• Additional Whale Festival Events

  • Boat Tours

    Book a whale-watching boat tour to encounter the whales up close. Boats leave from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg. Call the Chamber for referrals at 707-961-6300.

    Point cabrillo whale puzzlePoint Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park Hosts Whale Festival March 3rd, 4th, 17th and 18th, 2018. 

    For one of the best spots for whale watching along the Mendocino Coast travel to Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. The Lighthouse was built on a point of land extending westward into the Pacific Ocean to enable the light to be most visible to ships passing by. This extension makes Point Cabrillo a brilliant location from which to watch the migration of the Gray Whales between the lagoons of Baja Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Ocean. 

    Fun for all ages will happen March 3 and 4, and March 17 and 18, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Docents will be on hand with binoculars to help visitors find the whales swimming past. The curious may discover tidepool organisms without getting their feet wet by visiting the 250 gallon salt water aquarium at the Marine Science Education exhibit in the restored Blacksmith shop. Displays and trained docents at the Lighthouse and First Assistant Lightkeeper’s House will help illuminate what life was like for people living on or visiting the Point.  

    On this special occasion, PCLK volunteers and members of The Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer tours of the tower including the beautifully restored 3rd Order Fresnel lens for a donation of $5 per person. Children must be 42 inches tall to participate.

    Come try your talent at assembling a life-size gray whale jigsaw puzzle. Discover how marine mammal rescue volunteers help stranded seal and sea lions along the coast. Explore local birds with The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society by joining their beginning bird identification walks starting at 9am from the upper parking lot at Point Cabrillo Light Station SHP each day of Whale Festival.

    Weather permitting, Docents will lead walks to nearby Frolic Cove and relate the story of the Boston Owned Clipper Brig “Frolic”, wrecked off the cove in July 1850, bound from China to San Francisco with a valuable cargo of Chinese merchandise for the Gold Rush miners and their families.

    The Lighthouse Gift Shop is the perfect place to find original artwork, fascinating books, and unique gifts. 

    About Gray Whales
    Every spring, Gray Whales journey with their newborn calves from the protected lagoons of western Baja to their feeding grounds in the waters of the Bering, Chukchi and Arctic Seas. The whales migrating past Point Cabrillo belong to the Eastern Pacific Gray Whale population of roughly 20,000 to 25,000 individuals. These figures represent a strong recovery of the population since attempts to ban hunting of the Grays were initiated by international treaty in 1937. Most members of the Eastern Pacific Gray whales pass by Point Cabrillo twice; once on their southward journey from November to March, and with some returning north as early as February and others traveling through May. Newly pregnant females lead the northward migration, followed by males, and the last to leave Baja are usually females with new-born calves. 

    Directions to the Light Station
    The Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park is two miles north of Mendocino and six miles south of Fort Bragg. Take the Point Cabrillo Drive exit from Hwy 1 and follow the signs. Festival activities are an easy half-mile walk from the parking area.  Handicapped parking is available. A $5 per vehicle donation will be requested to support the PCLK’s educational programs.  Bring warm, windproof clothing. We have binoculars to share. The Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park is a unit of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Light Station is managed by the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association under a concession contract with State Parks.

    For additional information, please visit www.pointcabrillo.org, or call the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce at 707 961-6300. 

    34th Annual Whale Run and Walk

    Soroptimist international of Fort Bragg will be holding their 34th Annual Whale Run and Walk on March 17 starting at 7:30am. For more information and to register visit www.soroptimistfortbraggca.org .

    22nd Annual Beer Festival

    Fort Bragg Rotary Club is holding their 22nd Annual Beer Festival on March 17th from 12-4pm. Will be at the historic Eagles Hall (210 N. Corry St.). Tickets are $30. Come and enjoy the live music and BBQ.

    MacKerricher State Park

    Whale skeletonLocated three miles North of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, is an ideal location for watching the gray whale migration. The park has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk allowing access to the headlands of Laguna Point with stunning views of the coastline.

    The 2018 Whale Festival is a ‘must attend’ event on March 16th, 17th and 18th. Events and admission to the park are free and all ages are welcome.  Events are listed below. For additional information or questions contact (707)961-0471 or visit www.mendoparks.org.

    Friday, March 16th, 7:00 p.m. Lecture to take place in the Veterans’ Memorial Building located at 360 North Harrison St., in Fort Bragg. Join State Parks for an exciting lecture given by a guest speaker about the whales of the Pacific. Refreshments, interactive activities and a raffle to take place at the time of the lecture.  Event to take place rain or shine.

    Saturday, March 17th, beginning at 11 a.m.
    Whale Walk at MacKerricher State Park
    Docents and State Parks’ staff lead informative guided whale walks. The program will start at the Visitor Center and whale skeleton for discussion before driving to Laguna Point for whale watching. Binoculars are available. Event to take place rain or shine. Dress appropriately.

