Cetacean Institute logo

The whale tank

Cetacean Institute logo

An advertisement for the Cetacean Institute

The Cetacean Institute, or Maritime Cetacean Institute, was an aquatic mammal research and education facility located in Sausalito, California, which was in operation in the late-20th century. In the 1980s, it was the only museum on Earth exclusively devoted to whales. At the time, the Institute's phone number was 555-3970. It also had a marine theater.

The Institute was located on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay, and housed the largest seawater tank in the world – home to the only two humpback whales in captivity, a male and female named George and Gracie.

More precisely, it was located as being 15.2 kilometers at a bearing of 283° from the landing site of the HMS Bounty, which was in the Golden Gate Park.
Geographically, Star Fleet Headquarters would later include much of the site of the Institute.

In 1986, the Institute's assistant director, Doctor Gillian Taylor encountered James T. Kirk there. Kirk and his crew had traveled back in time from the 23rd century with the mission of obtaining two humpbacks in an effort to repopulate the species. George and Gracie were released by the institute at that time, and taken to Alaska to be released back into the wild. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

The Cetacean Institute scenes of Star Trek IV were filmed at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. The name was changed because it was necessary, for plot reasons, to move the aquarium to Sausalito. The Cetacean Institute symbol is actually the logo of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 128))


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