Friday, March 13, 2015

Monterey Bay Aquarium part 2

Continuing our day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
This next section was enclosed in glass and every few seconds a giant wave would come crashing over you. Emma is waiting in anticipation.

One of the cool things I learned about the Monterey Bay Aquarium tanks is that it's not a closed system. All the water for the tanks comes from the bay and goes right back into the bay. During the day filters are turned on so the water is clear enough for people to see the fish. At night the filters are turned off and regular sea water containing microscopic food comes in. Cool.


Lots of things you can touch here, but we didn't.

However, once you show Ian some water he can splash in, he goes nuts.

Any longer and we'd need a change of clothes.

There's even a small aviary with some sea birds just outside.

Continuing into more of the aquarium, Ian wandered over to this tank. I was afraid he was missing the ginormous fish a few feet above him.

Ian, check this guy out! He's almost big enough to swallow you!

There's a concave dome where you can feel like you're inside the aquarium.

Next we saw the tank that was used in Star Trek IV to showcase George and Gracie. The whales were  all super-imposed after the fact, but the tank is real.

It's actually used for the aquarium's Kelp Forest. Because unfiltered sea water is pumped in continuously, it grows 4 inches a day and has to be trimmed constantly.

Hi Mr. Albatros.

Off to the stairway Admiral Kirk descended after looking at the whales.

Ian and I hanging out on the same stairway.

After Finding Nemo came out, I think it's required now that every aquarium have a clownfish and a regal tang hanging out together. This clownfish was enjoying playing on the anemone.

And Dory was just swimming up above. I think I also recognize Gill from the tank gang.

There's just all sorts of Star Trek references here today. This time from The Next Generation. Captain Picard keeps a red lionfish in his ready room.

Sure enough there's a red lionfish here too.

This eel and shrimp has a pretty good relationship it appears. The shrimp cleans the eel and doesn't get eaten, and the eel gets clean.

Making our way to the kid's play area. Yet another splash table for Ian to enjoy.

His Uncle Jon kept him from getting too wet.

Looking out into the beautiful Monterey Bay.

Ian taking a good look.

I think it's also cool that you can see the tops of some of the aquariums. Kind of a behind the scenes look.

One more eel then we'll head outside.


Here's what the outside bay looked like in the movie Star Trek IV. The bay has been altered after filming to appear to be a giant holding tank.

In actuality, the water level doesn't come up nearly as high. This is what the bay really looks like.

In the brief time we were outside, Ian learned the joy of chasing pigeons.

I love his squeal of joy.

That did it for us at the aquarium. I had good time and I think everyone else did too. Thanks for the invite Jon!

Emma, can T get a piggyback ride back to the car?

Uncle Jon had a surprise for everyone once we got back to the car. Stuffed sea turtles!

Thanks!

Ian played with his the whole way back to the hotel.

The kids enjoyed hanging out in the room once we got back.

Watching some episodes of Wild Kratts.

Theresa was feeling like Korean food (no surprise there) so Jon and I ran to Yi's and got carryout.

While we were out, Jess and T took the kids to the playground by the hotel.

Ian just loves slides.

Because it's so nice out we pulled a few picnic tables together and ate Korean food in the cool evening air.

We've got a little bit of time before bed, so before we call it a night, we're going to hit up Fort Ord Dunes State Park. To get there you drive through a creepy abandoned army base. The barracks and other building are all boarded up and look like they came straight from the 40s. No pictures because, you know, we were driving.

To get to the beach, you park in the upper lot and walk down a trail between some large sand dunes.


We started by playing a little frisbee, but you can do that just about anywhere. There's one really cool feature of this beach and the kids all have the right idea.

It's playing on the dunes!

You climb to the very top and then run down full speed!

And I must say, it was a lot of fun!

Ian really liked seeing the bigger kids running down the hills.

You know he wanted to participate too.

Wheee!

Just before we left, a fin and a spout of water appeared in the ocean. It never came any closer though so I couldn't make out what it was.

The lot we parked in closes at dusk. We enjoyed a beautiful golden orange sunset just before we headed back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow is our last day together. Let's make it a good one.

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