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Grey whale.

Beached Grey Whale Statue

Field review by the editors.

Santa Cruz, California

To us, whale sculptures in this pose always look beached and dead. Santa Cruz has enough Pacific shoreline that it has seen its share of unfortunate strandings; a statue is more enduring and less odorous.

The life-size female California grey whale is an "educational tool" according to its plaque, commissioned by the local museum association, and lies in front of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. It was designed by artist Larry Foster and fabricated by Al Hipkins, dedicated in October 1982.

The whale sculpture is about 5-ft. high -- originally a layer of concrete over a hollow, internal wooden framework. Its smooth contours immediately made it a popular climbing and play spot for kids. All the physical love has worn down the giant sea mammal, so in 2009-10 it was filled with concrete and refurbished.

It's about 50 ft. long, which is a typical size of a mature grey whale.

Beached Grey Whale Statue

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

1305 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, CA
Between Pilkington Ave and Mott Ave along E. Cliff Dr.
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