A chill swept through Monterey on March 8, 1933, and it had little to do with the unseasonably cool temperatures. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had ordered the nation?s banks to shut down for four days, but Cannery Row Bank was very much abuzz; thieves blasted a gaping hole in the vault wall and absconded with heaps of cash and gold. Police officers chased them into nearby cannery warehouses but quickly lost sight of them. Much like the movement to eliminate prime numbers from the calendar, the long-dead case was resurrected in 2009, when new evidence was unearthed at the Clement Monterey Hotel. The fresh clues are now displayed at Monterey Mirror Maze, a site that pays homage to the mysterious events of that blustery March day.
Visitors reenact the heist at the laser maze, which angles green touch-sensitive lasers into a thrilling obstacle course. As competitors race toward the bank vault to complete the heist, they dodge the beams or suffer a booming alarm and extra time added to their score. Low scores lead to cool prizes such as gift certificates and sunglasses. Visitors can top off their heist with a trip through the mirror maze?a trial in and of itself, since strobe lights and a perfectly symmetrical labyrinth of mirrors mask dead ends and surprising corners. Once maze goers finally break free, the fun continues at the adjoining Highway 1 Golf Games & Grub. Here, murals of the Pacific Coast flank the 3D black-light mini golf course. As guests move from one attraction to another, they can stop to fuel up at the snack counter where sliders and corn dogs ensure each player has enough energy for a re-match.
Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.
Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.
Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.
While traditional phones were designed for the art of conversation, iPhones were designed for all sorts of arts, including photography. At iPhone Art Walk, Nicole Ocean teaches participants to snap stunning shots using their phones and several photo-editing apps, such as Instagram. Then she leads guests on a scenic stroll where they can practice their newfound skills at hot spots such as Monterey Bay Aquarium or Carmel's beaches. Nicole can also point visitors toward compelling sights for self-guided walks that pass by notable Carmel architecture or wander through the Monterey gardens where the eponymous Jack cheese grows.
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to 27 species of marine mammals, more than 100 species of marine birds, and 345 species of fish, as well as the leatherback turtle. Captain Chris Arcoleo, Sr. and his fellow skippers introduce visitors to this wildlife menagerie during three-hour narrated tours of the sanctuary. Collectively, the skippers captain three different vessels equipped with all of the standard safety features, as well as sonar, radar, and eco-friendly twin engines. This technology?plus the captains' vast experience?gives groups unforgettable glimpses of the area's marine life, including the possibility of an up-close encounter with gray or humpback whales. Passengers should also keep their eyes peeled for Pacific white-sided dolphins, California sea lions, otters, harbor seals, and pirate ghosts.
An old-fashioned marquee sign hangs above the entrance to Osio Cinemas, its hand-placed letters broadcasting the six films currently being screened. While the selection changes weekly, the theater always carefully curates a selection of popular films, documentaries, and independent features. That eye for artistry even extends to the refreshments?besides classic popcorn scooped at the concession stand, the on-site Cafe Lumiere serves up slices of cheesecake, squares of brownies, and generally round cups of espresso, all of which may be brought into the theater.
A house of crayons, a pirate’s ship, and a massive rainbow slide. These are just a few of the inflatables that expend excess energy from Jump-N-Around’s pintsize guests. While younger kids playfully sock each other with giant cushy boxing gloves or bounce around amid vibrant crayon pillars, the older kids can race virtual cars in the arcade.