This July 4th celebrate Independence Day of a different sort, with the 27th annual turtle release at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. This fun family event celebrates all things green sea turtle with an Independence Day celebration from 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, as young turtles are released into the ocean while throngs of well-wishers cheer.
Mauna Lani Resort is home to Kalahuipua’a, ancient fishponds, covering 15 acres adjacent to Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. Since 1989, the hotel has received juvenile honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) from Oahu’s Sea Life Park, and raised them in the saltwater ponds. The honu are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that are deemed appropriate for release into the wild. Once a year on Independence Day, the grown turtles are released at the ocean’s edge fronting the hotel.
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Participating in this honu release is a popular family tradition, and a great opportunity for young and old alike to learn about our endangered sea turtles, and the Hawaiian culture. Over the years, more than 200 turtles have been released back into the wild, with four being released last year.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 4, 2016, the honu will be gathered from the Honu Ponds and carried to the beachfront for the release. Hula dancers from Halau Waiau will perform during a welcoming ceremony, followed by the release. There will be live entertainment, delicious food from local food trucks, and educational displays on Hawaiian green sea turtles.
While at Mauna Lani, enjoy a day at the beach or spend time exploring the trails around the Kalahuipua’a Fishponds. Mauna Lani Resort takes great care in maintaining these historically significant grounds. Discover hidden caves and view petroglyphs carved hundreds of years ago. In Hawaiian culture, the Kalahuipua’a fishponds are considered the piko (bellybutton) or center for the island’s five volcanoes. The grounds surrounding the fishponds are considered sacred with great spiritual powers. It is in this environment that the honu from Oahu Sea Life Park are raised before they are returned to the sea.
Better still, if you live in Mauna Lani you can walk to the event and enjoy the beauty of the Fishponds year round!