"—came to us as a nine-month-old chick with a permanent wing injury, and has been a joy for us ever since.

Curator of Aviculture Aimee Greenebaum counts herself lucky to have worked with Makana from the beginning. "Albatross had not really been kept successfully in zoos and aquariums, so we had to figure a lot of things out as we went," she says. "It's been fun watching her learn and seeing the changes in her personality from a young bird, through the awkward 'teenage' years and now as an adult."
Aimee says Makana's story, as well as her beauty and grace, motivates visitors to make changes in their personal lives, such as refusing disposable plastic straws and single-use water bottles. "Makana gives us a way to take a depressing topic like ocean plastic pollution and turn it into an interesting story that leaves people feeling hopeful and inspired," she says.
You can meet Makana in person most days at 1:30 p.m. by the Kelp Forest during our "Albatross Encounter" program. Stop by and say "Aloha," and thank her for all she's done and continues to do for ocean conservation.

New Nursing Lounge

Moms, be sure to visit our new lounge next to Soaring with Seabirds. Inside are comfy seats where moms can nurse in private and put up their feet while surrounded by soothing music and video. We also stocked the room with picture books to keep your other little ones engaged.