Monterey is a city that is situated along the Pacific Coast of Central California on Monterey Bay. It lies at an elevation of twenty-six feet above sea level and covers an area of twelve square miles. As of 2009, Monterey had a population of over thirty-three thousand residents. The city is prone to earthquakes because of its close proximity to three major fault lines which include the San Andreas Fault, the Berwick Canyon Fault, Chupines Fault, Tularcitos Fault, the Palo Colorado Fault, Monterey Bay Fault and the San Andreas Fault. The city of Monterey is also prone to landslides due to erosion. Because of its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, Monterey has a Mediterranean climate.
This results in average high temperatures of sixty degrees Fahrenheit during the winter to seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. The city receives around twenty inches of rain per year and has around seventy days of precipitation annually. During the winter months, snow has been known to fall in the higher elevations of the Gabilan Mountains and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Monterey was establish in 1770 by Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra. Under the flags of Spain and Mexico, the city served as the capital of California from 1777 up until 1849. During this time, names of the city include Montery and Monte Rey.
A popular attraction in the city is Monterey Bay Aquarium. This aquarium was founded in 1984 and was built on the site of a former sardine cannery. Every year it attracts over two million visitors eager to get a look at its collection of over thirty-five thousand plant and animals taken from over six hundred species.
The aquarium has several exhibits, but two are especially noteworthy. The first one is a thirty three foot high and one million liter tank that is used for displaying marine life taken from California’s coast. This tank was used to grow live California Giant Kelp. The second exhibit features a four and a half million liter tank that has one of the world’s largest single-pane windows. Marine life that is displayed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium include lobsters, sea otters, jellyfish, stingrays and a variety of other animal species.
Another popular attraction in the city is the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This marine sanctuary is a federally protected area that lies just of California’s central coast. It stretches from Rocky point to the city of Cambria and covers a shoreline length of over two hundred and seventy-six miles and over six thousand miles of ocean surrounding Monterey Bay. It contains a very valuable and diverse collection of marine life that is home to all types of plants, mammals, fish, seabirds and invertebrates.
The sanctuary has a research program that has four major goals; 1) To understand changes in the ecosystem, 2) Coordinate collaboration between research groups in the region, 3) Address issues related to resource management and 4) Interpret research information for policy makers and the public. The sanctuary also has an education program that attempts to provide outreach programs and educational resources, provide multicultural education, interpret research, provide interpretive facilities and collaborate through key partnerships with other organizations.
Monterey State Historic Park is another must see attraction in the city. This historic state park contains a group of restored historic buildings which include Casa Soberanes, the Custom House, the Pacific House Museum, Cooper-Molera Adobe Complex, Old Whaling Company, California’s First Brick House, the Larkin House, Interpretive House, the First Theater, Colton Hall, Casa del Oro and the Stevenson House. The Custom House was built in the early nineteenth century by the Mexican government and is one of the state’s first historic landmarks and its oldest public building. It is the location where the American Flag was raised in 1846, declaring California as a part of the United States.
The Cooper-Molera Adobe was built in 1823 by John Bautisa Rogers Cooper. This adobe house is a classic example of New England architecture mixed with Spanish architecture. Colton Hall was the place where the constitution of California was first drafted in 1849. The Pacific House Museum was built in 1847 and is an adobe style building. It was used by the United States military as a hotel, tavern, storage facility and a court house. It now tells the history of the city when it was the capital of California under both Spanish and Mexican rule.