The 24th annual Festival of Whales at Dana Point will begin Saturday, marking the height of gray whale-watching season. The festival offers a variety of activities for families that teach about the great mammals that migrate off the Southern California coast.
The Orange County Marine Institute will host an open house of its facilities and marine wildlife cruises aboard the new RV Sea Explorer. Tide pool tours, a children's carnival, campfire programs, demonstrations and displays by environmental organizations will also be offered weekends during the four-week festival. Daily events will include whale-watching excursions, children's activities and OCMI Exhibits. The Festival will run through March 5. Call (800) 290-DANA.
* The general meeting of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society will feature a newly produced video, "The New Solar System, an Epic Adventure," at 7:45 p.m. Monday at Griffith Observatory. (213) 727-7909.
* Jan Ludwinski, chief of mission planning for Galileo at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will discuss "Close Encounters in Space: the Challenges and Rewards of the Galileo Mission," at 7 p.m. tonight in Roth Hall at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica. (310) 829-7391, Ext. 231.