Tentacles, Tentacles, Tentacles! – Monterey Bay Aquarium


If you haven’t visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium yet, located in historic Cannery Row, you’ll definitely want to make it a point to visit this year to see the new Tentacles exhibit. I was lucky enough to preview the exhibit before it opened to the public on April 12th, and it’s full of wonders!

The waving octopus arms on top of the aquarium hint at what awaits you inside – the world’s largest display of cephalopods.

Monterey Bay Aquarium tentacles

The official exhibit name is: Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes, and there are two dozen species that will rotate on display throughout the exhibit.

On my visit to the aquarium, I saw the following creatures:

The largest cephalopod in the exhibit was the Giant Pacific Octopus. When I first walked into the #Tentacles exhibit, it was cozied up like this.

Giant_Pacific_Octopus - Monterey Bay Aquarium

But a little bit later, I caught it moving around a bit. It’s quite something!

Giant Pacific Octopus - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Here’s a quick video of it on the go. It’s pretty cool!

The Wunderpus is a shallow water octopus with a very fun name and very long arms. It reminds me of a spider!

Wunderpus - Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of the hardest to capture with my iPhone, but fascinating to watch was the Flapjack Octopus, and it’s a very rare find. In fact, not much is known about this deep sea dweller. The aquarium uses red light for the display to mimic the ocean depths so the octopus feels at home.

Flapjack Octopus - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Crappy photo, I know. I’m sad!

The Chambered Nautilus has more tentacles than any other cephalopod, and it’s the only one with an external shell and no ink sac.

Chambered Nautilus-Monterey Bay Aquarium

This Flamboyant Cuttlefish continually flashes vibrant yellow, maroon, brown, white and red along its body, and moves along the ocean floor on its arms and fins. They are very, very hard to find in the wild, so it’s pretty remarkable that the Monterey Bay aquarium has one on display.

I just wish my iPhone would have captured its flamboyant colors!

Flamboyant Cuttlefish - Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Common Cuttlefish can change its skin color and pattern almost instantly, and its ink (sepia) was once widely used for writing and drawing.  Wandering fish and shrimp who dare to come too close will find themselves captured with a flick of two tentacles.

Cuttlefish - Monterey Bay Aquarium

You’ll find the Bigfin Reef Squid in very few aquariums in the world, so it was a treat to see them. They resemble cuttlefish because of their large fins, but they have eight arms and use their two tentacles to capture their prey.

Bigfin Reef Squid - Monterey Bay Aquarium

You’ll find all these amazing cephalopods in the exhibit, but be sure to take notice of the amazing pieces of art and lore scattered throughout the exhibit as well. It’s quite remarkable.

Tentacles exhibit - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Although the bulk of my visit was spent in the Tentacles exhibit, I couldn’t resist picking out a few other things around the aquarium that I loved.

One thing you absolutely must do is go to the Open Sea Feeding at 11am. I had no idea what to expect, but it sure wasn’t this. Take a look at the video and watch the sardines. It’s wild!

Check out the “Jellies Experience” too. There’s something so mysterious about jellyfish, don’t you think?

Moon jelly - Monterey Bay Aquarium

Purple striped jellies - Monterey Bay Aquarium

It’s always fun to visit penguins! The Monterey Bay Aquarium houses African Black-Footed Penguins. Isn’t this little guy adorable?

African black-footed penguin - Monterey Bay Aquarium

We found Dr. Mike checking over one of the baby penguins still in quarantine. They’re kept separate from the larger penguin population until they’ve been checked over thoroughly.

Dr Mike - Monterey Bay Aquarium

baby penguin in quarantine- Monterey Bay Aquarium

The aquarium is such a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a day. Devote several hours to your visit to be sure you see it all!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium - Pacific Ocean Shoreline

The Tentacles exhibit will be open through Labor Day 2016. For more information on the Monterey Bay Aquarium visit www.montereybayaquarium.org

Which of the cephalopods in the Tentacles exhibit would you most like to see?

My visit, admission and behind the scenes tour were complimentary as part of the #Tentacles FAM Trip. All opinions and experiences are my own.


  1. Rebecca Parsons says

    Octopus are such strange looking creatures but there is just something magical about them. l love going to aquariums to see creatures like them.

  2. says

    Looks like a blast – seriously love the building itself! We have 1 aquarium nearby and we visit it quite a bit – just something about aquatic animals!

  3. Vanessa: thequeenofswag says

    Tentacles freak me out a little bit. But this looks like a really cool exhibit to visit and learn from.

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