Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Loop, and the National Steinbeck Center in California

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April 29, 2009

Offering aquatic wildlife exhibits ranging from otters to seahorses to octopi, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is not to be missed if you will be traveling along the central California coast.

Located on Cannery Row in Monterey, the aquarium offers 35,000 plants and represents over 623 species of animals in twelve “zone” exhibits that give you a close-up look at giant octopi, a kelp forest, life on the bay, the outer bay, the rocky shore, plus much more.

For more information about the aquarium, including videos, podcasts, webcams, activities, etc., please visit their web site.

17miledriveBe sure to also take the 17-Mile Loop scenic drive while in the Monterey Area. Beginning in Pacific Grove, CA, the loop continues parallel to the Monterey Bay Country Club, and then travels along the Pacific Ocean coastline south to Pebble Beach and then Carmel Bay, where it returns to Pacific Grove by an inland route through Del Monte Forest and skirts Monterey. It can be entered by the Pacific Grove Gate, the Country Club Gate, the Highway 1 Gate, or the Carmel Gate. For information on when the road is open, call 831-625-8426 or 831-624-6669. Admission: The toll for cars was $7.50 when I visited and it included a map of points of interest. The toll rate may have since changed, but according to Betsy Malloy in her article on, “if you spend more than $25 at any of the Pebble Beach Company restaurants along the way, they’ll deduct the fee from your bill.”

If you still have the energy after the aquarium and 17-Mile Loop, or if you have a second day available, head inland about 20 miles to Salinas, CA, and visit the National Steinbeck Center. Located in John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, the museum “offers three distinct visitor experiences in literature and history, agriculture and art, as well as special events and educational programs.”

Fans of Steinbeck’s works can “discover his world through interactive, multisensory exhibits for all ages, rare artifacts, and seven themed theaters showcasing East of Eden, Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and much more.”

Enjoy your RVing

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