After years in this hobby, we know not all fish stores are great and not all aquariums are awesome, but it still breaks our reefing hearts to hear about a place referred to as “America’s Worst Aquarium” by a writer at VICE on their visit to the Morro Bay Aquarium on California’s Central Coast.
The good news is this sad relic that opened in the 1960s, is set to close later this year, but the bad news is its still open. The writer started a trip to the aquarium after seeing some pretty dark reviews on its Yelp page.
The reviews were pretty much in line with the author’s perspective with some call it “the saddest place I have ever seen” and another saying it was “the most depressing place in California.”
Made of two areas — one for seals and another fish room — they noted on the latter, “The fish room was so bleak it felt as though each design decision had been specifically made to maximize its misery.”
Seeing the pictures where the only decoration or modification to its habitat were pipes or cinderblocks, the author is spot on.
According to a report on the San Luis Obispo Tribune, there are plans for a new multimillion-dollar waterfront aquarium to open in Morro Bay but only after the current 50-year lease expires.
The author also contacted Dr. Naomi Rose, a marine mammal specialist at the Animal Welfare Institute, who said in 25 years working in her field, she’s received more complaints about Morro Bay Aquarium than any other aquarium in the country.
The current operators of the facility did not participate in the story.
We’re hoping to see facilities like this either improve or close, but also hope more quality places (even if they’re very small) stay open as many serve an important purpose in education about the local wildlife and habitat.