New Kauai ocean discovery facility due to open on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020

Volunteer greeters are encouraged to apply

A new Kauai facility to promote ocean discovery and community connections will open on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at Kukui Grove Center in Lihue. The new ocean discovery facility, managed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, will be free admission and open to the public year-round. Attractions include exhibits, monthly lectures and a variety of activities for families, students and visitors.

“After working with the Kauai community and volunteers on outreach and education programs at various venues for decades, we are delighted to announce this upcoming public facility that will connect our educators and researchers with the people of Kauai on a regular basis, and Kauai with the world,” said Allen Tom, superintendent of NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Kris Sarri, CEO and President of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation said, “Hawaii’s marine environment is unique. Our ocean’s majestic giants find refuge in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which protect habitats and species found nowhere else on earth. This will be a place for Kauai residents and visitors to discover, explore and connect with these protected waters.”

With the opening of the ocean discovery facility, Kauai will join other ocean centers affiliated with NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation across the state, including Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument’s Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s Kihei Visitor Center on Maui.

“Kauai is uniquely positioned for such an ocean interpretive center, and we are privileged to help bring this project to fruition for our Kaua’i residents and visitors to enjoy ,” said David Sosner, general manager of Kukui Grove Center.

“For the Kauai community, we see this as a year-round venue to foster connections to the ocean, our heritage, and each other,” said Jean Souza, program specialist with Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the Pacific Islands Region. “We are now in the planning and preparation phase, seeking volunteers and resources to help make it the best it can be.”

Volunteer greeters are now being recruited to help staff the center. For more information and to sign up, contact Jean Souza at 808-651-1457 or

Humpback whales underwater (Photo credit: Ed Lyman/NOAA)