I turned the corner into the room at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC and I'm thinking my jaw must have hit the floor with an impressive thud.
The massive blue whale model had been mounted to a wall in the museum and behind it were other sea creatures as models and in silhouette to show their relative size to the ocean giant.
And this was after being wowed by the huge elephant in the entrance of the museum and the dinosaurs in another part of the museum.
But it was the whale that captured my imagination.
Whales have long been one of my favorites in the animal world. From "Monstro" in Pinocchio and the "great fish" in the story of Jonah, to the whales in Star Trek's The Voyage Home and the infamous tale of Moby Dick, I've never been able to get over their size and their presence.
I remember standing beneath the museum model and thinking how magnificent it appeared. In the years since I first saw the model, I have never gotten over how impressive it appears.
I'm jealous of those who have had the privilege of seeing whales up close and personal. How wonderful and awe-inspiring it must be to be able to touch these amazing creatures. I cringe when I think of how history records their slaughter but I'm gladdened when I think of modern attempts to conserve and protect these creatures.