Monday, December 1, 2008
(Photo: Monterey Aquarium, courtesy of Ed Bierman, Creative Commons License.)
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been acclaimed as one of the finest in the world, while also becoming a leader in ocean conservation. The popular aquarium sparked a tourism boom for the Monterey Peninsula when it opened in 1984, and has attracted approximately 2 million visitors every year since. There are five times as many hotel rooms on the peninsula now as there were in 1984, and tourist spending has tripled to about $2 billion a year. However, few people know that the aquarium was originally conceived by four diving buddies while drinking margaritas after a day in Monterey Bay. One of them was a daughter of computer giant David Packard. When she told her father the idea of converting a former sardine cannery into an aquarium to display the marine life of Monterey Bay, he liked it so much he decided to pay for the construction.
(Video: Sunfish and Great White Shark at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. White sharks are generally released by the aquarium after a few months.)