Be a part of the Port Townsend Orca Festival June 24 with a jam-packed day filled with fun and educational events to celebrate the start of summer and reinforce our connection to the Salish Sea.

Port Townsend Marine Science Center, 11am-5pm
Discover Pass Required for Fort Worden State Park; free admission to PTMSC

June is Orca Awareness Month in Washington State, and Port Townsend is wrapping up the month with a summer-kickoff and beach party on June 24th at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, at Fort Worden State Park. Running from 11am-5pm, guests can expect a day full of fun and educational activities to celebrate the start of summer and reinforce our connection to the Salish Sea.

2017 marks the 11th annual Orca Awareness Month, dedicated to promoting education about the endangered Southern Resident orca population—but this party is the first of its kind for Port Townsend. “Port Townsend’s central location in the Salish Sea makes it one of the nation’s finest destinations for learning about orcas,” says Executive Director of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center Janine Boire.

The Marine Science Center will be opening its doors to the public, where visitors can listen to whales over hydrophones, explore the touch tanks and learn about the marine ecosystems for the Salish Sea. Local artist Jesse Watson will facilitate sand sculpture making down on the beach, and Locust Street Taxi will raise spirits—and feet—with a concert on the pier! Guests will also have the opportunity to take a free boat tour with family-run whale watching company Puget Sound Express, and view the Hope skeleton Natural History Exhibit—one of only eight fully articulated orca skeletons in the world.

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition’s involvement in the Orca Festival is important, since salmon are an important part of an orca’s diet and there is a strong relationship between the health of each endangered population. Many Chinook salmon runs within the Southern Residents’ range have been listed on the Endangered Species Act for almost two decades, and the Southern Residents themselves have been listed for over a decade—yet both species remain in dire straits. This festival is an important opportunity to engage with the local organizations that are working to restore these populations, and learn how we can contribute, as individuals and a community, to promoting the health of these two beloved northwest icons.

The event is free and open to the public, however Discovery Passes will still be required to park down by the beach at Fort Worden.

The celebration is sponsored the Marine Science Center, Puget Sound Express, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, North Olympic Salmon Coalition, Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, NOAA and Thunderbull Productions.


On the Beach
– 11AM – Opening Ceremony
– 11AM – 3PM – Sand sculpture making with Jesse Watson
– 3:00 PM – Community Portrait
– Beach games with Jeff. Co. Parks and Rec.

On the Pier
– Free entrance to the Marine Science Center
– Listen to whales using a hydrophone
– 1PM -3PM- Locust Street Taxi performance
– 3PM – 5PM – Free boat tours with Puget Sound Express

Natural History Exhibit
– Hope skeleton viewing
– Climb inside of NOSC’s larger-than-life Fin the Salmon
– Art projects with NOSC
– Life-size Inflatable orca on display