The video above shows the opening of the new Manta Education Center and features interviews with Lily Dudoit, the Director of Culture and Leisure Activities at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou, and Keller Laros, Professional Scuba Instructor, underwater filmmaker and manta ray enthusiast who co-founded the Manta Pacific Research Foundation.
Video by David Corrigan
KEAUHOUA, Hawaii – Hawaii Island’s first Manta Education Center opened at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa on Wednesday evening. A crowd gathered at the location of the center next to the popular Ray’s on the Bay restaurant to celebrate the moment.
“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 of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa in a media release. “Keauhou Bay is our front yard and their home, and perhaps the best place on the planet to swim with the mantas.”
My friend Kalani mentioned that the people down here at the Sheraton were gonna put together a manta learning center and he asked if I have any interest in that. I was absolutely interested. I said, ‘we’ve been thinking about doing that for like a decade’. It wasn’t until somebody actually came with the money and the location that we could make this dream come true.Keller Laros on July 9, 2014
(Manta Pacific Research Foundation) actually provided all of the data, all of the signage. The vision for what we should talk about. What we should put up on the walls. What was important for people to to learn. I pretty much gave it to them and said ‘you guys are the experts, so you tell me. I’ll get the space ready, I’ll do all the operational side’, but they really brought it to life.Lily Dudoit on July 9, 2014
This media release was issued by the Sheraton Kona:
The new Manta Learning Center, located at the entrance to Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona, opens 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 were installed and spectacular looped video footage and accompanying story boards 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 Na Pe’a program 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. Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa media release