Point Pinos Lighthouse, California

pp lighthouse

The Point Pinos LIghthouse in Pacific Grove, California, is about five minutes (depending on traffic) away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   If you are planning a visit, this is a great side trip and is much less crowded than Cannery Row or any of the downtown area.

I became a lighthouse nerd a few years ago when my family took a camping trip up the Oregon coast and we stopped at all of the lighthouse along the way.   I have a little lighthouse “passport” and the volunteers or tour docents that work the lighthouse have stamps and stickers for the book when you present it to them.   It’s a fun thing and we always buy a book or magnet from the gift shop.   Lighthouse restoration and preservation seems like a pretty decent cause to donate a little cash to, right?

Point Pinos is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States.   It has been flashing a Fresnel lens nightly since February 1, 1855.

pp light

There is even a golf course just outside the lighthouse with fantastic ocean views.   Oh, and the deer don’t seem to mind if you play through, either.   Wow.   Deer.   Right in the middle of a town.  (If you knew how crowded this part of California actually is, you would share my awe.)

pp light golfers

pp light deer

We weren’t there during the right time of year but, apparently, Pacific Grove is also known as Butterfly Town for the Monarch butterflies that migrate through during the winter.   Have you ever been there to see the butterflies?   I’m certain it’s nothing short of spectacular.

The Octopus, Monterey Bay Aquarium

aq octo ringo


I am a Beatles fan so I had this song stuck in my head for the rest of the day when I saw the quote on the wall of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.    And, to be real honest, I’m singing it in my head right now as I type.   (Come on, sing-a-long with me … )

Every time I have ever been to any kind of aquarium exhibit, the octopus is usually hiding in the darkest corner of the tank basically begging for everyone to go away–far, far away!    Not on this day, though.   This is the most photogenic octopus I have ever met.   It was front and center on the tank begging for photos and posing like a pin-up model.   So impressive!

aq octo a

aq octo1

I’m wondering what the tentacles feel like.   Have any of you ever actually touched an octopus?   Do they bite?   Or are they stranglers like a boa constrictor?   Eeew.   I’m freaking myself out now.   Yikes!


Seahorses, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Allrighty … here’s another post from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   I know I have bragged about how great the visit was, how awesome the jellyfish were, and how beautiful The Kelp Forest is … but, seahorses are the BEST!   I had forgotten there were so many kinds.   And, BONUS, did you know seahorse Dads are the childbearers of the species?   Yup.   The Daddies are the Mommies.   Go figure.

OK.   That’s all the science stuff that I remember from the exhibit.   On to photos …

The Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

I have to admit that I didn’t think The Kelp Forest was going to be that big of a deal.   I mean, I really thought it was going to be a fish tank with some seaweed.   Honest.   Wow — I was wrong.  This is way cooler than just some seaweed.   Way cooler!

aq kelp jd mom

The tank is three stories tall and open to top of the building so natural sunlight shines in through the water.   It is amazing.   I could have stood there all day watching leopard sharks circle the kelp.   All.day.long.

I never imagined that kelp would be this beautiful.
I never imagined that kelp would be this beautiful.
Peek-a-boo, Fishy!
Peek-a-boo, Fishy!
Scuba Steve answers questions from INSIDE the tank.
Scuba Steve answers questions from INSIDE the tank.
aq kelp forest
Just a section of the huge kelp forest tank.

This is a must-see and makes the $35 per person admission to the aquarium worth it.   To watch some video of the sharks in the kelp forest, check out my YouTube channel, HERE.   I don’t have the video upgrade on this blog so … you gotta click through to get there …

Have you ever been to The Kelp Forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium?   What did you think?

Is there another exhibit at a different aquarium that compares to this?   Please tell me about it.   I think I might be adding aquarium visits to my travel wish list for the future.

The Jellies Experience, Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of those magical places that must visited at least once in your lifetime.   If you are lucky enough to live close, it is mandatory that you visit regularly to see how the exhibits change and go to special events.  The aquarium sits right on the bay and there are tons of natural wildlife to see all along the coast including seals, sea otters and whales.   And, in case you are feeling left out because you are too far away, those crazy scientists in Monterey have lots of live webcams for you to check out the sea creatures from home, right HERE.

Today, however, I am going to take you with me on part of my family’s adventure through the aquarium.    It was a wild Saturday during peak hours in the middle of summer.   So, that means my four year old ran out of patience pretty quickly and every square inch of the place was crawling with tourists (just like us) trying to get the perfect picture for their scrapbooks.   I would have loved to stayed in the aquarium all day to learn more about all of the different species and the interesting trivia that wins on Jeopardy but that just wasn’t possible.  Here’s the highlights and our trippy adventure with the jellyfish.

“The Jellies Experience” is the jellyfish exhibit and has been set up with a 60s theme; groovy music, strobe lights, and a psychedelic feel that’s totally mellow, ya.   Right on!

So, enjoy the fake names that I have given all of the jellyfish in the photos because I wasn’t paying attention to all of the signs and see what I think they should be called.

Do you have an aquarium near you?   What do you name the jellyfish?

Up next:   The Kelp Forest …

Beach Days

My family and I visited Monterey Bay in California last weekend.   It was just a short visit but we made sure to get some beach time in while we were there.   The sun cooperated on the first day but the foggy, marine layer stuck around too long on the second day for us to get much warm weather.   It didn’t matter to us, though.   The icy, cold water of the Pacific was still tolerable enough to wash our souls a little bit.   It’s always nice to get away from the norm for a bit and recharge.  What do you do to recharge?

water view

watching the waves   beach1 b

beach2 wide view

Plus, those cold weather days are good for seashell hunting!   Check out our beach loot:

beach loot

Stay tuned for more Monterey photos … of course, we visited the aquarium.   And, there’s a cool lighthouse out on the point, too!