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Water Wonders: Tentacles Exhibit in Monterey

Octopuses, Squid, and Cuttlefishes get their moment in a mondo new show.

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Water Wonders: Tentacles Exhibit in Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder

Broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) is part of the new "Tentacles" show at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It opens on April 12.

IF EVER... there was a video to give the cat playing a piano a run for viral superstardom, it is the wee octopus opening a jar, a jar holding food he'd like to get. True, there are multiple videos of cats rocking the tunes, just as there are now several clips of the tentacled stars of the deep slipping masterfully through holes and plotting out puzzles that they seem to solve in a snap. (Seriously, how did that jar lose its lid so fast?) In short, we're fascinated by octopuses and all suction-y, multi-legged things that lurk beneath rocks and scurry along the bottom of the ocean. Fictional cephalopods play a rather large and looming role in our stories -- octopuses provide a frequent motif in steampunk comics and Victorian horror thrillers -- but the real ones intrigue, bewitch, and mystify. They should both intrigue and bewitch, of course, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium hopes to dispel the mystify part via a mega new exhibit. It's called Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid, and Cuttlefishes and it dramatically debuts, much like a little creature running out from under a piece of coral, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Saturday, April 12.

YEAH, WE SAID "MEGA"... and we meant it. Let's start with the big run time of two-and-a-half years, give or take. Tentacles will stay put at the Monterey institution through Labor Day 2016. The special exhibition cost $3.5 million to put together, so count on educational and visual additions aplenty. Nemo Gould, a Bay Area artist, has created kinetic sculptures, digital elements shall be interactive, and "up to two dozen species" will cameo through the dozen different displays.

IN SHORT... if you love a cephalopodist -- or are one -- it looks like a Monterey weekend is in your future. The world's largest cuttlefishes and the world's smallest squids will make appearances during the run, alongside a rainbow of octopus favorites. Here's hoping, though, that none of the residents inside Tentacles decide to take a midnight walk -- or midnight scurry? -- as a small octopus did at the aquarium a couple of years back.

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