Family Days Out

Record Breaking Whale Visits London

A WORLD RECORD BREAKING whale is set to make its first ever visit to Europe as part of this summer’s Sea Creatures exhibition.

The Minke whale, affectionately called Hai Hai was the first ocean mammal ever to undergo the complex plastination process developed by Gunther von Hagens in 1997 and made famous by Britpop artist Damien Hirst.
It was also the first whale ever to be preserved showing its internal anatomy, making it an incredibly important landmark for marine education.
Hai Hai – which means Sea Sea in Chinese – is 6.2 metres in length, over 3 metres tall and has a chest circumference of more than 2.5 metres. Weighing in at 3 tonnes, the operation to preserve and plastinate the specimen took 23 months.
In May 2009, Hai Hai became beached and died on Jiaoliu Island in China, where a team from Dalian Hoffen Bio-Technique Co. rushed to recover the body.
It was then donated to a team of 35 professional anatomists who spent a staggering 50,382 man hours undertaking millions of surgical slices into the specimen to allow the plastination process to work.
It is estimated that for those 50,382 hours, each worker had to make two slices every second in order to complete the process.

Hai Hai will be an exciting centrepiece for the Sea Creatures exhibition, which tours London, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland this year.
Organisers had already secured over 50 full-animal exhibits as part of the tour, but had been negotiating to bring Hai Hai to Europe for the first time.
Sea Creatures founder, Naz Kabir, says: “We’ve already had an incredible response since tickets went on sale for this year’s tour, but we always said that adding Hai Hai to the exhibition would be the icing on the cake.

“Having a double world record-breaking exhibit that visitors would be able to see for the first time on this continent is incredibly exciting – Hai Hai is a celebrity in the science and marine education world, and we’re delighted to be able to bring her to the UK this summer.”

Sea Creatures opens in London’s RHS Lawrence Hall on July 20th, where it will remain until August 30th. It will then visit the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh (Sep 21 – Oct 18), Harrogate Convention Centre (Oct 30 – Nov 28) and Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast (Dec 8 – Jan 2).
Tickets for the European Premiere of this blockbuster exhibition are selling out fast and is expected to be sold out before opening to the public on the 20th July 2018. Book your tickets now on the Sea Creatures Tour website here.

Hai Hai by numbers

1.1 –  It cost £1.1 million to complete the plastination process
2.55 – Hai Hai’s chest circumference in metres
3 – Hai Hai’s weight in tonnes
3.08 – Hai Hai’s height in metres
6.2 – Hai Hai’s length in metres
10 – More than 10 tonnes of acetone were used in the plastination process
20 – …as well as 20 tonnes of formalin solution
60 – …and 60 tonnes of silica gel
1,000 – the process is so exact that A MILLENIUM from now, scientists would be able to extract the genetic code from Hai Hai and build a live clone.

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 young daughters, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting brands.

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