The Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey, California. 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 around two million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing more than 600 species on display.
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) exhibit for viewing California coastal marine life. In this exhibit, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp. The 28-foot-tall 333,000 gallon Kelp Forest 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. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The largest exhibit in the aquarium is a 1,200,000 gallon the Open Sea exhibit (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows. It is one of the few aquariums to successfully care for the ocean sunfish in captivity.
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.
Sea life on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, sea horses, 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 sea otters that were rescued through its Sea Otter Program.
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 tank in this area is the largest in the aquarium, and features one of the world's largest single-pane windows, 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.
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