Finding Dory at the Monterey Bay Aquarium!
*I was invited by Disney on a press trip for Finding Dory. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.*
Last month myself and 24 other amazing writers went on an adventure of a lifetime with the quest of Finding Dory. This trip landed us in Monterey Bay, California at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were free to wander around as we wished to try to find her. Have you seen her? Finding Dory will be swimming into theaters everywhere on June 17th.
The first thing that caught our eye after entering the aquarium were these adorable otters! These playful California sea otters make their home in a two-story exhibit that they share with coastal marine life. These gals are super fun to watch. Very playful, they were given toys to play with and chunks of ice that they would find creative ways to break apart to find some yummy treats to eat inside. I could have very easily stayed here all day watching these amazing animals, but we needed to find Dory!
— Erin (@HorsingAroundLA) March 7, 2016
Before moving on though, we had to check out the special delivery that had arrived just two days before. Outside, in front of the aquarium a wild sea otter had given birth to an adorable little pup on the rocks. Guests were all standing out on the overlook watching the mother and her baby. If you look closely, you can see her below on the left side, on the second rock sticking out. Yep, that little brown blob is her. Then you can also see a closer up shot I was able to get of her. She swam off into the ocean with her pup the same day we had to leave. 🙂
Next we made our way over to the Touch Pools! Here you can get up close and personal to Mr. Ray’s cousins, the bat rays, sea stars (like Peach!), and other friends of Nemo and Dory at this interactive exhibit. There is also a very cool Wave Crash gallery nearby here that pumps about 600 gallons of water and “crashes” every 30 seconds! The walk-through tunnel in the wave crash exhibit is one of the most popular family photo spots in the Aquarium.
Our next stop on our journey to find Dory, was to the magical kelp forest! This three-story exhibit is the first and largest living kelp forest community created at any aquarium. Pixar animators studied the water movement and play of light here at this very exhibit! How cool is that?
Splash Zone & Penguins
Guess who we spotted in the Splash Zone area? That’s right, I think we found her! We found Dory hanging out with one of her best buds, Nemo! 😉 You will visit the coral reef homes that inspired Dory, Nemo and the Tank Gang’s character design in the Splash Zone.
I also found this beautiful guy, I just love Lion Fish!
The African Penguins were so cute to watch!
We still had so much more to see, so we said good-bye to Dory, Nemo and their friends and made our way to the Open Sea!
Nearby Dory and Nemo and The Open Sea, you can also find the most gorgeous jelly fish too! They are so mesmerizing!
The Open Sea
You can hang loose with Crush’s relative, the sea turtle, at the largest exhibit at the aquarium. You might even catch a glimpse of a hammerhead shark- like Bruce’s bud, Anchor, swimming by!
We saw some sea turtles too!
Now that we had found Dory, we decided to search and find more of Dory’s friends. At Tentacles you can explore a dozen live exhibits of octopuses and their kin, including the world’s largest octopus and one of the smallest squid. See what inspired the artists from Pixar in designing Hank, the most cantankerous but lovable octopus in “Finding Dory!”
The NEWEST exhibit at the aquarium as it opened less than a month ago on March 19th! Here you will find the slithery, the scaly and more! Discover incredible animals from land and sea from the coastal habitats of Baja California.
VIP Reception with the Fishes!
After the aquarium closed for the evening, we were all in for a very special treat! After seeing a little 20 minute preview of what’s to come in “Finding Dory,” we were treated along with other Aquarium staff, filmmakers, animators and press, to a VIP Reception at the aquarium with the fish and it was beyond amazing! The atmosphere was filled with food, drinks, and music. It was a night to remember.
A beautiful morning in Monterey Bay!
Monterey is a beautiful city, and you will want to make sure a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is on your must see list of things to do while you’re here. Monterey Bay Aquarium is open daily 10am-5pm with daily events such as feedings and presentations on the animal life it helps to conserve. There’s so much to see and do at the aquarium and you will have a blast Finding Dory in this beautiful place too!