The Jellies Experience

The Jellies Experience jellyfish exhibition is the latest arrival at Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the top sights along the Pacific Coast Highway in California.

All Photos (c) Donna Dailey

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. 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.

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.

Best Guide to Carmel and Monterey

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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.

Practical Information
For how to get to the aquarium and where to park, visit our Monterey Bay Aquarium page.

Other Monterey pages

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    Monterey, on the Pacific Coast Highway in California

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  • A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.

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    A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel's guide to where to eat in Monterey including on Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row, fish restaurants and the best clam chowder.

    Where to Eat in Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's guide to where to eat in Monterey including on Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row, fish restaurants and the best clam chowder.

  • For a Monterey Inn just off the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the Mariposa Inn and Suites is hard to beat, providing good accommodation close to PCH.

    Monterey Inn

    For a Monterey Inn just off the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the Mariposa Inn and Suites is hard to beat, providing good accommodation close to PCH.

  • This John Steinbeck California Guide, A Journey into Steinbeck's California, shows readers how towns like Monterey, Carmel and Salinas influenced the author.

    John Steinbeck California Guide

    This John Steinbeck California Guide, A Journey into Steinbeck's California, shows readers how towns like Monterey, Carmel and Salinas influenced the author.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel recommends the best time to visit Monterey with month by month and season by season information on the city’s weather and climate.

    Best Time to Visit Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel recommends the best time to visit Monterey with month by month and season by season information on the city’s weather and climate.

  • The Hotel Pacific is a Monterey boutique hotel in a good location close to Fisherman’s wharf and downtown restaurants and bars and with its own parking garage.

    Monterey Boutique Hotel, the Hotel Pacific near Fisherman's Wharf

    The Hotel Pacific is a Monterey boutique hotel in a good location close to Fisherman’s wharf and downtown restaurants and bars and with its own parking garage.

  •  Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

    The 17-Mile Drive between Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best museums in Monterey including art and history museums, museums for families and the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium.

    Best Museums in Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best museums in Monterey including art and history museums, museums for families and the fantastic Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  • To John Steinbeck Monterey's Cannery Row was a place of sardine canneries, bums and honky tonks, but today the Monterey Aquarium attracts visitors.

    Cannery Row in Monterey

    To John Steinbeck Monterey's Cannery Row was a place of sardine canneries, bums and honky tonks, but today the Monterey Aquarium attracts visitors.

  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row is one of the top sights in Monterey and along the whole Pacific Coast Highway.

    Monterey Bay Aquarium

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row is one of the top sights in Monterey and along the whole Pacific Coast Highway.



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