Outreach & Education Center
HOURS: Thurs - Sun. 10 am - 4 pm (Free Admission)
185 S. First St. Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
The Center for Whale Research (CWR) opened the ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center to address a need for effective public outreach about orcas. Read Will an insightful outreach and education approach help bring back the Southern Resident orcas for some background on Ken Balcomb’s downtown Friday Harbor vision.
Since the Summer of 2018, 15,000 people from across North America and worldwide have learned about orcas and how they can help the struggling Southern Resident orca population from knowledgeable CWR staff and volunteers. Take a video tour of the ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center.
The mission of the ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center is to educate and give back to the public the information and knowledge that the Center for Whale Research and our colleagues have gathered during 46 years of research of killer whales (orcas) in the waters around the San Juan Islands.
(Click on the underlined links to learn more)
ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center
Attractions, Exhibits, and Activities:
Orca Education Stations. Watch drone videos of orcas taken by CWR field researchers. Learn how to ID individual whales. Find out which whales are females and males, their ages, and who’s related.
Lectures with Experts. Learn about whales from CWR field researchers and guest lecturers.
The Whale Skull. See a full-size, real-life orca skull.
*ORCA GEAR. Shop for ORCA GEAR for yourself, family, and friends: unique orca t-shirts and caps, coffee mugs, whale stickers and magnets, greeting cards, and a Ken Balcomb co-authored book. Orca Gear proceeds support CWR research, education, and advocacy. *Not available online at this time.
BELOW: Take a video tour of CWR’s ORCA SURVEY Outreach & Education Center in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.
Orca Education Stations
Vast expertise about the Southern Resident & Bigg’s orcas
Trained CWR staff and volunteers on hand to help.
We bring you face to face with orcas in new and innovative ways. See big-screen video of the whales in the wild taken from our research boats and Center for Whale Research’s drones. Enjoy other fun and educational displays. Learn from trained CWR staff and volunteers on hand to answer questions about our beloved local whales.
The Center for Whale Research emphasizes that the Southern Resident orcas’ primary threat is a lack of food security. They require a constant diet of healthy natural wild Chinook salmon. Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center staff stress that a sustainable source of the Southern Resident orcas’ main food—Chinook salmon—is critical to the whales’ survival.
We encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the plight of the 73 whales in the Southern Resident orca population. With this new knowledge, we ask you to stand with CWR and speak out loudly and clearly for the powers that be to do what’s necessary to ensure these whales live long into the future.
Orca Survey Education & Outreach Manager Katie Jones is available for ZOOM talks about Southern Resident and Bigg’s Transient killer whales. Contact her at email@example.com for more information!
Lectures with Experts
Learn from the orca experts!
Public and private educational gatherings.
Whether it’s a private children’s event like the Bellevue/Eastside Girl Scout Troop’s visit or a public presentation like CWR’s Dr. Astrid van Ginneken’s “WHALE STORIES WITH ASTRID,” our Lectures with Experts are educational . . . and fun!
Watch for our announcements about upcoming Lectures with Experts at the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center. Follow us on Facebook.
Photograph: Bellevue/Eastside Girl Scout Troop during a visit to the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center before COVID-19 protocols (now lifted).
The Whale Skull
A full-size, real-life orca skull!
It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before—a popular exhibit for all ages.
Probably the closest you will ever get to a full-size, real-life Bigg’s Transient killer whale skull. We have it enclosed in a display case for its protection, but you can still see all of the little, oops, BIG details. How many teeth does it have?
Unique orca t-shirts
Center for Whale Research caps
Orca picture coffee mugs
Whale stickers and magnets
Book co-authored by CWR’s Ken Balcomb.
*Not available online at this time.
Shop for yourself, family, and friends.
Orca treasures to take home
Orca Gear proceeds support CWR research, education, and advocacy.
Photograph (above): Lodie GILBERT BUDWILL, CWR Community Relations Coordinator, giving other members of the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center construction team the thumbs up.
One person’s vision
Read the CWR Blog: Will an insightful outreach and education approach help bring back the Southern Resident orcas? For the story behind Center for Whale Research Founder and Senior Scientist Ken Balcomb’s vision of building the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center.
Grand Opening: August 21, 2018
Several hundred people visited and celebrated during the Orca Survey Outreach & Education Center’s opening day on August 21, 2018. The photographs below are from the Grand Opening.