I was thinking that as part of my ongoing effort to share more of myself on here, I thought I would talk about Monterey briefly ahead of my big weekend starting tomorrow.
I’ve visited Monterey, California my whole life. Going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium was always part and parcel of being in the area. Kind of like I can never drive through Anaheim and NOT go to Disneyland. If I’m in Monterey…I’m going to the Aquarium. It’s the rules.
(Oh, and this whole thing might sound like I work for the Aquarium. I swear I don’t…I just really love this place).
The Aquarium itself is amazing and deservedly world-famous for the conservation work they do. The care they show not only for the animals they have on exhibit, but for the surrounding Monterey Bay ecosystem is phenomenal. I love the Aquarium because they go out of their way to benefit the community around them. Any organization that does that automatically has my heart.
Plus, I’ve always loved the ocean. Even when I was younger and couldn’t swim, I liked the water. The beaches on the Central Coast are lovely but the Pacific up here is notoriously frigid…even in the summertime. Still, I kind of liked that when I would stick my toes into the water, they would get a little numb…prompting me to see if I could outrun the incoming waves. It was like a game when I was a kid. I mean, who doesn’t love digging around in the sand and finding the most beautiful seashells when you’re little? The truth of it is, as much as I loved the ocean as a kid…it was the Aquarium that made me fall in love with the creatures that lived in it.
For those that have no idea what the Monterey Bay Aquarium is like, I highly recommend that you make time to visit it if you’re local (San Francisco Bay Area). If you’re not…then if you find yourself anywhere near Monterey, trust me on this…it’s worth the extra time to see it. I will say that it was heavily featured in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. (Yeah, yeah. I’m a geek. This is not news).
The exhibits I deemed my “favorite” as a kid still have a special pull for me, but honestly, the entire place is so breathtakingly wonderful that it’s hard to nail down a certain exhibit that would be my “favorite”. There are certain places in that converted cannery building that always render me speechless, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. The Outer Bay exhibit, the Kelp forest window, both of the jellyfish exhibits, and the Secret Life of Seahorses exhibit.
This weekend’s event, “Cooking for Solutions” is in its 14th year, and promises to be bigger than ever. I’ve been invited to cover it as a food writer, something that I’m sure someone at the Aquarium will notice and ask “how did she get invited?”. For now, I will enjoy it and wait to be found out as a total fraud. Okay, so I’m not a fraud…just go with the self-deprecating thing here.
I’ll be live-tweeting my impressions all weekend long, so keep an eye on my twitter feed to witness my antics at behaving like a professional. Next week, I’ll recap the “greatest hits” of the event for Food Riot, so stay tuned for that as well! For now, I leave you with a few pictures of the Aquarium…