Gulf Coast Whale Festival

Celebrate whales and the Gulf of Mexico in Pensacola Beach!
Join us for the inaugural event!

Join us Saturday, April 27 from 9 am – 3 pm for the Gulf Coast Whale Festival on Pensacola Beach. Life-sized models of Gulf whales will be on display, including the Rice’s whale—one of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals. Educational exhibits and activities will tell the story of Gulf whales and marine life, and a puppet parade led by local artists showcases the ecology of the Gulf. Sweet sounds will flow from the Casino Beach Pavilion with live music by Pensacola singer-songwriters.

Gulf Coast Whale Festival Details

Saturday, April 27, 2024
9 am to 3 pm

Casino Beach Pavilion
20 Casino Beach Boardwalk
Pensacola Beach, FL 32561

Gulf Coast Whale Festival logo

Event Activities

A variety of activities will excite and inspire people of all ages during this event!

  • Display of whale art by children from Pensacola Beach Elementary School
  • Chalk art whales
  • Display of life-sized inflatable whales, courtesy of our sponsor Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • Puppet parade with a Rice’s whale puppet, courtesy of Birds of a Feather Project
  • Live music

Event Schedule

Join us from 9 am to 3 pm. Detailed event schedule to come.

9:00 Welcome to Gulf Coast Whale Festival, Christian Wagley, Healthy Gulf
9:30 Whale Parade, Birds of a Feather Project
9:40 Whale Wonderful, Shelley Johnson
12:00 Performance by Cory Diane
1:00 Whale Parade, Birds of a Feather Project
1:15 Live music by Katie Dineen
3:00 Farewell and thank you, Christian Wagley, Healthy Gulf

Event Host

Event Sponsors

Species Spotlight: meet the Rice’s whale

The Gulf of Mexico’s only resident baleen whale

You can learn even more during the Gulf Coast Whale Festival

Where they live
Rice’s whales live only in the Gulf of Mexico. They are most commonly found in the northeastern Gulf, off the west coast of Florida.

One of the rarest whales on Earth
Less than 100 of these whales remain, although it may be less than 50.

Learn more
Learn more about Rice’s whale from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Aerial photo of a Rice's whale, one of the species to be highlighted at the Gulf Coast Whale Festival
Photo credit: NOAA

Human activities in the Gulf region negatively affect the Rice’s whale, such as:

  • Vessel strikes
  • Noise from vessels and energy exploration
  • Oil spills and other pollutants, including lingering effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
  • Ingestion of and entanglement in marine debris
  • Climate change and its effect on prey
  • Entanglement in fishing gear

Event Vendors

Be sure to visit these exciting local vendors during the event!

  • List to be updated soon.

Become a vendor

Space for vendors interested in sharing environmental and marine life education is available for free, but space is limited.
Apply to become a vendor here.

Rice's whale breathes at the surface of the water. Learn more about Rice's whale at the Gulf Coast Whale Festival
Photo credit: NOAA
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