April 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts April 2002 Current Issue
April 2002
Short Cuts:
Age of Aquariums

Tank haven for little gills: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Some of the most spectacular party sites invite guests to have an up-close encounter with finned friends and swimsuits are not required. For instance, at the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium ( on historic Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif., groups of 30 to 3,000 can dine and watch an underwater feeding show by scuba divers in the aquarium’s three-story kelp forest tank; hear vivid, real-life shark stories recounted by researchers, or enjoy hands-on time at one of the aquarium’s many touch pools.

At the Maritime Aquarium ( in Norwalk, Conn., guests of 10 to 1,000 can dine on raw-bar edibles in front of a massive shark tank and then hit the dance floor before an appreciative audience of seals. Or, participants can wander among the aquarium’s collection of historic boats, including champion catamarans and historic steam-powered launches.

Seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and seals all share top billing at the Oregon Coast Aquarium ( in Newport, Ore., where groups can have their own private tour guide for an evening that combines oceanic education and entertainment. More formal learning sessions are held in the 90-seat Whale Theater.

The National Aquarium of Baltimore ( in the city’s Inner Harbor offers groups of up to 300 the chance to dine and dance in the Marine Mammal Pavilion, where dolphins are the main attraction. Larger groups of up to 1,000 can stroll the main building, which houses the aquarium’s stunning floor-to-ceiling tank of stingrays, or feast on crab and barbecue under a tent overlooking the harbor.

• C.A.S.

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