Port Townsend marine center to feature orca information on two Saturdays

PORT TOWNSEND — June will be “Orca Month” at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, which plans two “Orca Saturdays” offering hands-on activities at the Natural History Exhibit.

The first day will be Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

The second will be Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During Orca Saturdays, both children and adults can learn about the process of reassembling the orca skeleton, a job that volunteers with the center in Fort Worden State Park have finished, under the direction of specialist Lee Post.

The skeleton will be displayed in a new Ocean Science Hall once it is constructed.

Visitors on Orca Saturdays also can learn about the sounds orcas make and how researchers study them, where the whales are currently traveling and how orca families are similar to and different from human families.

The center has an ongoing Orca Project Capital Campaign to fund construction of the new exhibit hall, which will feature the reassembled skeleton of the orca named Hope.

Story of Hope

The story of Hope began Jan. 2, 2002, when a dead female orca washed up on the inside of Dungeness Spit in Sequim. The carcass contained a high level of toxic contaminants.

Another orca, assumed to be her son, was nearby in shallow water, alive and staying close to the dead female. Eventually, the young male orca was towed into deeper water.

The dead orca was buried in manure and allowed to decompose until nothing was left but the bones.

It originally was given no name but rather a catalog number, CA-189.

But the center later held a contest among children attending spring programming and Whale Camp and came up with the name, Hope.

Video, displays

The new exhibit hall is intended to not only display the skeleton, but also to contain video, hydrophone technology and other displays, and class instruction space.

Located on the beach at Fort Worden State Park, the center offers the Marine Exhibit as well as the Natural History Exhibit.

Both are open from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for youths and free to members of the center.

For more information, phone 360-385-5582, email [email protected] or visit www.ptmsc.org.

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