Whales are one of the oldest and largest animals on the planet. Various whale species can be found around the world from Alaska to Hawai`i to the Gulf of California. Explore a collection of NOAA videos, lesson plans, posters, webinars, web stories, virtual reality, and more to gain a deeper understanding of whale species and NOAA's efforts within the sanctuary system to protect them and limit the threats they face.
Learn more about the gentle giants of our ocean, the problems they face, and their importance in the marine ecosystem. Read to explore NOAA's efforts to protect whales and how national marine sanctuaries benefit whale populations.
Lesson Plans & Activities
Utilize these interactive lesson plans and activities with students to learn and gain a better understanding of whales, the impacts whales face, and the role we have in protecting these species.
The National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series provides educators, students, and the interested public with educational and scientific expertise, resources, and training to support ocean and climate literacy. Take a look at the whale curated webinars ranging from discussing the cultural importance of whales to whale entanglement response.
Want to encounter whales from the comfort of your own home? Dive into the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ video collection of various whale species from across the country and learn about tagging whales, ship strikes, and endangered species.
Come along and explore a 3D experience within Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Learn about the journey of humpback whales to Hawai‘i, listen to the whales’ beautiful songs, and the diverse biodiversity within the sanctuary.
Have a favorite whale species or want to learn more about rare whale types you may not have heard about? Check out the Species Spotlight Section for resources on every type of whale!
Posters & Infographics
Explore this assortment of readily available whale themed posters, infographics, and other resources, including bookmarks and artwork.
Wildlife Viewing Guidelines
Encountering whales in the wild can be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity! For their safety as well as yours, please follow these guidelines: give wildlife plenty of space, be aware of local regulations and use your zoom lens or binoculars if you want that close-up view!
Many of our national marine sanctuaries are home to a variety of whale species with scientists eagerly working to learn more about them and working to ensure they are further protected. Read up on the various work of our team including a Q&A with a scientist, a Nancy Foster Scholars' research, partnerships, and sanctuaries in the news.
NOAA Marine Mammal Resource Collection
Marine mammals are found in marine ecosystems around the globe. Marine mammals are classified into four different taxonomic groups: cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), and marine fissipeds (polar bears and sea otters). Check out NOAA’s Marine Mammal Resource Collection to learn more about all marine mammals and for further whale related resources.
Do you want even more information on these special species? Look here for fun facts, past events, and magazine articles about whales to become a cetacean connoisseur!
Whales and Ocean Sound Elementary Collection
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuary System, the best of the best educational materials for an elementary school audience have been compiled in collaboration with the National Park Trust. This collection focuses on whales and ocean sound.