New Whale Museum

Nope, no live critters, but lots of bones and cool exhibits
BY: HERMAN MELVILE

There is a very interesting museum in La Paz, right on the malecón in front of the big kiosk, in the core of historic downtown. The Museum has 25 skeletons of the big guys, and it’s touted as one of the most important collections of whale paraphernalia  in the world. It could be, it’s pretty complete. Of course this brings up the question of where you go to find a complete whale skeleton, or if they had to carve the meat off the bone, or maybe it was picked clean by sea gulls? Are we the only ones who wonder about these things? Must be, because this issue wasn’t addressed in the museum. All that was told was it takes more than a year to get a new skeleton dried out, assembled, and hung from the rafters.  Executive Director of the museum, Francisco Gómez, bills himself as a master skeleton builder.

You can wander around the bone yard to learn about killer whales, regular plain vanilla whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and a few other shirt tail relatives of the whale family. 45 species of marine mammals live in the four bodies of water that surround Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez have 35 of them; 30 of them are Cetaceans, and the rest are pinnipeds (sea lions, seals, etc.).

Some of the biggest exhibits are creatively lit and hung from the ceiling, giving us a guppy’s eye view of a fierce predator.

The purpose of the museum is to spread scientific knowledge, to attract younger generations to engage in this field of science, and to promote the preservation of marine mammals and other sea life, especially here in the Sea of Cortez. The skeletons are pressed into service as an educational tool for kids, so they bring in lots of school groups you’re going to have to pick your way around.

If you want to know more about marine mammals and care for a fun and educational day in La Paz, you have to visit this place. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm. Adults $160 pesos and children $120 pesos. For Baja California Sur residents, the entrance fee is $80 pesos for adults and $60 pesos for children (bring an ID). If you wish, you may book a guided tour in English; just call or send a whatsapp message to Francisco Gómez (612 348 5238) to make your appointment for the language of your choice.