NEWPORT – The Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will be a busy place the week after Christmas, with special exhibits and daily programming celebrating the annual southward migration of grey whales off Oregon’s coast.
The California grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) is one of the world’s largest mammals, spending its life off the western coast of the US, Canada and Mexico. In the summer, they feed in Alaska’s Bering Sea; in the winter, they move to breeding grounds off Baja California to bear their young. Oregon State Parks celebrates their migratory seasons with winter and spring Whale Watch Weeks, placing trained volunteers at coastal parks and viewpoints to help visitors spot these huge animals as they move near shore.
The Visitor Center, operated by Oregon Sea Grant, will be open daily Dec. 26-31, from 10 am to 4 p.m. with a daily presentation on marine mammals at 1:30 p.m., as well as family activities, films and exhibits about marine mammal research. State Parks plans to post daily statistics about the number of whales spotted off the Oregon coast.
- Download a Whale Watch Week flyer from the HMSC Visitor Center.
- Visit the Oregon State Parks Whale Spoken Here website for a complete list of volunteer-staffed whale-watching sites on the Oregon coast.
- Check out our free, downloadable fact sheets: Gray Whales (available in English and Spanish) and Watching Whales.
- Visit the OSU Marine Mammal Institute website to learn about OSU’s latest whale research.