Jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

I want to share with you guys my experience and some photos that I have taken so far on my visits to this special place located at Monterey, California that I try to visit any time I’m around, an Aquarium that captivated me since the first time I got the chance to visit it and feel it.


I’m talking about the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) that is more than an ordinary aquarium, it’s a non-profit well-equipped-research-laboratory of the sea (see: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), which mission is to inspire the conservation of the oceans. The MBA started its operations in 1984 leaded by Julie Packard who has been the Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the Aquarium’s Board of Trustees so far.

At the aquarium you can find exhibits like the Kelp Forest, Seahorses, Penguins, Open sea, Sea Otters, Rocky Shore, Life on the bay, Monterey Bay Habitats, Sandy shores and what is for me the best of all, the Jellyfish exhibit.

What are Jellyfish?

Jellyfish are marine invertebrates animals that besides of not having any bones they also have no heads, hearts, brains or eyes and any how have made it to survive for hundreds of years and rank among the ocean’s major predators.

The Jellies exhibit was introduced at the MBA on March 1992 by the name of “Planet of the Jellies” and ended on September 1993 remaining to provide the basis for the permeant exhibit opened in 1996 at the Open Sea wing, which later gained more recognition with the award-wining special exhibition “Jellies: Living Art” (which included art and multimedia, see press kit) that opened in April 2002 and ended on January 2005 keeping some jellies around with the introduction of “The secret lives of Seahorses” that opened on April 2009, I got kind of sad for hearing that news from my US friends because I loved the special Jellies expo.

Good News, on March 31 2012 a new jellyfish exhibit is opening, it’s going to be called “The Jellies Experience”, where 16 species from around the world are going to be presented to bring face-to-face the visitors to them. (see press release)

What were Jellies for me?

What was my knowledge on Jellies before entering there?, I think I heard about jellies before at Mexico on my trips to this small beach near to Rincon de Guayabitos, Nayarit, where at the beach every now and then you could heard that some one was stung by an aguamala (jellyfish string), and how painful it was. I recall seeing a string or a transparent ghost jelly thingie on the sand and learned that that was something not good to be around or even to touch it. So I can say that me and most of people around there believed that jellies were not something beautiful, and mainly painful. Maybe if I would have done some scuba diving I might have had another opinion.

The visit to the aquarium

I visited the aquarium as suggestion of my new friend from Argentina (Thanks Che!!), she invited me to hang out on a weekend at Cannery Row, we ate a burrito for lunch, something new for her, and a whole new ocean experience for me.

When I first entered the “Jellyfish: Living Art” exhibition I was petrified, I did’t take many photos as I did on most recent visits, I was hypnotized, I tried to find a place to look moving into the public that was looking at them and taking shots (with no flash) at the big tank with a bluish background where the Atlantic sea nettles are displayed, drifting with the current on circles this orange jellies could easily relax you and make you think that those creatures must be from out of this world, extraterrestrials or extraoceanic if such word exist.


At the exhibit wing there were also smaller tanks with some other jellyfish species such as the sea nettle, moon jelly, crystal jelly, flower hat jelly, blue jelly, spotted comb jellies, purple-striped jelly, the cross jelly and others all worth to see and follow closely.

I stayed hours staring amazed at the living creatures marveled with their beauty, movements, colors and shapes, there were also art pieces inspired by Jellies like sculptures made of glass, videos and other media displayed all around with interesting and rich facts to teach about their life and reproduction and growth cycle. So after a while I quickly tried to see the rest of the Aquarium that is also great, I liked the Sea Otters tank the most emblematic sea mammal of the area that can be found out at the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz beaches and the rest of the Pacific Ocean, and of course the Kelp Forest that is also amazing.

I’ll try to visit whenever I’m around, I was kind of sad when they created the Sea Horse exhibit, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I did with the Jellies, during that time there were still the tanks with the Sea nettle the orange ones that are displayed below, so I got the chance to stare at them and try to get some nice shoots with my camera.

This creatures are my favorite animals on earth, or well from water, any how there is no other alike here on the ground, wait a sec, what about ghosts?

I hope you enjoy this pictures that have been hiding at my digital Photo vault, I think is better to have them here so you can see them, I know there are tons of this photos on the net, but at least you can trust they were taken by me.

And If you ever have the chance to be at California, there is this Must See Aquarium that I sincerely recommend. Over there you learn, enjoy, get amazed with the beauty of marine life, and at the same time you help to preserve life on oceans.

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.