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Whale Watching Center
Whale Watching Center overlooks the Pacific Ocean where over 2,500 whales are seen each year
Type public, state
Location Lincoln County, Oregon, United States
44°48′37″N 124°03′44″W / 44.810142°N 124.06236°W / 44.810142; -124.06236Coordinates: 44°48′37″N 124°03′44″W / 44.810142°N 124.06236°W / 44.810142; -124.06236
Size <2000 sq ft plus outdoor viewing area
Opened November 2004[1]
Operated by Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department
Status open every day during summer (also winter break and spring break); Wednesday through Sunday during autumn, winter, and spring)[2]

The Whale Watching Center is an Oregon State Parks staffed visitor center in Depoe Bay, Oregon, U.S.A. to help visitors observe whale migration and provide information about whales and other marine mammals including history, economics, and their environmental and ecological influences.

Approximately 20,000 whales migrate southward past the center from mid-December to end of January each year. The same number migrate northward, but are distributed throughout mid-March through the first week of June.[3]

Gray whales are the most commonly sighted whales year round along the Oregon Coast.[3] Prime viewing is during the migration seasons of December through January and March through June. July will bring summer feeding whales with peak viewing August through October. Summer is when the whales are the closest to shore making them easier to watch.[4] Other types of whales observed are Humpbacks, Minkes, Orca[3], and sometimes Sperm and Blue whale.[1] There are approximately two thousand five hundred unique whale individuals observed from the center each year.[5]

The center is free to enter, has binoculars for public use, and is out of the weather.

Winter migration brings the highest concentration of whales, with 20,000 passing Oregon from the last week of December through the first week of February, but winter also brings stormy conditions. Good viewing conditions make it possible to see up to thirty whales an hour but winter weather can make observation difficult and the rough seas usually cause the whales to travel farther from shore.

Spring migration brings the whales closer to shore, from a half mile to three miles (5 km) out, and it also brings better viewing weather. The whales are less concentrated as juveniles, adults and mother/baby pairs travel at different times. The last week of March is usually the beginning of the migration past Oregon and continues through the first week of June. Mothers and calves are the slowest moving and usually observed passing Oregon during the month of May.

Whales sometimes spend the summer here instead of traveling to the Alaskan feed grounds. They feed on the clouds of crustaceans (Mysidacea) which hover around the kelp beds. Summer whales feed very close to shore with the best viewing is August through October.

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