Explore Our History
Our 40-foot fiberglass gray whale is trucked down Cannery Row. (We took the flippers off to get the whale in the front door.)
Mighty whales from little models grow. The models help the whale makers develop the proper shapes to create a full-scale whale framework.
Gray Whale Models Installed
April 1984Our shop crew in Sand City completes construction of a life-size 43-foot gray whale model and a 22-foot whale calf model. The mother and calf models are loaded onto huge trucks and driven down Del Monte Avenue to the Marine Mammal Gallery, where they are securely suspended from the hall's wooden beams.
Building a whale also involves making sure the door is big enoughgood advice when your whale is 15 ½ feet from flipper to flipper.
A Whale of A ProjectOur shop crew devises its own system of whale modeling, using the skills of boat builders, biologists, designers and carmakers. First, designers manipulate small foam whale mannequins into diving or leaping positions. Then a sculptor carves small-scale models that are blown up on an opaque projector. Using the projections, the crew develops particle-board frames and covers them with urethane foam.
After hours of grinding the models into perfect form, crafters add a final layer of fiberglass and many coats of paint. The crew applies the finishing touch by adding hundreds of carefully crafted latex barnacles and whale lice.