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Gray whale skeleton exhibit opens in Redondo | PHOTOS

This 40-foot gray whale skeleton hangs from the ceiling of Highline Community College
This 40-foot gray whale skeleton hangs from the ceiling of Highline Community College's MaST Center in Redondo.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs, Federal Way Mirror

Mirror staff reports:

Highline Community College’s Marine Science and Technology Center (MaST) has announced the arrival of its newest resident, a 40-foot gray whale skeleton. (SEE PHOTOS)

An unveiling ceremony is slated for 10 a.m. March 3. The public can view the skeleton 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the center, located next to Salty's in Redondo (28203 Redondo Beach Dr. S.). Admission is free.

The exhibition, “2010 Arroyo Gray Whale, Footprints of a Whale,” features the 1,700-pound gray whale skeleton. Interactive displays will be open through April, and include the blubber, unusual contents of the stomach, a smell station, slideshows and other ways to provide insight into the life of the whale.

The preservation of the original baleen intact in the skeleton makes this gray whale display unlike any other on the West Coast. The baleen is a bristle-like organ in the whale's mouth that serves as filtration system.

The gray whale’s arrival to the MaST Center has been nearly two years in the making. The three- to five-year-old male whale was discovered beached in April 2010 on Arroyo Beach in West Seattle. Highline’s MaST Center received the carcass for research and education. Following the decomposition process, the whale moved to the Foss Waterway Seaport for assembly prior to its permanent display across the ceiling of the MaST Center.

Adult gray whales typically live between 50 to 70 years, measure about 52 feet and weigh about 36 tons.

Making the display a reality required nearly 1,100 hours of volunteer work and significant donations and resources from KeyBank, Foss Waterway Seaport, Cascadia Research Collective, Flying Colors Painting and United Rentals.

SLIDESHOW

Click here to see photos of the whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling of the MaST Center at Redondo Beach.

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