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Monterey Bay Aquarium Passes

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Shelf to Shore Program
was created for families who otherwise cannot
afford to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium partners with public libraries to provide free access.

For free admission to the Aquarium, you must present this ticket with your matching library card at the Main Entrance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is eligible?
A: If you and your family qualify for Free School Lunch, WIC/SNAP, Meals on Wheels, Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Healthy Kids, or other similar services, the Shelf to Shore program is intended for you. Proof of low-income eligibility is based on the honor system. Adult patrons need a valid Salinas Public Library card to participate and to be a resident of Salinas.

Q: How does it work?
A: Bring your adult library card to one of the three Salinas Public Libraries. Request an aquarium Shelf to Shore pass from the circulation desk. Each pass admits up to six family members for a visit. One pass per year per adult library card holder.

Q: When can I use the Shelf to Shore pass?
A: The pass is valid from September 6th, 2016 till May 26th, 2017.

It is NOT valid these dates: October 16; November 11-13, 24-27; December 3-11, 26-31, 2016; January 1, 14-16; February 18-20; April 8-23, and April 30, 2017.

Q: What if I want to visit the Aquarium more than once a year?
A: All Monterey County residents, regardless of income, receive free admission during Community Open House, which is usually the first or second week of December.

If you do not qualify for a pass, please consider an Aquarium membership. An aquarium membership gives you unlimited free admission for a year (one or two adults, and all your children and grandchildren up to age 21). Individual and student memberships are also available.

Q: What is the Monterey Bay Aquarium?
A: The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans. Unlike many other zoos and aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium receives no public funding for its operations. It is one of the few aquariums that provide free admission for school field trips, serving more than 80,000 California school children each year, and affordable access programs through public libraries and social service organizations. Revenues from ticket sales and memberships support free school visits, ocean research and conservation programs for animals, including sea otters, sharks, and tuna. To learn more about the aquarium, visit their website at

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