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According to Director Jo Ann Marks, the program is all about
fun. “Even though we’re educating people, we do it in a fun way,”
The four-segment adventure is geared to teach via interactive
“Participants really enjoy themselves. We’ve never disappointed
anyone wanting to learn more about the ocean,” Marks said.
Marks noted visitors explore in one hour what would take months
to possibly do on their own.
“This is truly one of the most valuable and affordable ways to
discover Hawaii’s unique marine life,” Marks said. “People can feed
sharks and rays, go into a touch pool, see tropical fish and touch
marine life in a safe setting.”
The Reef and Ray Adventure is conducted at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Visitors tour
four separate ponds, with Marks describing everything along the
“I tell people where the fish come from, how long we keep them
and where we release them,” she stated.
The most popular species on the tour is the Spotted Eagle
“They’re soft and they suck gently on your hands,” Marks
explained. “We’ve named them all and they each have personalities
of their own. This seems to be the favorite part of the tour.”
Reef Shark Feeding: Guests feed the reef shark species on
display as a marine life specialist presents an interpretive
discussion on shark identification and life history. All from
Hawaii’s waters, sharks that may be encountered include Galapagos
sharks, Black-Tip reef sharks, Sandbar sharks, White-Tip reef
sharks, Gray reef sharks and Iridescent Black-Tip sharks.
Reef Safari: Participants get up close and personal through an
in-water interactive touch session with such reef creatures as
Medusa sea cucumbers, Hawaiian sea stars, shiny tiger cowry shells,
prickly black and purple sea urchins, red banded coral shrimps,
strawberry crabs, sand-dwelling sea shells, giant helmet shells,
hermit crabs, sea hares and an octopus. During the safari, they’ll
identify and touch the marine life with an interpreter, while
exploring a shallow sand-filled lagoon. Wading shoes are provided
by the resort.
Hawaii Reef Fish Feeding: Guests are allowed to feed and
identify Hawaii’s reef fish residing in the ponds.
Hawaiian Ray Experience: An in-water interactive touch session
allows participants to encounter friendly adult and young Hawaiian
Rays and graceful Spotted Eagle Rays.
For guests of the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, the
one-hour Reef and Ray Adventure is $22.95 for adults and $15.95 for
children 10-12 years old. For visitors, rates are $27.95 and $19.95
respectively. Up to 10 people are allowed per session.
Geared to guests 4-10 years old, the resort offers a one-hour
Keiki Program at 1 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
This kid-friendly option includes keiki (children) activities and
education along with Reef Shark Feeding, Hawaii Reef Fish Feeding
and Reef Safari. The Hawaiian Ray Experience is not included in
For resort guests, rates are $15.95. Visitors rates are $19.95.
Each child must be accompanied by a parent.