At the Kanaloa Octopus Farm, they’re dedicated to cracking the code on just how to get cephalopods to thrive in a farm environment. At their Kailua-Kona facility, their cephalopod aquaculture research mostly revolves around figuring out how to get the creatures through the larval phase. Since they’ve not yet done that, their octopuses come from the wild – for now.
If you want to support their work while getting to interact with octopuses, you can simply sign up for a tour. Although they accept donations year-round, the tour lets you see just why their efforts are so important. Their farm tour stays open to the public, giving visitors of all ages an hour to learn all about octopuses and see them up close. Want to go on the tour with just your family and friends instead? Sign up for a private tour and bring up to 34 people along for the ride.
On either tour, you’ll sign in at the front desk, and then wait for your guide to come out to greet all their guests. Then, you’ll get to listen to a short presentation about their mission at the research facility. Your knowledgeable guide will go over what they intend to accomplish there and their achievements thus far. You’ll have a little bit of time to ask any questions you may have as well before heading back to meet their octopuses.
To prepare for the tour, they move all their octopuses into clean observation tanks. The tanks sit all in a row outdoors, giving you a clear view of all the action. Most of the octopuses sit beneath the hides in the bottom of the tank at the beginning of the tour. But as you swirl your finger in the water above, these curious creatures will usually come out to take a peek. Only the newest in the group will continue to hide, although that’s pretty rare overall.
As the octopuses come out, they often wrap their tentacles around the visitors’ fingers. Sometimes, they even try to climb right out by using your arm for leverage. If that happens, your guide will let you know how to gently release their suckers. You’ll also get to learn fun facts from your tour guide as they come around during this initial introduction to the octopuses.
After that, you’ll get crab meat to feed your newfound friends. Each person in the group gets to feed the octopus assigned to them, so feel free to give them all the crab meat you got. Each one has its own personality, too, making it even more fun to see how they react to the food. As your octopus eats, you can softly talk to them and see if they respond to your voice. Also, take as many photos as you’d like, and then share the research facility’s mission with the world to bring them even more support.
Then, as the tour ends, you’ll have a chance to say your goodbyes before heading out the facility with memories to last a lifetime. If you want to throw in a few extra dollars to support their mission, go up to the front desk to make your donation. They also take donations online all throughout the year if you prefer.
-If your octopus refuses to take the crab meat, just leave it on top of their hiding spot for later. Also, move very, very slowly or you could scare your octopus friend back under their hiding spot.
-Expect to get wet. The octopuses can spray water your way at any given time. So, put your phone, camera, or GoPro in a waterproof case before coming by.
-When the farm has baby octopuses, you can take a peek at them under the microscope.