Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is hosting Whale of a Weekend to celebrate the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale.
Last year whales were spotted off the west end of the Santa Monica Pier during this celebration. Aquarium naturalists will be out with binoculars and field guides this weekend to hopefully do some more spotting.
With record-breaking numbers of whale sightings along the Southern California coast this year, locals are encouraged to celebrate the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale at Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium during “Whale of a Weekend,” this Saturday and Sunday (Feb.15 and 16).
A host of whale-related activities will be ongoing both days from 12:30 pm to 5 pm at the marine science center, 1600 Ocean Front Walk, located beach level under the Santa Monica Pier bridge.
The Pacific gray whale completes one of the longest migrations of any species, traveling 10,000 to 14,000 miles round trip between the arctic seas and the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. This migration takes the whales past the Santa Monica Pier – sometimes within viewing distance from the west end observation deck.
Visitors can feel the heft of a whale rib, check out bristly baleen and try on a layer of (simulated) whale blubber for warmth.
Children of all ages can have their faces painted and make a whale visor to take home. Learn more interesting facts about these gentle giants at the Aquarium through story time, film screenings and presentations about the gray whale’s migration habits.
Aquarium naturalists, along with representatives of the American Cetacean Society, will staff a wildlife observation station at the west end of the Santa Monica Pier.
Those who stop by are welcome to spy for whales through binoculars and field guides will be available to identify local birds and other marine life. Learn about what species of fish are safe to eat through a fishing game run by the Fish Contamination and Education Collaborative.
Details for all Aquarium and Heal the Bay events are available on the website calendar at www.healthebay.org/events.
Aquarium admission is free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. For those 13 and older, admission is $5.
For groups of 10 or more, the fee is $3 per person. Call 310.393.6149 for more information or visit our website at www.healthebay.org/smpa.