Sea Life Park Hawaii: Where the Heart Meets the Sea

By Olena Heu

Niblet. Photo: Sea Life Park

Sea Life Park will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17th until further notice

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A wondrous gem overlooking the pacific ocean, Sea Life Park Hawaii is where the heart meets the sea. Home to more than 100 sea creatures, mammals and more, this safe haven established in 1964 is a must-visit for those interested in learning about conservation, experiencing exploration and interactive education.

“A lot of our rehab and husbandry programs started way back when we first opened,” said park curator Jeff Pawloski. “Our seabird program, our monk seals, our turtle propagation. We have the only green sea turtle propagation program in the United States and that started by accident because we simply saw a need and took action, which is pretty cool.”

BOOK NOW! Meet the newest members of ohana Niblet and Brawler at Sea Life Park.

Saving Sea Lions Niblet & Brawler

Niblet and Brawler. Photo: Sea Life Park

With marine conservation and preservation at the forefront every day, Sea Life Park is delighted to welcome two adorable new residents to their sparkling Hawaiian home. Initially rescued in 2017, young stranded sea lions Niblet and Brawler were found separately by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in California.

After much care and rehabilitation they were each released back into their natural habitat, but then found again extremely malnourished and deemed “Non-Releasable” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It appeared Niblet had been prematurely separated from her mother and was unable to forage and catch her own food, while Brawler was suffering from a gray-white discoloration of the eyes and scratches that led to an infection and blindness.

After being rescued the pair generated an inseparable and very rare bond. The PMMC is a short-term care facility and put a call out to partners interested in taking on the heartwarming challenge of caring for these two sea lions — Sea Life Park Hawaii answered that call.

“I am excited as this represents a new chapter for Sea Life Park, and we hope they can be educational ambassadors for sharing how this situation happened to them, because man has a lot do to with why they ended up the way they are and we hope they can help us teach the public,” Pawloski said.

Welcoming Home Niblet and Brawler

Niblet and Brawler. Photo: Sea Life Park

Niblet and Brawler can be found in the comforts of home as they reside in the Nursery Pool, located next door to a larger pool (home to a mature male Sea Lion). Here they can be seen basking in the Pacific sun, able to maneuver through specially created transitions from water to shoreline with ample areas for napping and respite. This intimate exhibit will showcase what it’s like to care for and look after the two.

Guests can view from many different vantage points and safely watch the two besties enjoying the Hawaiian life. You’ll see that Niblet tends to be the spunky, friendly and curious one, while Brawler is more timid and seeks comfort from her petite friend. But perhaps in time their personalities will change and adapt.

Brawler. Photo: Sea Life Park

“Our first and foremost job as animal caretakers is to provide for them the very best life as possible and the most enriched life,” Pawloski said. “People will want to come back and see them.”

How Can You Help?

At Sea Life Park the message of education and conservation is apparent. It is hoped that each person who visits will leave with a better sense of purpose, hope and action. Sea Life Park encourages guests to look into their specialty internships, volunteer programs, Keiki Sundays, beach clean-ups, annual passes or just come visit, learn, experience and enjoy as much as you can.

“In the next several years we are going to be enhancing our education programs and by doing so we will be able to have a broader reach within the community. This is an exciting transformation for us,” Pawloski said.

Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sea Life Park also features up-close encounters, unique demonstrations, thrilling shows, field trips, family dining and the Ka Moana Luau to add to the sights and sounds of your immersive experience in the islands.

Click to learn more how to get involved at Sea Life Park.

See also: Sea Life Park – with map

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