The Big Island, Hawaii

Green sea turtles are daily guests at the Kona Village Resort on the Big Island's Kohala Coast. On most afternoons, five or six Hawaiian Green sea turtles (honu) can be found sunning themselves on the black and white sands of the lovely beach fronting Kona Village. Children delight in watching the honu line up to come ashore, crawl up the beach, and then blissfully fall asleep in the sun. The resort's complimentary children's program, Na Keiki in Paradise, is another favorite activity for families. For more information on Kona Village, call 800-367-5290 or visit the resort's website at Kona Village Resort.

Another popular family friendly resort on the Big Island also provides a home for young Hawaiian Green sea turtles. The Fourth of July is "Turtle Independence Day" at the Mauna Lani Resort on Hawaii's Big Island. Since 1989, the resort has received juvenile green turtles and raised them in the saltwater ponds of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. The Hawaiian Green turtles are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that are deemed appropriate for release into the wild. This release occurs every July 4th, Turtle Independence Day, at the ocean's edge fronting Mauna Lani Bay. Since the program's inception, Mauna Lani has nurtured more than 100 juvenile honu in its saltwater ponds before releasing them into the ocean. Prior to July 4, the turtles undergo a thorough pre-release veterinary check, and those that are declared fit for release are the stars of the next Fourth of July celebration.

While the honu are in residence at Mauna Lani, children have the opportunity to enjoy a lively fish feeding tour of the hotel ponds, which include the turtles, sting rays, black-tipped and hammerhead sharks, puffer fish, and a wide variety of tropical fish. For more information about Mauna Lani Resort, call the hotel at 800-367-2323 or visit the resort's website at Mauna Lani Resort.

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