Last month, I boarded a plane to Monterey to try and find Dory at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. With “Finding Nemo” being the very first movie that I took my oldest son to see in a movie theater 13 years ago when he was just one year old, I couldn’t wait to go to Monterey where I was going to learn about the upcoming film “Finding Dory.”
The minute that my plane touched the ground in San Jose, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Shortly after arriving, a bus came and whisked me along with a group of journalist to Monterey. While on the bus, I got to see the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Monterey and San Jose area, and while I was looking out the window, I took the time to reflect on all my favorite memories from the movie “Finding Nemo.”
The bus arrived at the InterContinental The Clement Monterey, and after checking into the hotel, we walked the short distance to explore the Monterey Aquarium. The Aquarium was buzzing with news of a recent sea otter birth that happened just days before my arrival on the rocks in front of the Aquarium. Guests were all standing out on the overlook watching the mother and her baby throughout the time that I was in Monterey.
I began my visit to the aquarium by walking around in search of “Finding Dory.” It didn’t take long to locate the glass case where Nemo and Dory were swimming around with other colorful fish. There was a volunteer next to the case who took his time to talk to me about the fish and also shared his excitement over the upcoming film release.
I explored the entire aquarium before getting a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes. It is not something that the aquarium offers on a regular basis, but because we were visiting as guests of Disney, they welcomed us with open arms to see the magic that happens behind-the-scenes.
My first experience was being welcomed to the area where the aquarium staff cares for the sea otters. I got to see where the staff cares for the sea otters, the sea otter toys, and then I had the once in a lifetime opportunity of getting to watch them feed the sea otters. The otters splashed, played and munched on the ice treats that the staff had made for them. The passion that the staff at the aquarium has for the animals shined bright as they beamed with excitement while talking about their love for the animals.
Then I got to experience something that I never imagined I would do in my lifetime of getting to touch and real giant octopus. They brought us behind the scenes in small groups of 3-4 to visit with the octopus. The room was dark, and I slowly put my fingers towards the octopus, and when his tentacles suctioned onto my skin, I squealed. It was a surreal and yet kind of scary experience as I felt his tentacles wrap around my arm. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the most magical aquariums that I have visited. They have almost every type of sea life that children could ever possibly want to see in a clean and modern facility. When planning your next family getaway to Monterey, make sure and visit the aquarium, and then take the kids to see “Finding Dory” in theaters on June 17th.