On April 12, Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes opened to the public at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I was one of the lucky ones who previewed the exhibit the day before! I’ve been to the aquarium quite a bit under many hats: everyday woman, elementary school teacher, field trip chaperone, and mother of 3 and each visit takes on it’s unique path not previously seen the visit before. One year was all about the sea otters, then another visit I became completely mesmerized by the jellyfish. Well, this time around the bizarre creatures of the deep are now something I can’t stop telling people about!
During a recent media tour in Monterey, we explored the $3.5 million, 3700 sq. ft tentacles exhibit that features the largest, most diverse living exhibits of rarely seen and amazing cephalopods of the sea. Included with your daily admission fee, visitors can stroll about the collection (that will rotate through about 2 dozen species) as well as interact with family-friendly displays!
A cephalopod is a mollusk, related to snails, clams, mussels and sea slugs. Common body structure
including: bilaterally symmetrical body, a mantle which acts as a skin-like covering,three hearts, blue blood(when exposed to air), file-like tongue called a radula, a headsurrounded by a ‘foot’ which has evolved into arms and/or tentacles.
So what will you see? Here’s the good stuff! Octopuses! Octopuses’ ability to contort their form and coloration to camouflage with their environment is entrancing and makes them exceptionally successful survivors at sea. Look at this big guy the Giant Pacific Octopus, he’s like the Incredible Hulk when he’s angry, only he turns deep red!The stealth Wunderpus is a master of disguise changes its color, shape and movements to mimic other sea animals! His wiggle and movement gave me the heebie jeebies in a cool way!
My favorite is the rare Flapjack Octopus that Pearl from Finding Nemo was modeled after! Under a special LED light to mimic the 2 mile deep sea where it is found, the Flapjack was so unique to watch float about in it’s lava lamp-like tank!The Bigfin Reef Squid are pretty to observe, their ability to pool together and appear larger to their predators make them a more social group.
Like their close relatives, cuttlefishes have three hearts, an ink sac, head and eyes, and survive by changing the color, shape and texture of their skin. They are named for their unique internal shell, the cuttlebone.The only remaining cephalopod with an external shell, the Chambered Nautilus is also without an ink sac. The shell offers protection and chambers within the shell provide buoyancy control, permitting this beauty to move up and down in the water column to hunt at the surface and find protection in the depths.
Now, plan your trip to the Aquarium and see the new exhibit for yourselves. Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes will be on display through Labor Day 2016 so don’t miss it! For more information or ticket inquiries, visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/.
Have you been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? What’s your favorite exhibit?
My visit was part of the #Tentacles FAM tour, breakfast, early admission, seminar, and behind the scenes were hosted. All opinions are completely my own.