Monterey Bay Aquarium Passes

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Update 10/31/2022: All Salinas Public Library locations no longer have Shelf to Shore Aquarium Passes for Fall season. Please check back in January 2023 for availability.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is bringing back the Shelf to Shore Program!
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 the Aquarium Shelf to Shore pass given to you by library staff with your matching library card and a photo ID at the Main Entrance to the Aquarium.

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.

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. Please remember that only a limited number of passes are made available for people who otherwise cannot afford to visit the aquarium. Adult patrons need a valid Salinas Public Library card to participate and must 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.

There is a limit of one pass per year per adult library card holder.

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: When can I use the Shelf to Shore pass?

A: Passes will be distributed in two separate batches, one in the Fall and one during Winter. If a pass is given during the period ending on November 30, 2022 (Fall), it must be used during that same period. It will not be accepted for entry at the Monterey Bay Aquarium past this date and the library will not issue a new pass to the same patron. The second batch of passes will be issued during Winter, available only to patrons who have not received a pass from the previous batch. Those passes will have an expiration date of April 30, 2023.

Please note passes cannot be used during the Holidays and Spring break. 

Q: What do I need to bring with me to visit?
Please bring following items with you to the aquarium when you visit:

  • The pass given to you by the library
  • Your library card you acquired the pass with
  • Your Photo ID

Masks are encouraged but not required.

Please check the Aquarium's website ( for the most up-to-date information.