Sightings of whales along the Southern California coast are already exceeding last year’s record-breaking numbers and Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is inviting residents to show some love for the whales Feb. 14-15 during “Whale of a Weekend.”

Whale-themed activities will be ongoing both days from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the marine science center, 1600 Ocean Front Walk, located beach level at the Pier.

The Pacific gray whale completes one of the longest migrations of any species, traveling as many as 14,000 miles round trip between the arctic seas and the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. This migration takes the whales past the Santa Monica Pier — sometimes within viewing distance from the west end observation deck.

Aquarium visitors can feel the heft of a whale rib, check out bristly baleen and try on a layer of (simulated) whale blubber for warmth. Kids of all ages can have their faces painted and make a whale visor to take home. Learn more interesting facts about these gentle giants — and other marine mammals — at the Aquarium through story time and film screenings. “Whale You Be My Valentine?” scheduled for 1:30 p.m. both days in the Aquarium’s Green Room, is a staff-led presentation chock full of facts about California cetaceans.

Aquarium naturalists, along with representatives of the American Cetacean Society, will staff a wildlife observation station at the west end of the Santa Monica Pier. Those who stop by are welcome to spy for whales through binoculars and field guides will be available to identify local birds and other marine life.

Learn more at or call (310) 393-6149.

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