Waikiki Aquarium named top family destination - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waikiki Aquarium named top family destination

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 HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's Waikiki Aquarium has been named among the top family destinations for 2011 by Best Western International. Travel and Kids Expert Amy Graff cited the aquarium's new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit as a "must see."

Slated to open in the spring of 2011, the 4,000-gallon public display will feature a living reef ecosystem representative of those found in the world's most isolated islands.

"This is great national recognition for the Waikiki Aquarium and is indicative of our reputation, our achievements and our quality of exhibits," said director Andrew Rossiter. "We're tremendously excited about the opening of our new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit and what it represents in terms of continuing to offer our visitors a realistic glimpse of Hawaii's undersea world."

The new exhibit will feature a number of organisms unique to the Northwestern Hawaiians Islands, table corals, masked angelfish, yellow barbel goatfish and Japanese pygmy angelfish. Interactive touch screens will provide additional information on the significance of the islands, their ecology and biodiversity, and the importance of preserving this almost pristine marine ecosystem for future generations.

The new $300,000 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit is slated to open in late spring 2011. Until then, a portion of the aquarium's Gallery 4 will be closed for construction. The new exhibit is being developed in partnership and with support from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument.

ABOUT THE WAIKIKI AQUARIUM

Founded in 1904 and administered by the University of Hawaii 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 - third 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 Hawaii 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 $9 for visitors; $6 for local residents, active duty military with ID, students with ID and seniors; $4 for youths ages 13-17 and persons with disabilities; $2 for juniors ages 5 to 12; and free for children 4 and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium (FOWA) members.

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