No California coastal itinerary is complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Considered one of the worlds great aquariums and a global leader in ocean research and conservation, this is the place that inspired the setting for Pixars Finding Dory and the BBCs Big Blue Live and was featured in HBOs Big Little Lies. The Aquariums 322,000 square feet showcase Pacific Ocean habitats with acclaimed marine exhibits such as the three-story living Kelp Forest, million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, and a two-story home for its cutest inhabitants, charismatic sea otters that are the unofficial mascot of the central coast. Dramatic ocean-front decks offer views of passing whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters. Visitors who want to dive deeper can choose among a host of behind-the-scenes tours, family sleepovers among the aquariums exhibits, and a summer scuba program for kids ages 8 to 13. The aquarium also offers ocean-view dining in both a casual cafe and a full-service restaurant. Both emphasize regional and sustainably delicious cuisine that showcase a commitment to Seafood Watch standards for ocean-friendly seafood selections. Discover the wonders of Monterey Bay and how protecting our living ocean benefits us all.