WAIKIKI AQUARIUM UNVEILS NEW SELF-GUIDED HAWAIIAN PLANT TOUR

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Caroline Witherspoon or
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Taryn Bohan
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WAIKIKI AQUARIUM UNVEILS NEW SELF-GUIDED HAWAIIAN PLANT TOUR

HONOLULU, HAWAII (July 13, 2016) – Enhancing the visitor experience, the Waikiki Aquarium recently unveiled a new self-guided Hawaiian Plant Tour featuring endemic (native) and indigenous coastal plants. The new guide supplements the current visitor experience, which includes free audio wands available in multiple languages, interactive touch screens at various exhibits, and volunteer-led activities throughout the aquarium.

Available with admission to the Waikiki Aquarium, the tri-fold guide includes a map of where the plants are located within the aquarium, as well as descriptions of and various facts about each of the species. Among the fifteen highlighted species are shrubs, ferns, vines, flowering plants and trees. Some of the featured plants include the kukui or candle nut tree (Aleurites moluccana), a large tree with nuts rich in oil and used to clear the ocean waters for fishing; ‘ākia, (Wikstroemia uva-ursi), a native shrub with bark, roots and leaves that are used to release a narcotic for stunning fish; and milo or portia tree (Thesesia populnea), a canoe plant with flowers that resemble the open mouth of the puhi lau milo or undulated moray eel.

“We’re pleased to offer our visitors an additional way to enjoy the Aquarium,” said Community Relations Director, MaryLou Foley. “Our aquarium is filled with not only a variety of animals, but also beautiful native plants and this guide serves as a opportunity for our guests to appreciate and learn more about them.”

With the support of the state Department of Health (DOH) Clean Water Branch, the Waikiki Aquarium also created its own rain garden in 2014, heightening awareness about the importance of natural vegetation designed to absorb and filter rainwater from heavy tropical storms. The new plant guide emphasizes the specific benefits of each of the Hawaiian plants featured on Aquarium grounds.

Visitors can pick up the guide to the new self-guided tour at the front desk upon entering the Aquarium or viewed online at http://www.waikikiaquarium.org/experience/plants-seaweeds/hawaiian-plant-guide/.

About the Waikiki Aquarium
Founded in 1904 and administered by the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium is located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach next to a living reef and across from Kapiolani Park. The Aquarium – second oldest in the U.S. – showcases more than 500 marine species, and maintains more than 3,500 marine specimens. Public exhibits, education programs and research focus on the unique aquatic life of Hawai‘i and the tropical Pacific. The Aquarium welcomes more than 320,000 visitors annually, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Honolulu Marathon Sunday and Christmas Day. Admission is $12 for visitors; $8 for local residents and active duty military with ID, $5 for senior citizens and juniors ages four to 12; and free for children three and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium (FOWA) members. For more information about the Waikiki Aquarium, including membership, call (808) 923-9741 or visit www.waikikiaquarium.org.

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