NAME THE FIRST WORD... that you uttered the first time you stood before a jellyfish, in person, in an aquarium. (The "in an aquarium" part of the equation is important, since standing before a jellyfish in the open ocean might produce a somewhat different utterance, depending upon how surprised you are to see it.) Did you say "wow" or "how?" or "alien" or "interplanetary" or "neat" or "weird" or some combination of the above at your aquarium encounter? It's hard not to say astounding things when you're faced with a being that has no heart and no brain. For when we spy a cat or a bird or most other animals, we can make immediate parallels that remind us of our co-earthling status. There's the animal's mouth, their eyes, their limbs, and so forth. Jellies, though, send us straight to the sci-fi realm, what with their gelatinous-like bodies and hard-to-fathom food consumption and iridescent properties. These qualities, and many more, have brought millions of fans to the doors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the last three-plus years, jelly-loving humans who wanted to commune with these seemingly cosmic creatures in a darkened and often hushed space. That communing, which has hummed along since March 2012, will come to a close on Sept. 7, 2015, when Jellies the exhibit waves its long, undulant arms in farewell.
THE SPECIAL EXHIBITION... will say adieu on Labor Day Monday, but several fascinating shows are still to be seen around the Cannery Row institution, including Tentacles and the Giant Pacific Octopus. But Jellies is packing its bags, meaning the flower hat jelly and the spotted jelly and the elegant jelly will drift away, so see your favorites before they go, or flow, rather. (And you do know that's why tanks holding jellies have rounded corners; because the creatures flow with currents and can get caught in areas that have no egress.) Can't wait to get to Monterey to see these from beyond-the-Solar-System-seeming beauties? There's new video of the ice jellies, which were recently introduced to the exhibit.