The Whale Museum
San Juan County
San Juan Island
62 First Street North
Every day 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sure, everybody likes Orca whales. But how much do you really know about them? Unless you have a degree in marine biology, you’re guaranteed to learn something at the Whale Museum about these amazing creatures.
The museum offers a number of separate exhibits relating to these great mammals. As visitors proceed up to the second floor of the building, the eerie underwater chirps and whistles of the whales greet them. A reconstructed skeleton and a scale model of the black-and-white whale dominate the main room, an impressive sight indeed. The biological similarities between the bones in a human hand and a whale fin make a graphic case for Darwin’s theories of evolution.
The collection of exhibits ranges from genealogical and biological to folklore and legend. The Tlingit legend of the origin of the Orca whale is described here, as well as reproductions of Native Art depicting the spiritual relationship between man and whale. A 25-minute video loops in a separate alcove with close-up footage of the whales in their natural habit, focusing on recent behavioral research results by local biologists.
"Killer" whale migratory routes are mapped out, as well as that of other regional marine mammals. Surprising facts about the whales are bulleted for the museum visitors who find reading books difficult ("Local Orca whales have a diet that is 97% salmon!"). Diagrams of echolocation and an explanation of how whales use it to navigate are included. Perhaps the most intriguing display is the genealogy of the Southern Resident Community of Orcas, the J, K and L pods. Whales were separated into pods and sub pods with birth dates and affiliations, just like a human genealogy tree.
NOTE: Call for winter hours.
Go up two blocks from the ferry on Spring Street and hang a right. The museum is two blocks ahead on your right.
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San Juan Islands