Nieve enjoyed the kelp forest tank from her own unique point of view
One of Ronan's favorite places to visit is the Monterey Bay Aquarium (especially on Tuesdays!), so naturally he wanted to show it to Nana during her visit. Not that Nana needed any prodding; she frequently visits her local Birch Aquarium in La Jolla and has wanted to experience MBA for years.
Nana photobombing the orca picture
Ronan admiring the graceful swimming skate and leopard shark - the same species that frequent La Jolla Shores in late summer
When walking through the aquarium it was clear that Nana was impressed, but it was also fun to see what captivated the little ones, as it seems to change every time we visit the aquarium. During this trip Nieve was most animated in the Wave Crash Tunnel; at first she was terrified of the periodic douses of water but eventually waited with eager anticipation for the wave after overcoming her initial fear.
Neive was not too thrilled during her first few minutes in the wave crash exhibit
But after she got used to the water being released she embraced it with great enthusiasm
She also loved the kids area, the 'Splash Zone,' where there are fun things to bounce/climb on, and child friendly tanks containing 'celebrity' species such as clown fish (Nemo) and blue tangs (Dory). In the play zone Nieve found a plush puppet stingray, put it on her hand, and proceeded to chase me around and around, delighting in my fr (and other parents that humored her and played along) fright.
Pixar & Disney have the pulse of children - Ronan and Nieve *loved* finding Dory & Nemo
Nieve loved all the hands-on exhibits - her favorite was the 'purkle' urchins and 'arnge' starfish
Ronan also enjoyed the Splash Zone, spending his time manipulating water at an exhibit where he could test the stability and hydrodynamics of various boat hull designs. Had we not been pressed for time he would have spent hours playing there, trying out the various controls the exhibit had to offer.
Water jets, boats, and movable dam - a recipe for success with Ronan
He was also mesmerized by the jellyfish exhibit (who isn't?) - it was fun to watch him stand, mouth open, ensorcelled by the vibrant colors of the pulsating jellies. He had a similar stupified look on his face when he almost went cross-eyed staring at the anchovy cylinder - apparently the anchovy schooling confusion defense is effective on Ronan.
Ronan and Nana (the two on the left) follow the beautifully lit jellies
Ronan going cross-eyed trying to focus on the flashing silver anchovies. He did ask, "why are all of the fish yawning?"
It seems that large aquariums have an interesting effect on children - the exhibits excite and relax kids concurrently. Ronan was interested and engaged, wanting to learn/see more, yet at times could be found standing still in front of the large acrylic windows, quietly observing the scene in front of him.
Silhouettes in front of the serene open ocean exhibit
Leafy seadragons - a visitor favorite
It could have been the large tanks of water that gave a submersed sensation, or the graceful fish that glided effortlessly by, or the gentle light that danced through the water, or perhaps something else entirely - whatever it was when Ronan or Nieve were in front of sea life exhibits they were engaged but calm.
The MBA is serene on the outside as well
Nana and Nieve captivated by the beauty
After almost four hours we finally convinced Ronan (and Nana) that it was time to head home. As always our time spent at the aquarium was fun an memorable - we are already looking forward to our next Tuesday visit.
After 3.5 hours Nieve was finally done in by the quiet and darkness of the Jelly exhibit