    Saturday, March 17th: 1 to 3 p.m.
    Family event includes artrs and crafts, games and educational activities.
    Learn all about the whales of the Pacific in this interactive learning event. Visit our education stations to collect information so you can build your very own badge of whale knowledge. Play games, make art, listen to music and enjoy a free hot dog lunch (donations accepted). Event to take place rain or shine. Dress appropriately.

    Sunday, March 18th, 1 to 3 p.m.  Help preserve our whale skeleton.

    Mendocino Headlands State Park

    Located in Mendocino village off HWY 1. The park will hold the following events at the Ford House Visitor Center and Museum, 45035 Main Street, Mendocino, CA open 11am to 4pm daily:

    Paul Maeding, "Dolphins," stoneware

    Built in 1854 for Jerome Ford, the acknowledged founder of Mendocino, the Ford House has exhibits highlighting the area’s natural and cultural history, including a scale model of Mendocino as it was in 1890. For additional information, visit the Ford House online at http://mendoparks.org , on Facebook, or by calling the Ford House Visitor Center at (707) 937-5397.

    Schedule of Events at the Ford House:

    "Whale Tales" - Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor's Center, featuring bones from a Gray Whale, information regarding the gray whale migration, and an interactive exhibit that lets you quiz yourself on whale facts. Thought the month of March.

    Knowledgeable docents will be on hand at the Ford House throughout the Whale Festival with tips on when and where to watch for whales, and to answer questions regarding gray whale natural history.  

    Docent-led whale watch walks - Walks are scheduled during the Mendocino Whale Festival at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd, and 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 4th. A limited number of binoculars and spotting scopes are available. Meet at the Ford House.

    Thanksgiving Coffee will be providing free coffee tasting -  Try some Thanksgiving Coffee at the Ford House during the Mendocino Whale Festival , Saturday only, March 3rd, 12 p.m. to 4p.m. The visitor center will be opening at 9:30 a.m.  

    Noyo Center for Marine Science:

    March 2nd: 5th Annual Marine Science and Art Fair. Featuring amazing projects by school kids from Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Comptche. The theme this year is kelp forest ecosystems and project viewing will be from 5-8pm plus at 6pm guest speaker Janet Self will talk about her work as an artist in our community. Project will also be on display Saturday from 11am-4pm. On Saturday, there will be children choirs, face painting, art and poetry making, a cake walk and more fun for the whole family! Location: Old Rec. Gymnasium, Laurel St. behind City hall. Free community event. 

    March 3rd: Noyo Harbor Beach cleanup. Noyo Center will provide buckets, grabbers and gloves for anyone interested in participating.

    March 3rd: New Docents and volunteers wanted! Join our Noyo Center for Marine Science's Docent Coordinator and take a walk along the South Noyo Headlands Coastal Trail to learn about our programs, the history of the organization and how you can become a volunteer. Meet at parking lot entrance near bathrooms at the Cypress St. Coastal Trail entrance at 11am, walk to Crow's Nest Interpretive Center. 

    March 4: Film screening of Shore Stories, 6 short documentary films about the impact of offshore oil drilling. Following the film, speakers from Noyo Center and Surfrider Foundation, Mendocino Chapter, will lead a discussion about what's happening in California and how you can get involved. Location: North Coast Brewing Co, Sequoia Room. Refreshments available. Free event with suggested donation of $10. 2pm-3:30pm

    March 12-18: Blue whale and orca bones on display for the public! Crow's Nest Interpretive Center at the end of the south Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg;  Times: Mon-Fri 3pm-5pm, Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Free event.

    March 17th: From 10am-5pm Explore Noyo's Whale Trail! Visit 73 ft. Blue whale bones display and CV Starr 26 ft. orca skeleton. Marine technology demo at Noyo Center office at 155 Cypress St. Ste. C in Fort Bragg. Marine Science and art collide in our "Oceans of Plastic" exhibit located at Visit Mendocino at 345 N. Franklin St. in Fort Bragg. 

    March 18th: from 2pm-3:30pm A Help the Kelp Panel Discussion on the health of the Mendocino kelp forest ecosystem. Come learn about the state of the science on sea stars, abalone, purple urchin and of course bull kelp and how our current purple urchin imbalance is being addressed. refreshments and snacks will be available. Location: Town Hall in Fort Bragg on Main St. Free community event. 

    Find more information at www.noyocenter.org  

    Golden Gate Cetacean Research - Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbor Porpoises

    Golden Gate Cetacean Research biologists Bill Keener and Jon Stern will present the results of their latest research on the bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises of Northern California. Their team has been studying both species, from shore and boat for the past 6 years. They have compiled the first photo-identification catalog for the local bottlenose dolphins, giving us a window into the lives of individual animals. They will share their observations about the dolphins continued northward range expansion that is now bringing them to the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. They will also share the story of the unexpected return of harbor porpoises to San Francisco Bay. Learn about changes to our marine ecosystem and what this may mean for our coast. Here’s your chance to find out the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise, where to see these fascinating creatures, and what you can do to help in the study of marine mammals.  

     For more information, visit: www.ggcetacean.org




  • Mendocino Whale Festival
  • 2018 Fort Bragg Whale Festival