My Big Blue March Break, or: A Whale of a Time at the ROM

As large as a blue whales mouth is, it would choke on a volleyball. Please place your garbage in the appropriate receptacle.

Looking for something to do with your family in Toronto?  Want to learn about one of the most fascinating (and certainly the heaviest) animals on the planet?  The ROM has got you covered with the Big Blue March Break – a truly massive exhibit for an equally massive mammal – the blue whale.

If you’re reading this from Canada, particularly on the East Coast, you might remember when 9 blue whales (approximately 3% of the entire North Atlantic Blue Whale population) were caught in the ice off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and died.  2 of these whales were washed ashore in the tiny towns of Trout River (population 576) and Rocky Harbour (population 979).  The ROM jumped at the opportunity to study these rare specimens, and as no one else had any plans for the carcasses (or even ideas on how to dispose of them) they set to work and after 2 years of cleaning and preparation, the skeleton of one of these blue whales is now on display at the ROM.  I was awestruck as I turned the corner and came face to face with the Goliath herself.

How much larger is a blue whale? Step on this handy scale to find out!

It is difficult to put into words just how large she was.  Lets start off small:

  • The human heart weighs about 250 – 350 grams and is the size of a fist.
  • A blue whale’s heart weighs 180,000 grams (~400 lbs) and is almost the size of a SmartForTwo
  • A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an African elephant.
  • A blue whale eats up to 3,600 kg of krill every day.  They manage that in just 70 mouthfuls.
  • When transporting her carcass from the shoreline to the research facility it took 2 tractor trailers – one for the head, the other for the rest of the body.
  • The blue whale at the ROM weighs 7,215.1 times more than the Wee Baby T.

Mind blown yet?  We haven’t even started.  This is a fascinating exhibit and dare I say – it puts the dinosaurs to shame!  If you are looking to fill a day with your kids this March break, I’d strongly suggest the ROM.  While you’re there don’t miss the opportunity to check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit, open until March 19th.

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