Monterey Bay Aquarium

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 1984

Silicon Valley pioneer David Packard had two daughters who studied marine biology, and they saw to it that an aquarium celebrating and studying the marine life of Monterey Bay became a reality. The Packards gave a one-time personal gift of $55 million for construction, with the condition that the aquarium be economically self-sustaining after opening. An old cannery in Pacific Grove was selected as the site, and Julie Packard became executive director. Displays focus on the species existing in the Pacific waters just outside the facility’s doors. Strong local support for the aquarium has translated into 45 percent of residents of the Monterey Peninsula becoming members—the core of more than 107,000 enrollees, the largest aquarium membership in the world. Today, the Monterey Bay Aquarium attracts more than 2 million visitors each year, and has a $65 million annual budget.