Categorized | Environment

Manta learning center opens at Sheraton


Hahalua (manta ray), those gentle giants of the open ocean with wing spans up to 16-feet, are celebrated at Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona as they make their nightly appearance just offshore.

Manta rays – not to be confused with sting or eagle rays – feed on plankton that gather under evening light sources.

“Our Manta Learning Center is a collaboration between Keller and Wendy Laros of the Manta Pacific Research Foundation and Sheraton Kona designed to inform visitors and residents about these amazing ocean creatures who live just a few feet from our shoreline,” said Matthew Grauso, General Manager, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

“Keauhou Bay is our front yard and their home,” he said, “and perhaps the best place on the planet to swim with the mantas.”

The new Manta Learning Center, located at the entrance to Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona, opened Wednesday, July 9, with one of the largest collections of manta photos.

Twenty stunning manta images of the resident Keauhou Bay mantas shot by photographer Bo Pardau were installed and spectacular looped video footage and accompanying story boards detail the latest research and scientific information.

“Hahalua can live up to 100 years and our interaction with them is very special,” said Lily Dudoit, Director of Culture & Activities, Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. “On Mondays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. our free Manta Talk at the Manta Learning Center shares the stories of these creatures.”

Sheraton Kona is partnering with EKA Canoe Adventures and Nakoa Foundation’s Na Pea (Sea Scouts) to host the Manta Talk.

The Na Pea program teaches youth leadership and stewardship of land and marine resources through the use of traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes.

— Find out more:

(Photo courtesy of Bo Pardau | Second Wave Images)

(Photo courtesy of Bo Pardau | Second Wave Images)

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