Des Moines

Say goodbye to the MAST octopus this weekend

Say goodbye to the MAST octopus this weekend
Starfish. (Photo credit: Rose Egge)

The Highline Marine and Science Technology Center (MAST) in Des Moines will host its annual "Octopus Graduation" and release its 6-month-old octopus back into Puget Sound this Saturday, June 9, at 10 a.m.

Every year the MAST Center staff dive into Puget Sound to retrieve a young octopus, and dozens of other creatures, for its aquarium.

This year's octopus is known to be a little ornery, and even has a habit of squirting volunteers if they open her tank.

Each year, in June, the octopus is released back into the wild in a graduation party that coincides with Highline Community College's graduation. Staff know that octopi cannot live in their tanks once they reach a certain size, and they aim to release each one before they reach sexual maturity.

This year will be the third annual Octopus Graduation at MAST. As in years past, staff members expect a large crowd to gather and watch as their octopus is lowered into the water in a large bin. Divers will then record a live video feed of the octopus' release, which attendees can watch above the surface.

The crowd will also be treated to coffee and cake throughout the day.

Even if you can't make it, MAST will host a live webcast of the graduation starting at 10 a.m.

What they won't enjoy is an up-close view of the octopus. For that, you have to come to the MAST Center before June 9.

The center is always free to the public and open every Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.