Willie and Baby whale are back!

Children can, once again, enjoy the refreshment of spouting water from the blowholes of these iconic whales at River Forks County Park.

If your family wants to cool down and have some fun, you can visit this long-lived water attraction.

Since 1969, the whales have been spreading joy. The whales previously were placed on the north and east corners of the restroom. They sat in small pools and spouted water.

Due to changes in rules on pools and how to treat the water, the wading pools had been dry for several years.

The whales migrated from River Forks County Park in September 2019 and returned in March 2020.

According to Deb Pack, business manager at Douglas County Parks Department, the River Forks Park’s restroom replacement project included refurbishing the whales with new paint and moving Baby whale next to Willie.


From left, Cameron Trimnell, 6, and Hayden Trimnell, 8, of Eugene, enjoy the pulsating water spouting from the whale.

Rubber tiles and a new concrete plaza were installed around the whales. They also constructed new restrooms and a new pavilion.

Access to the whales was improved, with the construction of a 10-foot wide concrete accessible path from the parking lot to the whales.

“It is my understanding that Parks staff made the fiberglass whales,” Pack said. “There is a matching (now non-spouting) whale at Windy Cove County Park in Winchester Bay, OR.”

windy the whale

Windy the Whale sitting at Windy Cove, Winchester.

She added that the whales were created to be a kid-friendly water feature at the park.

For over 50 years, the whales have provided a place for children to run, play, climb, and make new friends.


Children playing on Willie in June of 1969 at the River Forks Park. Photo contributed by Douglas County Parks Department from The News-Review June 4, 1969 publication.

Cadience Malone, 8, of Roseburg said, “It is fun to be able to play on the whales because you can cool off while playing with your friends.”

Skylar Knox will be a seventh grade at at Fremont Middle School in the fall.

Her previous articles and photos can be found at skylarknox.com.

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