If you aspire to go whale watching, but don’t think your kids are ready to sit still for the bumpy boat ride, there’s a new exhibit in town that you you’ll want to check out. The Natural History Museum’s new educational exhibit “Whales: Giants of the Deep” will leave your family in awe of whales and their world. A visit to the exhibit is sure to spark conversation about the many creatures living hidden in the sea and how we all share this planet. Dive in and see what it’s all about.

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All About the Whales
Though some of the exhibit will capture toddler and preschooler’s imagination, the exhibit as a whole is more geared toward elementary and older kiddos. As you enter the exhibit, you’ll view a replica of the whale’s head from the movie Whale Rider. To the right is an animated folktale that presents the relationship between people of the South Pacific an the powerful influence whales have had on their culture. The animation may draw little kids in, but the storyline has some scary elements for kids under 8. Venture further into the exhibit and you’ll find the best elements of the exhibit for little ones.

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What’s Great to See With the Littlest Ones
Climb into a replica of a blue whale’s heart. It’s pretty amazing that several kids can comfortably play in this structure at once. While inside, they’ll be able to watch a video of whales underwater. Walk around the articulated skeletons of two sperm whales. The enormity is sure to leave an impression on all family members.

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Fun for School-Aged Kids
There are plenty of multimedia hands-on activities where kids can interact with technology to learn more about these fascinating creatures. Enter a sonic chamber and compare the variety of sounds of different types of whale echolocation and learn how scientists track whale migrations.

Kids will enjoy a Dolphin Danger video game. Maneuver the dolphin to avoid nets and trash. A simple, but clear message about dangers sea creatures face due to man.

Learn about the evolution of whales from land to sea, the history of whaling and why groups are taking great measures to protect these giants of the sea. Since the exhibit is presented in unison with Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, if you love the culture of the South Pacific, there are beautiful artifacts from New Zealand to explore as well.

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For the Whole Family
Watch the film Whales in 3D. This 40-minute movie is just the right length to keep little one’s attention and is included with admission. Kids will like the cool 3D glasses. You’re sure to be impressed as you submerge yourself into the whales’ underwater world. You’ll come eye to eye with a whale, hear the haunting songs of a humpback, and see a baleen whale swallow a whole school of fish in one gulp. Warning! The lulling music and underwater shots are so soothing you may feel like taking a nap if you’re sleepy.

1788 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-232-3821
Online: sdnhm.org

Have you checked out the new Whales exhibit yet? What did you think?

— Cherie Gough (photos too)