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Sleeping over at the Monterey Aquarium

July 22, 2018

The Monterey Aquarium holds sleepovers throughout the year, and for roughly the past seven years my daughter and I have gone to one every summer (we attempted a rough count last night over dinner, and we think this is our seventh year). The first year my wife joined us as well, but a very loud and persistent snorer that first year turned her off on the whole experience.

The sleepover experience is pretty straightforward. You check in 1-2 hours before the aquarium closes (in the summer this time overlaps with the Aquarium’s Evenings by the Bay, so you can also enjoy live music and a bit to eat if you’re so inclined. Then at closing time you go through a quick orientation while they usher everyone else out, and after that the aquarium is yours for the rest of the evening. They offer a snack (milk and cookies!) at 9, and then at 9:30 let you set up in designated areas to sleep. This year they experimented with requiring reservations to cut down on the competition for spaces in the Open Seas exhibit, which (from our perspective) worked out quite well. Then a bit after 10 they show a movie (this year it was Finding Dory, since Pixar did a lot of research at the Aquarium). The next morning they wake you up for a continental breakfast at 7, some wildlife viewing from the deck, and a naturalist talk or two, before ushering you out at 8:30 AM.

For younger kids much of the fun is from the newness of the experience. Now that our daughter is older, the fun is more about upholding tradition. I’m a little surprised she’s stuck with it so long; each year I sort of expect it to be the last. But so far the tradition continues.

From → Travel

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