Explore Our History
It took workers two days to remove the flesh from the bones—a whale of a task!
Whale wash at the car wash.
The assembled gray whale skeleton now hangs in our Marine Mammal Gallery.
Our Gray Whale Skeleton
September 1980A 27-foot gray whale washes ashore on the Sand City beach, providing a golden opportunity to salvage the skeleton for display at the Aquarium. A team of scientists and volunteers retrieves the bones, buries them in a pit at the Naval Postgraduate School for a year, then cleans and reassembles them for display at the Aquarium.
The Skeleton CrewExtracting the skeleton of a dead whale requires quick action and some creative thinking. The bones are buried to allow the remaining fragments to rot off the bones. After a year, a crew digs up the bones, loads them into trucks and runs them through a local car wash to rinse the rotted remains from the skeleton. After further treating the skeleton in the Aquarium, scientists carefully reassemble the skeleton and hang it in the main hall.