Window on Monterey Bay: One of the country's best aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium specializes in species and habitats found right outside its walls, from the splash zone to the depths of the Monterey Canyon just off shore.
In a clear view from the aquarium, a harbor seal and cormorants rest on one of the large rocks near the bay's shore.
One exhibit contains an open aviary for injured shorebirds. Here, a small sandpiper peers from beneath the vegetation.
A curlew forages in the beach grass.
The shorebird exhibit includes a small pond, with waves resembling those of the bay shore. Several birds, including this black-necked stilt were feeding as they would in the wild.
Strawberry anemones usually occur in large colonies resembling the closely related corals.
Many of the individual tanks contain whole communities of sea creatures and plants. Here, several species of fish and coral coexist.
Because they are common in Monterey Bay, there are many large sea anemones displayed in the tanks. The small purple sea urchin at the base of the anemone is using one pebble as camouflage.
There are several touch tanks where people can actually reach in and feel the strange creatures. Here, a batstar and another species of starfish share a tank with kelp and other algae.
Pipefish often live in sea grass or algae, where their slender body shape blends right in.