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Whale of a Day

A day of family fun and education under the blue whale skeleton

By Heidi Wicks

Update: This event is at capacity; however, if you would like to be added to the waitlist, email munalum@mun.ca before Friday, May 13, and indicate your preferred time slot (10 a.m.–12 p.m.; 12–2 p.m.; or 2–4 p.m.). After Friday, you may be able to pop into the event, if space/capacity permits.

Sparkling and murky, the Atlantic Ocean is a mysterious treasure chest of contrast on Newfoundland and Labrador’s doorstep.

The majestic blue whale skeleton that hangs in Memorial University’s new Core Science Facility (CSF) on the St. John’s campus at 45 Arctic Avenue is representative of the ocean-related expertise that “swims” across our campuses.

On Saturday, May 14, everyone is invited to an open house event that will take place under and around the whale. Come learn the story of the whale skeleton and take part in interactive learning opportunities, and have lots of fun along the way.

Lisa Browne (BA’91, MBA’93), Memorial’s vice-president (advancement and external relations), explains that the event, called Whale of a Day, has a multi-pronged purpose.

“We want people to come and learn about the diverse oceans expertise at Memorial, to see us as a community learning hub, to interact with our outstanding students, faculty and staff and, ultimately, to inspire young people to come to Memorial. We are a province shaped by water, wind and ice and this event will celebrate that.”

Exhibitions for all ages

A number of units will take part.

Some of the featured exhibits include the below

  • The Department of Biology will provide whale interpretation, including the story of the whale’s origin, from its time in the sea to when it was suspended in the Core Science Facility. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the whale heart, anatomy, environment, life cycle and more — getting up close and personal from multiple angles.
  • The Ocean Sciences Centre and the Bonne Bay Marine Station and Public Aquarium will bring touch tanks, allowing visitors to dip their hands in and explore the underwater world of creatures.
Two women in blue shirts demonstrate sea creatures in mini touch tanks.
On Saturday, May 14, come to the Core Science Facility for ocean touch tanks and more!
Photo: Submitted
  • The Geo Centre’s display will look at creatures of the sea, specifically corals and sponges of Newfoundland and Labrador in the Gardens of the Deep exhibit, which will also feature fossilized ocean creatures.
  • The Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning will have a green screen photo booth that will allow visitors to have their own encounter with the mammoth whale.
  • The student robotics team from the Marine Institute and other select programs at Memorial will demonstrate this year’s Eastern Edge competition vehicle and talk about the STEM program. A video display will teach visitors about The Launch — the Marine Institute’s hub of ocean innovation, discovery and leadership.
  • Grenfell Campus representatives will be available to speak about a group of researchers from Mi’kmaw communities, industry partners and researchers from around the globe who recently received nearly $15 million to investigate how repurposed marine biomass can develop new products to create a more sustainable Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Exhibitions from other faculties, including Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Science and Medicine will also be on site with exciting and dynamic displays. Information will also be available on Memorial’s programs.

Future alumni

Alumni are more than welcome and encouraged to return to campus to experience Memorial’s newest landmark.

Ms. Browne adds that Memorial is dedicated to the sustainability and success of Newfoundland and Labrador, and wants to instill pride in the youth of the province.

“Many of the people who will join us on May 14 will be our future students and alumni and future leaders in our province,” she said. “Here at Memorial, our oceans-related research and teaching and learning is addressing real-life challenges and opportunities, at home and globally. That’s something to be very proud of.”

The open house, titled Whale of a Day, takes place on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Masks are mandatory. 

Learn more about the whale here.


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