How well do you know What about Whales?

Have you noticed those colorful pillows in the What about Whales? exhibit?  They’re more than just a cozy place to rest after dancing up a storm while acting like a whale in front of the green screen.*  Each pillow mimics the size and shape of one of Istar the humpback whale’s organs.

A key:

  • Red, (Teardrop-Shaped) = heart
  • Pink (Long and Wavy) = lung
  • Purple (Elongated) = kidney
  • Orange (Blob) = liver
  • Yellow (Shaped like a Filled in number 8 ) = stomach
Peeking at Istar from the second floor Book Nook

Another idea for getting the most out of What about Whales?: play a migration game using the painted sandwich boards in the center of the exhibit.  Ask your child to wear the “see like a whale” goggles and try walking towards the big glass doors at the back of the first floor while you try to interrupt his or her journey by acting out the many hazards (described on the small red signs) that a humpback whale encounters while traveling to the warm Caribbean for the winter.

The summer months humpback whales spend in the Gulf of Maine are a time to fill up on mackerel and plankton and build up their fat stores.  Then, during the winter breeding season, humpbacks eat much less.  Imagine if a couple months of the year, you ate all you could, and then just had a couple of small snacks each day for the rest of the year!  Unlike whales, people need regular meals all year round.

After your game, talk about ways people help protect whales.  Here’s an example: in areas including Boston Harbor and the Bay of Fundy, shipping lanes have been changed to avoid the places where whales are most commonly spotted, reducing the likelihood of collisions between whales and boats.

* Note: to the left of the exhibit entrance, kids who don a whale costume and step in front of the camera projector will see themselves on video with humpback whales in the ocean.  This setup uses the same technology used to place weather forecasters in front of a digital map on TV!