Sea Turtle Camp Hawaii
2024 Registration Open!
Note: Hawaii 2024 will be female only program
Come join in the aloha spirit while learning about Hawaiian sea turtles and other marine life in a tropical paradise. With both state and federal protection, the population of green sea turtles (known locally as honu) appears to be on the rebound, giving you numerous opportunities to learn about them and their habits on land and in the water. Sea Turtle Campers shadow marine biologists behind the scenes and participate in research and educational projects at Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park is dedicated to marine conservation, preservation, and education about beautiful fish, seabirds, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles, and all other animals that make their home in our marine environment. Students will get to work with the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology’s Education Program to learn real hands-on research techniques from marine biologists. Students will then get to learn about invasive species and about the current research being conducted in Kane’ohe Bay.
Join other teens on a journey through the incredible island of Oahu for an adventure you will never forget. When not working with sea life, we’ll immerse you in some of the most beautiful, famous, and treasured landmarks the island has to offer. We’ll surf the breaks of the North Shore, paddle the waters of Waikiki, snorkel over beautiful coral reefs, and even dine at an authentic Hawaiian luau. While on the island we’ll also soak up the history and culture by hiking Diamond Head Crater, learning about Native Hawaiians at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and going on a guided tour of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. This program is designed for rising 10th-12th graders who are passionate about sea turtle conservation and looking for a tropical adventure abroad. Join us on our next trip as we:
- Shadow marine biologists behind the scenes
- Learn about real scientific research from marine biologists
- Collect data as part of scientific research
- Volunteer with local sea turtle non-profits
- Hike Diamond Head Center
- Dine at an authentic Hawaiian luau
- Surf the waves at the North Shore
- Snorkel the coral reefs that fringe the island
- Earn thirty hours of community service credit
Camp tuition includes all lodging, all meals from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last day, 24-hour access to camp staff, admission to all activities, all equipment, and transportation including pick up and drop off from the Honolulu International Airport (HNL), t-shirt, rashguard, Sea Turtle Hospital donation, community service certificate, and a group photo. Campers are responsible for round-trip airfare to Honolulu and additional money for souvenirs.
2024 Hawaii Camp Dates:
Oahu is home to some of the most diverse marine ecosystems and tropical rain forest habitats, and you will have the opportunity to explore it all from the waves of the North Shore to the reefs along the southern side of the island. This adventure provides teenagers with the opportunity to learn more about marine biology through hands-on, feet-wet experiential education. You’ll get the extraordinary opportunity to work hands-on with sea turtles and other marine life, as well as participate in some amazing daily activities designed to teach you through experience instead of out of a textbook.
During this adventure you will:
- Work behind the scenes with marine biologists at Sea Life Park
- Participate in research and educational projects
- Assist in an ongoing Limu (Hawaiian sea grass) restoration project
- Dine at an authentic Hawaiian luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center
- Surf the waves on the North Shore (they are small in the summer)
- Snorkel the coral reefs that fringe the island
- Stand up paddleboard tour of the Oahu coastline
- Explore the exhibits at the Waikiki Aquarium
- Learn about US history at the USS Arizona Memorial
- Find hidden animals at the tide pools
**Schedule is subject to change. Please also keep in mind that we try out best to adhere to this schedule but we cannot control mother nature, in the event of adverse weather, we have rainy-day activities in place. We cannot control canceled vendors. We will try our best to incorporate what was missed in later days, but it does not always fit into our schedule **
The University of Hawaii at Mānoa
Founded in 1907, the University of Hawaii at Mānoa is the flagship campus of the University of Hawaii System. A destination of choice, students and faculty come from across the nation and the world to take advantage of UH Mānoa’s unique research opportunities, diverse community, nationally-ranked Division I athletic program, and beautiful landscape. Located in the stunning Mānoa Valley just outside downtown Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu, this 320-acre campus serves as a home base for our entire stay. Only a short drive from the South Shore, Hawaii’s most consistent and popular wave-riding location in the summers, UH gives us access to all that the South Shore has to offer. We are within only a couple of miles of Diamond Head Crater, one of Oahu’s ancient volcanic relics. Hopping on the H1 Highway will take us straight to Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, and on up to the North Shore which is the most popular surfing destination in the world. Nearly every world champion surfer has been crowned here, which is appropriate since this is where surfing was born. We will explore the reefs by snorkeling and free diving, and enjoy the majesty of the Seven Mile Miracle that is on the North Shore from Haleiwa up to Sunset Beach. No matter what side of the island we are on, the water visibility is incredible and the water temperature is perfect! Each day we’ll ride the waves above and snorkel the depths below to discover all of the life that Hawaii has to offer, then head back to the dorms for a good night’s rest within the beautiful Mānoa Valley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I get to see real live sea turtles?
YES!!! The Hawaiian green sea turtle is one of the precious native Hawaiian species on display at Sea Life Park. The Hawaiian name for this type of turtle is honu. The honu at Sea Life Park are unique in that they are the only reproducing colony of green sea turtles in the United States under human care. Most of the adult turtles you will see are over 65 years old and still producing offspring. We may even see them when snorkeling or swimming in the ocean!
Why Sea Life Park?
