South Australian Whale Centre

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.

Price range

BUDGET

Contact details

2 Railway Tce, Victor Harbor; (08) 8551 0750

Don't Miss

■ The giant skull of a southern right whale.

■ The chance to dig for fossils in the sandpit.
 
■ Kids Zone cubby house guarded by a giant squid – kids love to crawl inside and see glow-in-the- dark skeletons. Also in Kids Zone is a touch table where they can learn how to identify and recognise  shells they might find on the beach.
 
■ The Rodney Clark shark exhibit – how many of the true/false questions can the kids (or you) get  right?
 
■ The Ngarrindjeri (local Indigenous) dwelling made of whale ribs. Discover other Ngarrindjeri uses  for whales beached in the area: they not only ate the meat, but also used the ear bones for drinking vessels, and rubbed the oil on their skin to keep off winter cold.

Fabulous Facts

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.

Insider Tips

■ Pick up an exploration trail sheet and pencils as you enter the museum. These are fun activity sheets  for kids to fill in.

■ There is no cafe in this museum, but there are plenty of places to eat in the surrounding area.

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