Ethyl the Whale – Santa Fe, New Mexico - Atlas Obscura

Ethyl the Whale

Life-sized sculpture of a blue whale made of hand-recycled plastic trash. 

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Ethyl the Whale is an  82-foot-long, life-sized sculpture of a blue whale that holds the Guinness world record for largest recycled plastic sculpture. It was created by two artists from San Francisco, Yustina Salnikova and Joel Stockdill, to bring awareness to the negative impact plastics have on the environment, and was named after its polyethylene body. 

Ethyl was originally built for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. It was subsequently acquired by the Santa Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf in 2019 and then dramatically transported to the New Mexico desert.

You can walk all around Ethyl to explore the enormous work of art, and also enjoy it illuminated at night.

Know Before You Go

Ethyl is located on the back side of the Santa Fe Community College campus, so drive around on the loop road and you can't miss her.