MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is inviting visitors to the coast for their annual Winter Whale Watch Week.
The event goes from Dec. 27 - 31 during the gray whales' migration period when thousands of the baleen whales will grace Oregon's waters.
According to the OPRD "an estimated 25,000 Gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores over the next several weeks as part of their annual migration south to the warm calving lagoons near Baja, Mexico."
The agency notes that the whale watch week falls during the peak time for the aquatic mammal's migration when roughly 30 whales pass by per hour.
Over 20 whale watching sites on the coast will be staffed with trained volunteers from the Whale Watching Spoken Here program from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. each day.
The volunteer staff will be available to help visitors spot whales and answer questions about the animals.
A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available on the official event webpage.
The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily.
Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views.
Binoculars are provided. Park rangers will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales.
A live stream of whale activity in Depoe Bay can be found on the Oregon State Parks YouTube channel during the event.
For more information about coast state parks and campgrounds, visit oregonstateparks.org.