Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium celebrates the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale during “Whale of a Weekend,” Saturday and Sunday February 10th and 11th.

Whale-related activities will be ongoing both days from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the aquarium, located at beach level at the Santa Monica Pier.

Aquarium naturalists, along with the American Cetacean Society, will staff a whale watching station at the west end of the Santa Monica Pier.

Children can make their own binoculars and whale watching guide at the aquarium’s arts and crafts station.

There will also be ongoing live demonstrations of plankton tows at the west end of the pier, and visitors can observe the collected plankton in the aquarium’s science lab.

Participants will have the opportunity to try on a layer of blubber to feel the warmth it provides at the blubber experiment station in the aquarium.

Story times, film screenings and a public lecture on whales will round out the two-day celebration.

Gray whales complete an annual, round-trip migration of 10,000 to 14,000 miles, one of the longest migrations of any animal.

The whales travel from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic’s Chukchi and Bering Seas to their winter home in the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, where they spend several months mating and calving.

Around January, the whales begin the return journey to the Arctic. According to the Cetacean Society, the mothers and calves travel close to shore as they make the two- to three-month trek north.

Adult gray whales are approximately 45 feet in length and weigh 30 to 40 tons.

After being hunted to the brink of ex-

tinction, the gray whale has been a protected species since 1947, and the population has rebounded to between 19,000 and 23,000 animals.

Admission is free for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. For those 13 and older, a $5 donation is suggested, with a minimum $2 admission per person required.

For groups of ten or more, the fee is $2 per person.

Information, (310) 393-6149 or www.healthebay.org/smpa

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