2020 Celebration of the Whales Offers Chalk Art, Family Fun, Live Music, and Prizes!


With the continued expansion of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the safety of the public in mind, we have decided to cancel the 23rd Annual Celebration of the Whales event, scheduled for Sunday, March 22, 2020.

According to Governor Gavin Newsom, California’s public health experts determined March 11, 2020 that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if organizers can implement social distancing of 6-feet per person.

The Celebration of the Whales is a popular event and attendance far exceeds 250 people. We are committed to doing our part to help protect the health of event volunteers, staff, attendees, and Ventura County residents.

The Celebration of Whales Festival is a collaborative event among the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, Harbor lessees, businesses, and the Ventura County Harbor Department.

It’s going to be hard for visitors who attend the 23rd Annual Celebration of the Whales at the Channel Islands Harbor to not walk away with something.

From discounts on Harbor recreational activities and restaurant specials to free whale hats and swag, there will be free treats for everyone.

This year’s event will feature new family-friendly activities, chalk art, live music, and prize drawings that include whale watching excursions for the entire family.

The event is being held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. Activities will be held at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, Channel Islands Harbor Farmers Market, Marine Emporium Landing and a “Gray Whale Migration Trail” along the marina path that connects the activity centers.

Gray Whale Migration Trail

Children and adults can both enjoy the migration trail, which will be lined with prizes, educational activities and more than 20 pieces of sidewalk chalk art.

To participate in the migration trail, families can pick up a special whale hat, passport, and map that helps navigate the route. Hats, passports, and the map can be picked up at designated booths at the Farmers Market or Maritime Museum.

Stops along the trail include “Whale of a Wheel,” “Become a Whale Detective,” “Become a Whale Explorer,” and “Become a Whale Designer.” If participants complete the four stops on the trail, they will be eligible to win whale watching tickets (courtesy of Islands Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching) along with a variety of other prizes.

Channel Islands Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum will host the Celebration of Whales Festival. At the Maritime Museum, there will be contests, a bounce house, family activities, arts & crafts, and live music. A number of organizations will also have booths set up so attendees can learn about marine-themed topics.

Channel Islands Farmers Market

The Farmers Market will feature an arts & crafts market featuring marine-related items, children’s activities, whale facts, and educational booths.

Marine Emporium Landing

The Marine Emporium Landing will be the stop to take a spin on the “Whale of a Wheel.” Participants can spin the wheel and walk away with discounts which include: $5 gift cards to SeaFresh Channel Islands; 2 kayak rental for the price of one from the Channel Islands Kayak Center; $25 off an electric boat ride from Southern California Jet Skis and Electric Boats; 25% off a parasail excursion through Channel Islands Parasail.

In addition to prizes, local restaurants at Marine Emporium Landing will offer special discounts and live music will be offered at Waterside Restaurant. (SeaFresh Channel Islands will offer a 15% discount all day, with the exception of discounts on Happy Hour items and alcohol.)

The Celebration of Whales is a collaborate event among the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, Harbor lessees, businesses, and the Ventura County Harbor Department that celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale.

Editor’s Note: this story was published on February 11, 2020 and will be updated as needed.