San Diego

Sea Monsters Surface at a California Maritime Museum

"Sea Monsters: Delving Into the Deep" will open at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.


What to Know

  • "Sea Monsters: Delving Into the Deep," a new exhibit, opens July 9
  • Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • $20 museum entry; other ticketing tiers available

OUTLANDISH ANIMALS? The ocean, it may be confidently stated, has served as the home to quite a few quirky earthlings. The barreleye, a deep-water fish with a transparent head, was spied by a team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in 2021, while bloody-belly comb jellies are currently entrancing onlookers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Talking about cephalopods, crustaceans, or really any other cool critter that calls the Big Water its home? You'll come across some seriously surreal but fully accurate facts. Perhaps this is why the colorful myths of sea monsters have held humans' fascination for centuries: If a small fish can light up in the darkest crevices of the ocean, perhaps a behemoth could easily wrap its massive tentacles around a vessel's massive masts. As for how sea monsters are faring today? They don't star in the blockbuster movies they once did, but our obsession with these aquatic cryptids endures.

MARITIME MUSEUM OF SAN DIEGO... understands our understandable obsession, and to treat curious visitors to the sea's strange stories? The institution at the water's edge is presenting a new exhibit called "Sea Monsters: Delving Into the Deep." The presentation "... will take visitors on an imaginary journey at the end of the 19th Century, when a fictional, dynamic, daring, and somewhat eccentric world-exploring naturalist chartered the Star of India for an expedition with the task of investigating the existence of Sea Monsters in various parts of the globe." Indeed, the deck of the Star of India, the museum's centerpiece ship, is currently bedecked with towering tentacles, whimsical additions that can be viewed from a distance. Once on board, keep watch for "skeletal marine reptile replicas, marine biological specimens," and a "crime scene" board that tracks sea monster sightings, as well as other fanciful features that give families a chance to look at the legends more closely.

SEEING "SEA MONSTERS": Your museum admission, which you can book online, covers your entry to the exhibit. Opening day, on July 9, will feature special activities, too, including a Sea Monster costume parade.

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