Yesterday, 20 October 2014, Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

My family and I are fortunate to have had the chance to visit Monterey Bay Aquarium twice, the first time in June 2011 and the second time in March of this year.  This year’s visit was extra special since my son celebrated his 9th birthday in Monterey Bay Aquarium.

It was unfortunate that my son’s birthday this year fell on a Monday, and their shark tours are conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (My son loves sharks! One day, we will do that shark tour!)  Still, I was hoping that my son would have a little treat since it was his birthday. When I informed the nice ladies at the front desk of this, they gave him a Happy Birthday button to wear. He wrote his name on it and wore it on his jacket the whole day.  And thanks to this button, every aquarium staff he encountered that day greeted him a Happy Birthday!  (Thanks for that, Monterey Bay Aquarium!)

There were many things we enjoyed in this world-class aquarium. We loved the walk-through tunnel in the wave crash exhibit!  My kids kept wanting to waiting for the wave to “crash” above their heads. In the Rocky Shore exhibit, it was fascinating and a bit frightening to be so close and almost touch the rays. And in our recent visit, we got to see an egg case in the tide pools, and we saw the shark embryo moving inside! Since my son loves sharks, we watched a short presentation in the auditorium called Project White Shark where we were entertained as we learned about white sharks and about the aquarium’s shark conservation efforts.

One of my favorite moments from our recent trip was at the Kelp Forest exhibit.  We watched one of the afternoon feeding sessions and were treated to a surprise appearance by a very friendly, attention-loving wolf eel. As the diver was feeding the many fishes in the aquarium and talking to the audience, the wolf-eel just swam up close to him and happily posed for our eager cameras.

Of course, no trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium would be complete without seeing the breathtaking view of the bay from the amphitheater. With clear blue skies on a cool spring afternoon, it was a perfect way to end our day. And that view of Monterey Bay remains to be one of my all-time favorites.

I’m really hoping that the next time my family goes back to Monterey Bay Aquarium, we can do the shark tour and maybe the sleepover too.  And I would love to see a whale or two swimming in the bay!

Happy 30th Anniversary, Monterey Bay Aquarium!  Thank you for all that you do to help save our oceans and seas, and thank you for giving people like us a chance to come close to their beauty and majesty.