A resort in northern Hawaii is planning to build an aquarium in its resort, a first for a U.S. Pacific island.
The Maui Aquarium & Spa announced Tuesday that it has secured a $4.8 million federal grant to build a water park on the property of the Royal Lahaina Resort & Spa, which sits just south of Waikiki and includes the world’s largest swimming pool.
The aquarium will be located in the resort’s main swimming pool and will be connected to the island’s other indoor aquatic facilities.
The aquarium’s main water features include a large glass aquarium, a large fish tank, a small pool with two large diving tubes, a walkway for divers, and a walkable path to the water’s edge.
The Aquarium’s staff, which includes veterinarians, will work alongside park employees to make sure the animals feel comfortable at the new water park.
The Aquarium is a joint venture between Hawaiian Natural Aquarium and a Hawaiian aquarium company called W&O Marine.
The $4 million is the first of its kind for a Pacific island, which has a long history of creating aquariums and other attractions that are open to the public.
The U.K.-based nonprofit NatureWorks Marine Park in Hawaii opened in 2010 and features a similar water park and aquarium in the oceanfront resort town of Waipahu.
In 2010, the U.N. General Assembly approved a $25 million loan to establish the Aquarium in Waipuakoa, and this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration approved a loan of up to $60 million to establish a marine park in the capital city of Honolulu.
The $2 billion park includes marine mammal, ocean, freshwater, and tropical gardens.