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See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

Kingston, Canada
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See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

We will be in Monterrey for a day in early August (a Wednesday). We'll wake up in Carmel and sleep in Santa Cruz that evening. On our way between the two - we were recommended to stop into Elkhorn Slough Foundation which closes @ 5pm. So, we have two options and I'd like to hear your thoughts/vote!

1) go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the morning, walk the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, then go to Elkhorn Slough Foundation for the afternoon. This schedule gives feels less full than option #2 (even though we are doing more it takes less time), and we could even go back and see Point Lobos State Reserve again in the morning before the Aquarium.

2) take the 9am Whale Watch tour at the Monterey Warf - arrive back between 1-2pm. Grab lunch (if not provided on the tour?) and then head to Elkhorn Slough Foundation and stay there until it closes at 5pm.

Which option would you recommend? We have been Whale Watching once before in Boston and loved it... we'd go this time to see if we see any different whales, I would so so so love to see an Orca (although I think its rare people see one).

We usually avoid aquarium's and zoo's while we travel and prefer to view nature in its natural habitat. The only reason we are considering the aquarium here is that everyone says its excellent.

Any thoughts would help as we try and decide what to do with our day in Monterey. Thanks!!

Edited: 19 July 2013, 16:17
Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

Go with Option 2 as it seems to be your preference and travel style, but I would suggest Sanctuary Cruises out of Moss Landing, since it's so close to the Elkhorn Slough. Sanctuary limits the number of people aboard their boat and have actual marine biologists on board to answer questions, etc.

www.sanctuarycruises.com

San Jose, California
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2. Re: See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

I think that both choices are excellent and that you can't go wrong either way. I'd almost flip a coin to decide :-)

I am definitely not a zoo person and usually am not big on aquariums, but I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is really well done and just all around very good. And when compared with the walk on the coastal recreation trail, it makes for a very enjoyable time. You will likely see plenty of seals and sea lions, maybe some otters from the trail.

That said, getting out on a boat in the bay is always a good thing :-) last time we went for a whale watching tour, we went with Monterey Whale Watching at Fisherman's wharf. it was a lot of fun and we saw quite a few whales. They don't serve lunch on board - I don't think any of them do just because of the rougher water and issues with seasickness.

http://www.montereywhalewatching.com/

On the wharf, I like Isabella's for lunch. If you want to go over to the municipal wharf (next to fisherman's wharf), Sand Bar and Grill is good.

I haven't been on a tour with Sanctuary, but their tours look really good. You could have lunch after at Phil's Fish Market.

Raleigh, North...
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3. Re: See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

We are visiting Elkhorn Slough on our September trip, but we are planning to take a Kayak trip. I read a trip report from someone that said that the kayaking at Elkhorn Slough was a real highlight of their multi-destination trip. I'm using kayak connection.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough is excellent. When I was growing up, that was one of our favorite places to take the canoe out.

5. Re: See the Aquariam or go on a Whale Watch tour?

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