Sea Turtle Campers will be shadowing behind the scenes and taking part in research and educational projects at Sea Life Park. Sea Life Park has been dedicated to marine conservation, preservation, and education about the wonderful fish, seabirds, mammals, invertebrates, reptiles, and all other animals that make their home in our marine environment.
Sea Life Park serves not only as a hub for education to its visitors, but also provides a uniquely suited environment for the academic community to explore the challenges confronting our marine ecosystems. Since 2005, over 4,000 seabirds have been rescued and released by the Park, and over 16,000 green sea turtle hatchlings have been released from our adult population.
Sea Life Park is continuing with efforts to preserve animal populations and habitats, such as those of the Hawaiian monk seal and shearwater seabirds. At the core of their messaging is providing unique, memorable, learning experiences between humans and animals with hopes of modifying guest behavior to preserve Hawaii’s unique ecosystem.
The Hawaiian green sea turtle is one of the precious native Hawaiian species at Sea Life Park. The Hawaiian name for this type of turtle is honu. The honu at Sea Life Park are unique in that they are the only reproducing colony of green sea turtles in the United States under human care. Most of the adult turtles you will see are over 65 years old and still producing offspring.
Sea Life Park’s green sea turtle breeding program spans over 40 years and has contributed to the resurgence of the honu in Hawaiian waters. Over 16,000 green sea turtle hatchlings have been released from the Park’s adult population, and the breeding program has further impact through education programs.
The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is one of the few species of sea turtles in the world to have seen numbers rise in recent decades, in large part due to awareness and ongoing conservation efforts. As a result, the distinct population of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles was changed from “Endangered” to a lower status of “Threatened.”
Sea Life Park’s green sea turtle conservation program is an important contributor to the resurgence of the green sea turtle in Hawaiian waters; and we provide rescue and rehabilitation services for native Hawaiian seabirds, including the shearwaters. vice (NMFS), and certified by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA).
I am a finicky eater. Can you cater to special diets?
Yes, we can. We know how important it is to eat healthy meals when you are outside and at the beach all day long. We’ll ask you in a questionnaire what types of food, snacks, and drinks you prefer.
Is my camper allowed to bring electronic devices?
At Sea Turtle Camp, we promote immersive, hands-on learning experiences that are free from electronic distractions. While campers are allowed to bring cell phones and electronic devices for their arrival and departure days, once they have checked in with their parents/guardians and settled into camp, all electronic devices must be surrendered to our camp staff. These devices will be securely stored throughout the duration of the trip. It’s important to note that if any electronic device is discovered in a camper’s possession after the initial handover, it will be confiscated, and appropriate measures will be taken. However, we do permit campers to bring MP3 players and e-books. Please be aware that any device capable of connecting to Wi-Fi is not allowed.
Can I call home during camp?
We have all campers check in with their parents upon arrival, but we have limited parental contact for the duration of the camp. Sea Turtle Camp is a growing experience, and we find that young people do best and gain confidence through independence. Campers are NOT allowed to carry cell phones at any time during camp. Any cell phones brought to camp will be collected upon arrival and returned upon departure. Parents will be updated through emails and the many pictures we’ll be posting on Facebook throughout the trip! We will provide an after-hours number to reach the office in the event of an emergency.
What kind of community service will I be doing?
At Sea Turtle Camp, service is the most rewarding part of our program, and we like to think of it as service learning. Everything we do at Sea Life Park, from working directly with live sea creatures to cleaning, feeding, and educating visitors sounds more like enjoyment than service! We also participate in a large beach cleanup with Sustainable Coastlines and volunteer with Mālama i nā honu (Protect the Turtles), a non profit created to protect Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.
Does my child need to know how to swim to be able to attend this program?
Yes. Due to the nature of this program, all campers must be able to swim and have a basic level of comfort in the water.
“My adventures in Hawaii’s travel camp, through Sea Turtle Camps, was an experience of a lifetime, that inspired me to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. Marine Biology is a career I have been passionate about for years. My experience in Hawaii was amazing! From the interactions with the Honu, to participating in the beach cleanups, these activities inspired me learn more about Marine Biology. From this experience I now want to make an impact on our world by educating people about plastics in the ocean.”
“I just recently returned from the Hawaii Sea Turtle Camp program and can honestly say that this has been one of the best experiences of my life. This was my first time going to a camp so I was a little nervous about leaving home for two weeks. However I ended up having a fantastic time and made friends who were just as interested in marine biology as I was. The camp counselors were very nice and were very knowledgeable about marine biology. While at the camp, I was able to participate in so many different activities that I likely would never have done on my own, such as going on a shark trek, stand up paddle boarding, and swimming with stingrays. In addition to learning about marine life, I was thoroughly educated on marine conservation, a subject not many people understand. Overall, my personal experience was amazing and I would recommend this camp to anyone who is interested in marine biology.“
“Having the opportunity to go on a Sea Turtle Camp adventure was a dream come true. I have always loved the ocean, and I constantly strive to find ways to return to it. After spending lengthy time researching for the ideal summer adventure, I stumbled upon Sea Turtle Camp. I instantly knew that it was the summer experience that I was looking for.“