Do you and the kids love STEM with a little art in the mix to make STEAM? Then you’ll love a brand new section of Left Brain Craft Brain – STE(A)M Travel! We’re a family that loves to explore and I’ll be writing about science and tech museums, maker experiences and all sorts of places to go that inspire the STEAMist in your family.
So hop on board for the ride to our very first destination, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. It’s an absolutely amazing place to learn about the animals and oceans around us. Many thanks to the aquarium for providing the tickets so I could write about their adorable otters and start my new travel series. This post contains affiliate links.
8 Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Here are just a few of the things we loved about the Monterey Bay Aquarium….
- The Sea Otters
The number one reason has to be the little guy you see up above. Soooo cute!! Monterey is known for their sea otters and the aquarium is a great place to learn and see what makes them so unique. From floating on their backs to eating abalone, you can learn why from the lucky people who spend every day with their cuteness.
The Hands-On Science
The aquarium has thought a lot about what kids need to get the most out of their aquarium experience. From an indoor playground (yes, get the wiggles out in the middle of the day!) to awesome hands-on science exploration, every section has something special just for kids. My daughter loved petting the starfish and sea grapes and experiencing what fluid dynamics feels like. Be sure to bring an extra set of clothes or take advantage of the aprons they have in the water area. Because clothes are definitely going to get wet!
- The Jellyfish
I literally could watch these things alllll day. They are so beautiful and the movement of their deep orange bodies against the bright blue water background is simply mesmerizing. Check out this video I took of their really cool swimming action, which has been found to be the most efficient swimming of any animal. When they open and contract their bodies, it pushes the water out behind them, propelling them forward.
Do not miss the feedings! All day long you can listen and watch as the experts feed the fish, birds and otters. Like my daughter’s favorite, 28,000 (!!!) sardines that travel as a pack to confuse large predators. One hint for the feedings: the spaces fill up FAST! So be sure to get to the designated location at least fifteen minutes early on weekends in order to get a close space to sit or stand. Luckily, they always give a reminder to let the kids move to the front.
What? Birds at an aquarium? Yup! Tons of waddling penguins plus a few that you see naturally on the coastlines of Monterey. These birds below were so close you could almost touch them.
The Wow, What is That? Factor
I felt like I was continuously walking around going “Wow! I’ve never seen that before.” And I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Mommy, what is THAT?!?” It was awesome brain food for curious kids, and big kids, too. One of my favorites was this colorful sea anemone.
One of the coolest things about the aquarium was the people that work there. You could just feel the passion they have for their jobs. And that made their responses to a curious girl with a thousand questions that much better. This is definitely the kind of experience that could excite your kiddo into a career in a STEM profession like marine biology.
Definitely score one for fun for a day at the aquarium. Oh and one more little hint, the aquarium stocks every hotel room with a stuffed otter. We caved and part of her joy was knowing that her new otter she named Ollie, was coming home with us…
More STE(A)M Travel!
Follow along with the Left Brain Craft Brain newsletter to hear all about our STEAM travel adventures.
California Family Travel
Today we are joining with other California bloggers to share favorite family destinations in the Golden State! Find great resources in this list, plus link up your own below!
All Done Monkey: Sonoma Mission
Mama Smiles: Silicon Valley Family Day Trips
Little Hiccups: Planes, Trains and Cable Cars
Trips with Tykes: National Parks Sites in the San Francisco Bay Area Perfect for Kids
Savvy Every Day: Family Getaway to Carmel, CA