DENVER—Whales: Giants of the Deep, a new exhibition that transports visitors to the vibrant underwater world of the mightiest animals on Earth, opens at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Friday, October 10. With life-size models and more than 20 real specimens on display—including the skeleton of a sperm whale that measures an astonishing 58 feet long—the exhibition shows why these highly intelligent mammals have been a source of human fascination for centuries. The exhibition is free with general Museum admission.


On tour from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, home to one of the largest collections of marine mammals in the world, Whales: Giants of the Deep is popular among family audiences because it features a blend of cool skulls and skeletons, hands-on objects, digital interactives, immersive projections, and rare artifacts. 


Visitors can crawl through a life-size replica of the heart of the humongous blue whale, touch real and replica whale teeth, build their own dolphin and see how it swims, accompany a sperm whale on a deep-sea hunt for a giant squid, see the model of a southern right whale featured in the acclaimed film Whale Rider, and enter an immersive sound chamber to hear the “songs” whales use to navigate, find food, and communicate.


Additional exploration stations allow visitors to examine and touch real whale specimens from the Museum’s collections and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The exhibition experience concludes with a fun photo opportunity featuring a beautiful humpback whale.


The origin of whales extends back 50 million years, and their family tree includes dolphins, porpoises, beaked whales, and more. Visitors will be surprised to discover that whales greatly range in size, from the tiny Hector’s dolphin to the world’s largest animal, the blue whale. Although whales have an ancient history, the exhibition shows how scientists continue to make new discoveries about the animals’ streamlined bodies, remarkable feeding methods, and vast migrations through the Pacific Ocean.


The exhibition also traces the long-held connections between humans and whales, particularly for the Mäori of New Zealand, whose tradition of “whale riding” was made world-famous by the Whale Rider film. Visitors will see historic cultural objects—from impressive weapons made from large whale bones to delicate ornaments fashioned from whale teeth—and watch first-person interviews about the changing attitudes that have led people from hunting whales to protecting them.


“The Museum is pleased to bring the community this engaging exploration of whales and the awe-inspiring ways they have adapted to life in the sea for millions of years,” said George Sparks, the Museum’s President and CEO. “Living in a land-locked state seems to only increase Coloradans’ passion for our oceans and the incredibly diverse marine wildlife across the globe.”


Whales: Giants of the Deep was developed and is presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This exhibition was made possible through the support of the New Zealand Government and the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition is sponsored in Denver by Les Schwab Tire Centers.


For more information, visit www.dmns.org/whales.


Media Contact: Maura O’Neal, [email protected], 303.370.6407


About the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region’s leading resource for informal science education. Our mission is to be a catalyst and ignite the community’s passion for nature and science. The Museum envisions an empowered community that loves, understands, and protects our natural world. As such, a variety of engaging exhibits, discussions, and activities help Museum visitors celebrate and understand the wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the Museum, visit dmns.org or call 303-370-6000. Many of the Museum’s educational programs and exhibits are made possible in part by the citizens of the seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. Connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


# # #

^ Back to Top