From late December to mid-April thousands of gray whales migrate from the food-rich waters of the Bering Sea to Baja California lagoons where they mate, bear their young and return almost 7,000 miles to the Arctic. Several Southern California organizations provide educational opportunities to learn firsthand about these 30- to 40-ton marine mammals:
The Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro is in its 17th year of whale watching trips. Led by naturalists from the museum, trips continue every day through the beginning of April. There will also be a special one-day class on marine mammals followed by a trip led by Educational Curator Steve Vogel on Feb. 11. For information on the daily trips, call (213) 832-4444. For information on the special class/trip outing, call (213) 548-7563.
Channel Islands National Park, through its concessionaire, Island Packers, offers visitors a chance to explore one of the Channel Islands, as well as view the whales from park concession vessels. Sea lions and killer whales have been spotted on and around the islands. Park rangers will also present educational programs about the whales at the park's visitor Center in Ventura Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For trip information, call (805) 642-1393. For park program information, call (805) 642-8262.
Naturalists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Aquarium-Museum in La Jolla will lead two two-hour cruises to observe migrating whales off the San Diego coastline Feb. 12. The first cruise leaves at 9 a.m., the second at 11:30 a.m. Call (619) 534-4578.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History naturalists will be on board the 88-foot Condor to help participants learn more about whales and other marine life of the Santa Barbara Channel in a series of weekend excursions Feb. 25 through Mar. 19. Call (805) 682-4711.
Participants in the San Diego Natural History Museum's whale watching trips can examine specimens such as a whale rib and baleen plates and possibly sight a newborn gray whale calf. Museum naturalists will offer talks on the weekend trips through Feb. 19. Call (619) 232-3821, Ext. 203.
SCIENCE FOR KIDS
Children, age 7 and up, can examine and learn about local marine life in a one-day field trip, including a boat trip from San Pedro, sponsored by the Westside Arts Center and the Oceanic Society on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (213) 453-3966.
Previously unseen footage of the space shuttle, solar eruptions and northern lights will highlight a new video to be shown at the Los Angeles Astronomical Society general meeting Feb. 13 at Griffith Park Observatory. Admission to the meeting is free, but reservations are required. Call (213) 926-4071.
Human beings first set foot on the moon in 1969. What we have learned about our closest celestial neighbor since that time will be the topic of the Los Angeles Valley College Planetarium show Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Call (818) 781-1200, Ext. 335.