South Australian Whale Centre
Back to nature
This is only a small museum, but it is packed with exhibits in hidden nooks and crannies. Watch your kids turn into little marine scientists as they set up real X-rays of animals on a viewer and try to identify each skeleton – snakes and starfish are easy, but some creatures are more challenging – or look through magnifying glasses at bits of baleen and other marine artefacts. On a large model whale boat, kids are challenged to find and identify the oars, harpoons and more obscure parts such as the piggin (the bailer), and then push buttons to make the right parts of the model light up to check if their answers were correct.
2 Railway Tce, Victor Harbor; (08) 8551 0750
■ The giant skull of a southern right whale.
A new-born southern right whale is 4–5 metres long and weighs 1 tonne, and it can double its weight in the first week! Before the coming of whale hunters in the 19th century, there were probably 100 000 southern right whales in the sea around southern Australia. There are now only about 7000. They were hunted nearly to extinction before they became protected in 1935. They were called ‘southern rights’ because they lived in the Southern Hemisphere and they were the ‘right’ ones to hunt since they swam very slowly, close to shore, and floated when they were killed.
■ Pick up an exploration trail sheet and pencils as you enter the museum. These are fun activity sheets for kids to fill in.