Just last month I was in beautiful Monterey for the Finding Dory Event thanks to Disney/Pixar.   Most of our time there took place at the amazing Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This aquarium, placed right on the pacific ocean is home to 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species, and has over 2 million visitors each year.  It is no wonder why Disney/Pixar artists and filmmakers used the aquarium as inspiration for Finding Dory.  They studied the sea life and the aquarium and even behind the scenes at the aquarium to help them create the world in Finding Dory.

1. Sea Otters

We were lucky enough to visit the aquarium just after a wild sea otter gave birth to her pup in the Great Tide Pool outside of the aquarium.  We stood outside just watching mama and her pup not wanting to miss a thing.  Seeing them both was really a special sight and one I will never forget.

Inside the aquarium we got to get a close up look at their playful sea otters.  We watched them for over an hour swimming and playing.  We even got to see a feeding!

Fun Sea Otter Facts:

  • Sea Otters have the world’s densest fur, up to a million hairs per square inch!
  • Sea Otters are the only marine mammal without blubber.
  • Sea Otters eat 25% of their body weight a day.

While making Finding Dory, Pixar artists and filmmakers loved to watch the live Sea Otters Cam from the aquarium.  In fact, they still do!  You can watch them live also using the link below!

Can these get any cuter?! The Otters are adorable new characters in Finding Dory!

Sea Otters Finding Dory


2. Sea Turtles

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

There was one sea turtle that really captured my heart at Monterey, this Loggerhead Sea Turtle.  It was injured off the coast of North Carolina and the aquarium is nursing it back to health.  In about a year they are releasing it back into the wild!

Your favorite Sea Turtles from Finding Nemo, Crush and Squirt, are back in Finding Dory! Hello to Squirt!

Sea Turtle Squirt from Finding Dory

3. Octopus

Giant Pacific Octopus

The tentacles exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium is pretty amazing.  They have a Giant Pacific Octopus.  Octopuses are agile, smart and sneaky, armed with eight tentacles that are studded with suction cups.  Since they have no shell, they protect themselves with one of the most sophisticated camouflage systems in the animal world.

Meet Hank! I have a feeling he is going to be a Finding Dory favorite!  He is an accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities just like the Giant Pacific Octopus.

Meet Hank from Finding Dory4. The Open Sea Exhibit

Jelly Fish

The Open Sea Exhibit is the Aquarium’s largest exhibit.  There you will find tuna and sharks and a giant green sea turtle.  You will also find several types of Jelly Fish.  I could take pictures of them forever. Did you know that not all jellies sting?  The sea nettle does. It hunts tiny drifting animals by trailing those long tentacles and frilly mouth-arms, all covered with stinging cells.

Jelly Fish Monterey Bay


5. The Splash Zone

Dory | Blue Tang Fish Monterey Bay Aquarium

In the Splash Zone, I found interactive exhibits perfect for families to experience the ocean, Africian Penguins, rock fish, and sharks!  I also found Nemo (Anemone fish) and Dory (Blue Tang Fish)!

Oh, hi there Dory!

Tang Fish | Dory from Finding Dory

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is truly magical.  I cannot wait to bring my family to experience its beauty.

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