Explore Historic Monterey


The Explore Historic Monterey cell phone tours and brochure were made possible by a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service.

Preserving History

Restored Pacific Biological Laboratories specimen tanks

Ed Ricketts’ Marine Specimen Tanks, 1928-1948

In October 2010, as part of a grant awarded to the City of Monterey by the Community Foundation for Monterey County, conservators stabilized and protected the concrete specimen tanks located in back of the Pacific Biological Laboratories building. Marine biologist Ed Ricketts used the tanks to store marine specimens for his research and in preparation for shipment to schools, universities and museums. The tanks were originally built by Vicente Rodriguez, the previous owner of the Lab site, who used them for his fish salting and sardine pressing operation. Ricketts began using the tanks when he moved to the site in 1928.

Featured News and Events
"Along the Way" - photographs by Susan Theodore

"Along the Way" - photographs by Susan Theodore

August 8 - October 19, 2014 at Alvarado Gallery, One Portola Plaza, Monterey

The City of Monterey, Colton Hall Museum and Cultural Arts Commission, and the Monterey Conference Center are pleased to announce the  Alvarado Gallery exhibit: Along the Way, Photographs by Susan Theodore. Susan first created photographs in Chicago neighborhoods and lakefront, trying to make visual sense of the streets, buildings and people she encountered. She began capturing images that resonated with her and sought to evoke memories and emotions in the viewer.

Susan moved to Monterey in 2003 and was enchanted by the great visual contrast to Chicago. She explored the historic missions and adobes, private homes and military installations, fishing boats, wharf activity and sea coast that seemed so foreign to her. She worked to make photographs that gave each viewer a sense of what she saw, offering them an opportunity to enter into a photograph from their individual perspectives. Her work became more abstract as she attempted to distill the urban landscape into core emotional components. 

This exhibit offers images of Monterey she made over the past six years. Her work can be viewed online at:photographsbysusantheodore.com.

The exhibit will be on display August 8, 2014 through October 19, 2014 in the Alvarado Gallery, located at the Monterey Conference Center, One Portola Plaza.
Free Public Tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts' Lab)

Free Public Tours of Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts' Lab)

October 4 and November 8, 2014

Join us at the Pacific Biological Laboratories (Ed Ricketts' Lab) at 800 Cannery Row, Monterey, for free tours sponsored by the City of Monterey. All five sets of one-hour tours are on Saturdays, and our docents will present the history of the Lab, Ed Ricketts, his friendship with author John Steinbeck, and the PBL Club that was instrumental in founding the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Dates of tours:

October 4 and November 8, 2014

Tour times for each date are:

9:00-10:00 am, 10:30-11:30 am, 12:30-1:30 pm, 2:00-3:00 pm, 3:30-4:30 pm

Make your reservation by phoning the Colton Hall Museum, 831-646-5640 between 10 am - 4 pm daily. Deadline for tour reservations is the Friday before the scheduled tours. Please arrive at the Lab 10 minutes prior to the tour.

Parking available at the Cannery Row Garage at 601 Foam Street, and other areas, see link:


Due to the Lab's historic significance and space, 15 persons can be scheduled for each tour.

What people are saying about the City of Monterey's Pacific Biological Laboratories Tours:

"Excellent piece of local history!"

"Lively, engrossing, full of important detail and vivid comparisons."


"Outstanding, educational, interesting, lively, concise!"

"I am so thankful the tour was available."