Manta Learning Center Opens at Sheraton Kona
Hauntingly beautiful and graceful, what is it you have seen? You have seen a manta ray, the largest of the ray species, reaching wing spans up to twenty feet and weighing as much as 3,000 pounds.
Hāhālua (manta ray), those gentle giants of the open ocean with wingspans up to 16-feet, are celebrated at Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona as they make their nightly appearance just offshore.
Mantarays–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, 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 Bayat the Sheraton Kona, opened Wednesday, July 9, 2014 with one of the largest collections of manta photos.
Twenty stunning manta images of the resident Keauhou Bay mantas shot by photographer Bo Pardau of Second Wave Images were installed while spectacular looped video footage and accompanying storyboards detail the latest research and scientific information.
“Hāhālua 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 pm 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 Pe‘a (Sea Scouts) to host Manta Talk. The NaPe‘aprogram teaches youth leadership and stewardship of land and marine resources through the use of traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes.
Visit SheratonKona.com or call 808.930.4900 for more information