Tucked away on the shoreline behind the Kona Airport, you will find a hidden gem of marine education and conservation. Here, you can learn about ocean conservation and the world’s endangered sea horse species. The Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm is unique – as the world’s first and only sea horse farm, established to breed and raise sea horses for home aquariums and relieve pressure on wild and endangered sea horse populations.
If you choose to visit, you can take an eye-opening tour to see their aquaculture operations, hold a sea horse in your hands, and learn about different types of seahorses and sea dragons. On the seahorse farm tour, a marine biologist leads visitors past adult mating pairs and baby sea horses (called fry). On the tour, the lead biologist shares interesting facts about sea horse biology. Did you know that for seahorses, it’s the males that get pregnant and give birth to hundreds of baby sea horses?
The biologist also talks about how the seahorse farm is helping to combat the threats of overfishing that have endangered sea horses and sea dragons around the world. You and the kids will get to see what sea horses eat and maybe even feed them lunch!
At the end of the tour, you will get the chance to hold a sea horse in your hands! You will be amazed as the biologist helps one of these fragile and sensitive creatures wrap its tail around your fingers. Look into the eyes of a sea horse and see why so many people love these small and unique fish.
Finally, you will go to a mini aquarium to see the 34 species of sea horses and sea dragons that they keep on site as part of the Seahorses of Hawaii Foundation’s conservation program. This program develops captive breeding programs to help improve populations of sea horses around the world. Proceeds from the tours, gift shop, and sales of sea horses for aquariums help to support this conservation work.
If you love aquariums, marine life, and want a unique experience, stop by the Seahorse Farm for a tour. The seahorse farm tour is a great activity to for kids and families to learn about seahorses and conservation first-hand!
The farm is near the Kona Keahole Airport, down the road with the sign for the Natural Energy Labs. Calling ahead of time or reserving your spot online is recommended, especially during busy tourism seasons.
For more information about the seahorse farm and to reserve your spot on a tour, check out the website for Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Tours.