Never-before-seen Deep Sea Creatures Are Coming to This California Aquarium's New Exhibit

Some species are so newly discovered that they haven't even been named.

It's one of the most shocking truths that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about Earth's ocean floor. But thanks to an upcoming exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, mysteries of our planet are becoming just a bit more known.

The "Into the Deep" exhibit, opening at the aquarium in April, will offer a rare look into some of the secrets of the deep sea. Some of the species in the exhibit will be seen by the public for the first time ever and some are so newly discovered that they haven't even been named.

See sea angels and more deep-sea species in Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Into the Deep" exhibition.
Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

"For most people, this is the first time they've ever seen a living deep-sea animal," Beth Redmond-Jones, vice president of exhibitions and facilities at the Monterey Bay Aqaurium, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. "We want visitors to understand that these habitats, seemingly so distant from our lives and so different from the ocean we're familiar with, are critically important to the health of our planet."

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has spent more than five years developing an exhibition space capable of housing the life of species that before now were only able to survive in extreme deep-sea environments.

The upcoming exhibition features a "sophisticated water treatment system" to "replicate the varied conditions needed by deep-sea animals," which includes adjustments like lower water temperatures, a different pH level, and reduced oxygen levels, the aquarium shared with T+L. All animals included in the exhibit are able to survive at surface pressure.

Into the Deep, Brisingida, Brisingid Sea Stars, echinoderm A Brisingid sea star is one of the first animals to go on display for the Into the Deep exhibit.
Tyson V. Rininger/Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

The experience begins with a look at the ocean's surface. Through an immersive video experience, visitors will be introduced to Monterey Bay's underwater canyon and the experts who make up the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI).

From there, guests will "descend" to the ocean's midwater and see animals that have evolved to survive in a world without light, including the bloody-belly comb jelly and bioluminescent animals. Visitors will also learn about the plastic pollution threatening the lives of the species who live at this level of the ocean.

See bloody-belly comb jellies and other deep-sea species in Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Into the Deep" exhibition
Tyson V. Rininger/Courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium

The experience concludes with a visit to the seafloor, featuring awe-inspiring creatures like giant spider crabs, bone-eating worms, and giant isopods. Visitors will also learn about the ocean floor's hydrothermal vents and whalefall communities (scavengers who survive on whale carcasses).

"Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean" opens to the public on April 9, 2022. Tickets are available to book online and must be purchased in advance.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at

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