Cabrillo National Park hosts whale welcome festival this weekend

San Diego Skyline as seen from the Cabrillo National Monument. Photo by Chuck Szmurlo taken Dec. 10, 2006. wikimedia
San Diego Skyline as seen from the Cabrillo National Monument. Photo by Chuck Szmurlo taken Dec. 10, 2006. wikimedia

The 24th annual Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival will run 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 15-16 at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego’s National Park.

This educational, family-oriented event celebrates the return of an estimated 20,000 Pacific gray whales to Point Loma as part of their annual, round-trip migration from Baja California to Alaska. It also touts the intertidal life found in the tidepool area on the monument’s western shore.

There will be guest speakers sharing their knowledge of gray whales and other cetaceans, as well as intertidal habitat and ecology, plus films and activities for children.

Also on tap will be exhibitors providing activities and information about whales, tidepools and their organizations both days in the visitor center breezeway and “View

Building” from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  These include Cabrillo

National Monument Foundation, San Diego Maritime Museum, I Love a Clean San Diego, Chula Vista Nature Center, San Diego Oceans Foundation, Pacific Crest Trail Association, H&M Landing, Sierra Club, Birch Aquarium, Friends of La Jolla Seals, Sea World, Sail San Diego, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Cabrillo National Monument.

Park rangers, Volunteers-In- Parks (VIPs), and volunteers from the San Diego Natural History Museum will assist visitors in spotting whales and exploring the monument’s tidepool area. The best locations to watch for whales are on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, so bring binoculars and dress warmly.

Low tides of 0.0’ will take place at 12:51 p.m. Saturday and 0.6’ will take place at 1:27 p.m. Sunday.

Parking at the tidepools will be limited to visitors with disabilities. Free shuttles will run between the visitor center and tidepool parking lots between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.

All events are included with the park entrance fee of $5 per vehicle and $3 for motorcyclists, bicyclists and walk-ins (valid for 7 days from date of purchase).

Cabrillo National Monument is on Point Loma at the south end of Catalina Blvd. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (619) 557-5450 or visit


Note: The DVD “On the Edge of Land and Sea: The Tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument” will be available for purchase in the Cabrillo Store.

Event Agenda


10 a.m. - Park Ranger Bonnie Phillips will speak about the tidepools of Cabrillo

11 a.m. - Park volunteer Don Vaughn will lead a discussion on the geology inside the monument at the park’s tidepool area

Noon - Patricia Schick, science writer at SeaWorld San Diego, will talk about whale diversity

1 p.m. - John Hildebrand of Scripps Institution of Oceanography will discuss marine mammal mcoustics in South California

2 p.m. - San Diego Maritime Museum Docent Jim Bergante will talk about the history of the San Diego waterfront

3 p.m. - U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will lead a family-friendly program about protecting marine life

4 p.m. - Ed Parnell, marine biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will speak about the Marine Life Protection Act



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