On one of our visits to Monterey, the Jellies Experience had recently opened at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was their newest attraction, and even though we’d been to the aquarium before, we were happy to go again to find out what the Jellies Experience was all about. And, of course, to enjoy some of our other favorites, like feeding time with the otters, the Kelp Forest, and the delightful seahorses and sea dragons.
Entering the Jellies Experience
We were curious about this latest new exhibition, partly because we wondered how they could make a whole exhibition, just about jellyfish. Sure, they are fascinating creatures, unless you happen to brush up against one in the sea, but would an entire exhibition, just about jellyfish, really be that interesting?
We needn’t have worried as the fun starts as soon as you enter. Beyond some tanks filled with pulsating and ghostly jellyfish stands a strange psychedelic-looking object. Get closer and you realise it’s something out of the Hall of Mirrors, reflecting your body and face in all kinds of distorted ways (above). The kids really loved this one.
The Jellies Experience
With the jellyfish themselves, the tanks and other displays are very imaginatively done, using low lighting to bring out the beauty of these rather surreal creatures. We had no idea there were so many different kinds, and different colors – blue jellyfish, purple-spotted jellyfish, brown ones, ghostly-white ones, jellyfish smaller than a dime, some even as small as pin-heads while others are as big as dinner-plates. Some of them have hundreds of very short tentacles while others have long streamers trailing behind or below them.
The Summer of Love
We won’t spoil the surprise but there’s lots of background music in the exhibition, and some displays which bring back the feel of the Summer of Love with rainbow colors and suitable music.
Jewels in the Crown
Since we visited, the aquarium has now added another display to the Jellies Experience, showing crown jellyfish. These are purple creatures, with a kind of crown on top that has spikes sticking out from it. The fascinating story of how they were brought in, raised, and how they needed some help from bubble-wrap, is told on this page of the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
All in all, the Jellyfish Experience is an enchanting display, that is creative, educational, and a lot of fun. It’s yet another reason why the aquarium is definitely one of the top sights on the Pacific Coast Highway.
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Drive times and distances on the Pacific Coast Highway or the quickest routes from Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, given in miles and the driving time it takes.
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To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.