The Aquarium was conceived by a team of marine scientists in 1977 who envisioned an aquarium that would showcase the unique Monterey Bay habitats and wildlife On October 20, 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium opened its doors to the public and began introducing visitors to the ecosystems and amazing marine animals that live along the Monterey coast. We expanded to showcase the animals that live in the open sea with the opening of the Outer Bay wing in 1996.
Since opening day, more than 60 million visitors have been inspired by our award-wining exhibits and programs and more than 2.5 million schoolchildren, teens and teachers have participated in our education programs free of charge. Our global research work contributes to the recovery of ocean ecosystems and key wildlife species like sea otters, white sharks and bluefin tuna, while Seafood Watch, our global seafood and aquaculture program, works with businesses, governments and NGOs to lead a markets-based transformation of fishing and aquaculture practices around the world. The Aquarium also champions legislation to improve ocean health, from opposing off-shore drilling to supporting reductions in single-use plastic products as well as addressing the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.