Deep sea revealed at aquarium

MONTEREY -- The Monterey Bay Aquarium, already one of California's pre-eminent marine wildlife facilities, opened a new exhibit designed to allow visitors to see creatures from the extreme depths of the ocean.

Some of the 40 species on view in the new "Mysteries of the Deep" exhibit normally inhabit regions as much as 3,300 feet below the surface. It is the first time some of these species have been on living display anywhere in the world, according to aquarium officials.

The exhibit will take visitors on a "tour" of the Monterey submarine canyon, an underwater chasm that starts just offshore from the aquarium. The canyon is more than a mile deep near the shore, and more than two miles deep in parts farther out to sea.

Videos and hands-on displays allow visitors to get close to the animals from three major deep-sea habitats found in Monterey Bay: the walls of the canyon; the midwater, a dark ocean realm with no solid surfaces, and the canyon floor.

Admission to the aquarium and all of its exhibits costs $15.95 for adults (seniors, $11.95), $6.95 ages 3 to 12. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Phone: (831) 648-648-4888. Reservations: (800) 648-4888 (U.S.); (800) 756-3737 within California, Web: www.mbayaq.com

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