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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The perks of having an MBA

One of the advantages of having an MBA is the ability to make the entire family happy. I know, this comment catches the business dudes off guard and makes them think "what am I missing here.. which class did I miss during my college days? How come no one told me this?..." etc.

The reason, you are caught off guard is because the MBA we are talking about here is not a Masters in Business Administration, but rather the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Yes, we have access to the MBA. THE MBA! and it is awesome. We took San's uncle to get his MBA last weekend and had such a wonderful time.

The kids, were just thrilled. It was worth the almost 2 hour drive at short notice, because we got to see some amazing displays, contribute to aquatic research as part of the ticket proceeds, and literally, have a "whale of a time"! Add to that, it was bonding time for the kids with "Mama"!

Here are some photos from the trip.

San admiring the Jellyfish displays!

Trying to take "no flash" (yeah, no flash allowed!) pictures of dimly lit aquatic specimens through 1/2 inch thick plexiglass can be daunting. With the things moving reasonably fast, even if you have a tripod and use 1600 ISO, you are still going to come out feeeling "that photo could have been better".. so, I stopped taking pictures and just enjoyed the displays. You have to go there to enjoy it. Truly spectacular. Now for the little birds inside the various open exhibits.. They were all "collared" or "plastic ring identified"! and were very friendly with the humans!

Then there are the sea otter exhibits and the giant kelp forest. The thing holds more than half a million gallons of water, they say.. You are just dwarfed by the scale of the exhibit. Makes you get a grasp of how insignificant we are. It is not easy to create that effect in an indoor exhibit, but the MBA pulls it off.

We had a great time in the "sit out" facing the ocean. They have a lot of gulls coming to eat fries, seals on the far off rocks, and little free telecopes (binoculors) to watch the kayakers, pelicans, etc.

You cross this and go into a play area for kids. The kids just refused to come out. We learnt a lot about Dolphins, whales and sea lions in the kids area. Nice displays. Good fun.

The kids then got to "touch" various sea creatures and get a "feel" for marine life. Initially they were scared, but then touched starfish, clams, crabs, sea anemones, etc. etc. You even get to touch a stingray in one of the exhibits.

A day well spent. We were glad to show San's uncle something he would normally not see in India.

The sandwiches and Pizza in the Aquariums Cafe were also top quality.

The only other place we have visited that comes close or is better is the Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour. The MBA is still our favorite!


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