Love is all around the Santa Monica Pier.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium will celebrate the love of the Pacific gray whale this weekend.

Heal the Bay is an environmental non-profit, dedicated to making the coastal waters of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean.

“We are all about protecting the wildlife, especially when they are in the ocean,” said Heal the Bay Outreach Manager, Randi Parent.

Heal the Bay Aquarium’s annual Whale of a Weekend takes place Feb. 11 and Feb. 12. This will be the twelfth year that the organization will host whale related activities that will be ongoing on both Sat. and Sun. from 12:30 – 5 p.m.

Each winter Pacific gray whales complete one of the largest migrations of any species, traveling 10,000 to 14,000 miles round trip between the Artic seas and the warm lagoons of Baja California in Mexico.

The migration takes the whales past the Santa Monica Pier, sometimes within viewing distance from the Pier’s west end observation deck. These whales can reach a length of 50 feet and weigh nearly 40 short tons.

“The whales past by Santa Monica Bay twice each year,” said Parent. “They travel north during the summer and during late Fall, early Winter, they travel back down to Baja, California. Because they recently had their baby they typically stay closer to shore this time around, which gives us an opportunity to see them.”

Visitors at this event can explore the 100+ species within the aquarium and be able to feel the heft of a whale rib, and have the opportunity to try on a layer of simulated whale blubber for warmth.

“It is always neat to see a kid learn where his rib is and then compare it to a whales rib,” said Parent.

The aquarium will also be offering face painting, and a crafts station.

On Saturday, there will be a Wildlife Observation Station on the West End of Pier from 1 – 4 p.m. There will also be a Whale of a Tale Story Time for the little ones at 2 p.m.

Tables and tents will be set up on the Pier with staff to talk and explain about the wildlife that surrounds Santa Monica. There will also be binoculars available to catch a glimpse of the dolphins, sea lions and maybe even a calf.

On Sunday, the Aquarium will host a Shark Feeding activity along with a presentation at 3:30 p.m.

To be part of this lovely devotion to the gray whales visit the Aquarium at 1600 Ocean Front Walk. Beach level beneath the Pier’s Merry Go Round.

Admission is free for children 12 and under, and for all others admission is $5. For more information call (310) 393-6149.

marina@smdp.com

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