Vacation in Carmel: Monterey

Today we planned to hang out in Monterey for the whole day and see the sights.

One of the perks of the Degenkolb cabin is two (free!) passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Very exciting – saved us $70!

Monterey Bay AquariumThe trip to Monterey from the Carmel cabin is only about 20 minutes… and we liked it so much we did it twice. (Sarcasm.) We got into the parking garage, paid, and *then* realized that we had left the passes in the cabin. Fortunately the garage was slow, and the guy was nice to us – officially, there are no “in and out” privileges. But, he let us go back, pick up the passes, and come back into the garage without paying twice.

Once in, the Monterey Bay Aquarium was delightful. We gazed at the sea otters for a bit, then headed to the special exhibit called “Jellies!!” It was super – really well designed, fun, and had a lot of different, cool jellyfish. We also enjoyed the “Secret Lives of Seahorses” and then sat for a while staring at the “open sea” exhibit.

At this point it was getting to be lunchtime, so we left the Aquarium and tried out the Cannery Row Brewing Company. It was pretty much what we expected – no complaints.

We headed back to the Aquarium, and saw a few more exhibits. It’s really an awesome aquarium – even better than I remembered it being, the last time I was there (which was third grade!).

By mid afternoon, though, we started to bonk. We left the aquarium and wandered up and down Cannery Row for a bit. We asked ourselves why we were there, when we could have pretty much the exact same experience by going to Pier 39 at home.

For a time out, we headed to the next town over for some Big Box shopping (Target, Kohl’s, etc) – always a treat for us city folk.

We drove back to Cannery Row and found a really great parking spot. We realized just then that it was sunset… so we really should have driven to the west side of the peninsula to see it, before parking and going to dinner. The timing didn’t work out well, though, so instead we tried power-walking in the direction of the sun, to try to catch a good sunset photo. I’m not sure how successful we were, but it was an adventure.

While at the aquarium, we learned a lot about sustainable fishing, which nudged me to ask at the Info Desk where we might find a restaurant that serves sustainably sourced fish. We were pointed toward a place called Fish Hopper, just a couple of blocks away on Cannery Row. It was pretty touristy, and a little overpriced for the quality, but we had a good time anyway.

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