The Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is a public aquarium located in Monterey, California, United States. The aquarium was founded in 1984 and is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. It has an annual attendance of more than two million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display. The aquarium benefits from a high circulation of fresh ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in continuously from Monterey Bay.
The centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge Wing, is a 28-foot-high (8.5 m), 333,000-US-gallon (1,260,000 l; 277,000 imp gal) tank for viewing California coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the World to grow live California Giant Kelp. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp Forest at several levels in the building. The largest tank in the aquarium is a 1,200,000-U.S.-gallon (4,500,000 l; 1,000,000 imp gal) tank in the Open Sea galleries (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows. It is one of the few aquariums to hold the ocean sunfish in captivity.
Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of very few in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna. For displaying jellyfish, it uses a Kreisel tank, which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters.
Kelp Forest Exhibit:
The 28-foot-tall (8.5 m) 333,000-US-gallon (1,260,000 l; 277,000 imp gal) Kelp Forest exhibit was designed as the centerpiece of the aquarium, and was the first exhibit in the world to include a living kelp forest. In addition to the bay water provided to all tanks, a surge machine at the top of this exhibit provides the constant water motion that kelp requires. The top of the tank is open, and was situated to maximize its exposure to sunlight during the Day, thus further mimicking the bay. Eighty species of seaweeds grow in this exhibit, some of which have also entered the aquarium through the water from the bay rather than being deliberately planted. The kelp in this exhibit grows about 4 inches (100 mm) per day, and requires divers to trim it once a week.
Each of the main windows in this exhibit is 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, 16 feet (4.9 m) tall, and 7.5 inches (190 mm) thick.
Open Sea Galleries:
In January 1996, the aquarium opened the Outer Bay wing to provide exhibits covering the open-water ecology of Monterey's Outer Bay. The main 1,200,000-U.S.-gallon (4,500,000 l; 1,000,000 imp gal) tank in this area is the largest in the aquarium, and features one of the world's largest single-pane windows. Crafted by a Japanese company, the acrylic window is actually five panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process.
This area was extensively renovated starting in August 2010, and re-opened July 2, 2011 as the Open Sea galleries. Another exhibit created at this time includes a school of 3000 sardines (a fish that was once the foundation of Monterey's economy), swimming against the endless current of a toroidal tank. As part of the Open Sea renovation, the aquarium also added a puffin exhibit, juvenile sea turtle exhibit, and multimedia experiences highlighting microscopic plankton.