Pacific Grove, California: Dead Gray Whale Monument

Statue of a beached whale along the walkway outside the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Address:
165 Forest Ave., Pacific Grove, CA
Directions:
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Corner of Central and Forest.
Hours:
Always visible. (Call to verify)
Phone:
831-648-5716
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Dead whale statue. Dead Gray Whale Monument

The dead whale statue is awesome.

[Eric, 01/21/2010]
Beached Whale. Dead Whale Monument

At the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History there appears to be a large statue of a dead, beached whale. Cast from concrete and accented with metal, there is a plaque nearby which explains,

"Sandy" The Gray Whale
by Larry Foster
Presented to the Children of Monterey County
by Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Assoc.
and American Cetacean Society Monterey Bay Chapter, 1982

Unfortunately, any whale lying flat on dry land looks beached, and the appearance of "Sandy" being an ex-whale is accentuated by the fact that the artist chose to depict her with her eyes closed. Whales are conscious breathers and engage in unihemispherical sleeping -- only half of their brain sleeps at any given time. Therefore, their eyes are almost NEVER closed until they "swim west." I asked the aging docent in the gift shop why the artist chose to have Sandy's eyes closed, remarking that it made her look dead. The docent looked confused for a moment, then replied, "Maybe whales close their eyes a lot." After this profound bit of cetological insight I resigned myself to the fact that there were no answers to be had from that source and went on my way. So, the kids of Monterey County now enjoy climbing on what appears to be a gray whale carcass lying in the middle of town, an ironic monument to marine mammal conservation.

[Blake H. Lindsey, 05/14/2005]

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