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Visitor FAQs

Do you offer any discounts?

View our Special Offers for a complete list of our partner promotions with discounted admission. We don't offer any deals or coupons beyond those listed on our Special Offers page.

What if I already have tickets?

Prepaid and complimentary ticket holders may enter at the Main Entrance and will be directed to the Advance Tickets line.

How long does it take to see the Aquarium?

An average visit to the Aquarium lasts two to three hours, but you can easily spend the whole day here and still have more to see! Be sure to check our Animals & Exhibits webpages before you come to preview some of the highlights.

When is the best time to avoid crowds?

Our less-visited times are in the fall and winter months other than during holidays. At other times of the year, you'll find fewer visitors between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the peak summer months, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to visit.

What's the weather like in Monterey?

The coastal areas of Monterey County usually enjoy temperatures averaging 57 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It's a good idea to dress in layers as temperature and wind conditions may vary throughout the day and it can get cool, even during the summer.

Is the Aquarium accessible for people with disabilities?

The Aquarium strives to be fully accessible to all. Wheelchairs are available free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis at the Information Desk inside the Main Entrance. Learn more about our accessibility options

Do you allow pets inside the Aquarium?

Only trained service animals are permitted in the Aquarium. Pet-sitting services are available in the Monterey area. Call the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 831.657.6400 for recommendations.

Please refer to our Aquarium Behavior Guidelines for more information.

Do you provide information in languages other than English?

Visitor information cards are available at the Information Desk in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. Many staff and volunteers speak other languages. Look for special nametags that indicate what languages they speak.

Is there a place to store my belongings?

There are small lockers for personal use located on Hovden Way, just past the Member Entrance. They only accept credit cards and can be rented for five dollars a day.

Do you have a "lost and found"?

Yes, at the Information Desk. If your item has been found, Security will return it to you. You can also submit a lost and found report online.

Is there Wi-Fi?

Wireless internet is available at the Aquarium free of charge. You can browse the internet with your Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones, tablets and other devices. For more information, please visit the Information Desk.

Can I take pictures and video?

During your visit, you're welcome to take photos and video for your personal use only. Commercial photography is allowed only with prior written permission from our Public Relations Department. For your safety and the safety of other visitors, we prohibit the use of tripods and monopods in the Aquarium.

Please turn off your flash when taking photographs inside the Aquarium. You'll get better photos without your flash—and our animals and other visitors will thank you! You'll find professional photo postcards of many of our animals in our gift and bookstores, and on the Wallpaper page on our website. For more ideas, visit our photo tips page.

Can I bring a stroller?

Strollers are permitted throughout the Aquarium, except in our aviary and on the mezzanine of our sea otter exhibit. We ask that you be considerate of other visitors as they're navigating dark galleries to see the exhibits.

Can I bring in a bag or backpack?

For the safety of our visitors and the marine life we exhibit, all bags, backpacks and packages may be inspected before entering the Aquarium. During peak seasons, holidays and weekends, you may experience a brief wait to allow for security screenings.

Please refer to our Aquarium Behavior Guidelines for more information.

No Weapons Policy

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has established — and strictly enforces — a No Weapons of Any Kind policy to ensure an enjoyable experience for all our guests and to reduce any potential risks to your safety. Weapons include (but are not limited to) firearms (including toys and replicas), chemical or electronic "non-lethal" devices or sprays, impact weapons, knives or other sharp instruments. Signage on Aquarium property states weapons of any kind are not are permitted. Visitors are prohibited from carrying firearms — concealed or not, and regardless of whether the owner holds a permit.

Please refer to our Aquarium Behavior Guidelines for more information.

No Smoking Policy

For the health and safety of our guests and animals, smoking is prohibited anywhere on Aquarium property, including outdoor areas.

Please refer to our Aquarium Behavior Guidelines for more information.

Where can I buy film, batteries, aspirin, etc.?

The Gift & Bookstore carries disposable cameras, aspirin, AA and AAA batteries, along with a full selection of merchandise including natural history books, Aquarium logo clothing, educational toys and much more. You can reach our merchandising staff by phone at 877.665.2665 toll-free in the U.S. or via email. Other personal items may be purchased nearby at CVS.

Where can we eat our picnic lunch?

The Aquarium provides an onsite picnic area reserved for visiting school groups. Please note that no food or drink may be consumed inside the Aquarium, and seating is reserved for patrons of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant and Cafe. There are a number of great picnic sites within walking distance from the Aquarium, including Lovers Point, Berwick Park and San Carlos Beach.

Please refer to our Aquarium Behavior Guidelines for more information.

How many people visit the Aquarium?

We have an average of 1.8 million visitors each year, with 2.1 million visitors in 2015. The total number of visitors since opening has been 59,931,209 through 2016.

Who owns the Aquarium?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation owns and operates the Aquarium. It's a public nonprofit organization, established by David and Lucile Packard in 1978.

How many employees and volunteers does the Aquarium have?

There are approximately 600 paid staff and more than 1,200 volunteers. Our volunteers do everything from guiding school children through our exhibits to feeding the animals in our Kelp Forest. To learn more, visit our Jobs and Volunteer pages.

Who pays for the operation of the Aquarium? Does it receive government support?

The Aquarium is almost entirely self-supporting. The annual budget is met with income from admission fees, our membership program, business sponsorships, grants from individuals and businesses, evening events, the Gift & Bookstore, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant and Cafe. We receive occasional government grants for specific projects and programs.