The Monterey Bay Aquarium, visited by nearly 2 million last year, is giving its original exhibits an $11-million makeover, the biggest since the aquarium opened in 1984.
The exhibit area known as NearShore Habitats is being renamed "The Ocean's Edge: Coastal Habitats of Monterey Bay."
Among the additions are a walk-through acrylic tunnel, where a simulated wave crashes overhead and into a tide pool; a gallery that displays two giant octopuses in a 5,000-gallon tank; a walkway through wharf pilings that mark depths at which commercial fish can be found; and a larger aviary.
Each habitat will be introduced with a video presentation, and there will be more bilingual signs and hands-on activities than before.
Admission is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for students (ages 13 to 17 or with college ID) and $10.95 for ages 3 to 12. On June 1, the adult price will increase to $21.95; the other prices will stay the same.
Open daily; hours vary. Information: (831) 648-4888, www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Student trips go global
STA Travel, a worldwide agency that specializes in serving students and those younger than 26, has begun selling around-the-world tickets. They start as low as $2,159 from L.A., depending on when you fly and your itinerary and are valid for up to a year. Information: (800) 310-9249, www.statravel.com.
New express bus to LAX
Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus system plans to begin an express bus, with luggage racks, that will run to LAX from Wilshire Boulevard and 4th Street in downtown Santa Monica.
Closely matching a section of the No. 3 local route, the new one, starting June 27, will serve Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and Westchester. It will also serve the Aviation Station of the MTA's Green Line near the airport.
The fare will be 75 cents, the same as on the No. 3, but the new bus will be limited to 13 stops and get priority at stoplights, shaving 12 to 15 minutes off the total trip, said Dan Dawson, customer relations manager for the Big Blue Bus. Painted dark metallic blue, with the word "Rapid" in gold, the new bus will leave every 15 minutes, from 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 7 p.m. Information: (310) 451-5444, www.bigbluebus.com.
Mammoth extends its ski season
Mammoth Mountain ski resort, enjoying its second snowiest season on record, plans to stay open at least through July 4, the latest date in seven years. The resort, which typically closes in June, is offering a "Four for the Fourth" two-night package starting at $105 per person per night, based on double occupancy. It includes two lift tickets, two rounds of golf and two bike park passes. Information: (800) 626-6684, www.mammothmountain.com.
-- Jane Engle