Pheena the Fin Whale

Art & Installations

Climb on a life-sized replica of a teenage fin whale—the second largest whale in the world!

Fin Whale Facts with Pheena

Learn a thing or three about fin whales with our Lawrence Hall of Science mascot, Pheena the Fin Whale!

About Pheena

Pheena, our life-size fin whale, came to the plaza at the Lawrence Hall of Science in 1975. She was designed by artist Larry Foster, with support from the World Wildlife Fund, and was modeled to be an exact replica of a teenage female fin whale—the second largest whale in the world. Real fin whales weigh 40–80 tons, and have hundreds of “baleen” plates in their mouths to feed on even the tiniest creatures in the sea, called krill. They can live 80 to 90 years!

Pheena on the go!

Pheena, our life-size fin whale, disappeared from our plaza for several weeks in 2021. She was refurbished at Svendsen’s Bay Marine—a boat repair shop in Richmond.

Pheena, the life-size fin whale replica, is held up by a forklift as she is moved for repairs.

The 3,000 pound sculpture left her home on our plaza mid-May via truck and we welcomed her back at the end of June, with her cracks repaired and a new outer finish.

How did that happen? First up, old layers were removed to reveal areas that needed repairs or reinforcement, or where there was suspected damage. Then, new layers of fiberglass and vinyl ester resin [1] were applied to cracks, holes, and other fractured parts of the shell. The final steps involved applying a primer and then a special coat of Durabak [2] that provides both a protective layer and the desired appearance.

Did you know?
This wasn’t the first time she’s needed repairs. We captured some time-lapse video of Pheena getting repairs the last time she got a little TLC.

[1] Vinyl ester is a type of fiber-reinforced plastic that falls between polyester and epoxy resin. It protects against water absorption and is highly resistant to corrosion.

[2] Durabak, made of polyurethane, is also used to coat indoor rock climbing structures and the linings of pickup truck beds, making it great for Pheena (given how many of you like to climb on her!). Using Durabak will make regular maintenance of Pheena much easier for us at The Lawrence.

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