This July 4, families can head to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows to celebrate the 23rd annual Turtle Independence Day, a community event that releases Hawaiian green sea turtles (Honu), an identified threatened species, into the open ocean in the form of a traditional Hawaiian ceremony.
Since 1989, Mauna Lani Bay has received three- to five-month-old juvenile Honu from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and has raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort. The Honu are raised for two to three years and cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is classified as healthy for release into the ocean. More than 200 Honu have been released into the pristine waters in front of the resort since the program’s inception. The sea turtle is the only indigenous reptile of Hawaii, evolving some 180 million years ago, and has become a significant symbol of the Islands.
As part of the day’s activities, guests can learn about the Honu and then chow down at a BBQ with traditional July 4 fare showcasing Hawaii Island grown produce. The BBQ begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until noon. The Honu celebration begins at 10:30 a.m.
The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is located at 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive on the Kohala Coast on Hawaii Island. For more information, visit www.maunalani.com or call 800-367-2323.
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Ron Dahlquist