Review of Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Tour

Seahorses from Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm

One of the top things I wanted to do on my recent trip to the Big Island was to tour the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm in Kailua-Kona. (In fact, I blogged about how I wanted to visit this farm a Seahorses from Ocean Rider Seahorse Farmyear ago.) This seahorse farm was the first one in the world and is the only one in the US.

The guided tour lasts about an hour. Our tour guide was a biologists and she shared many facts about seahorses as toured the various tanks of seahorses to watch them swim, hook tails and dance. We even had an opportunity to have a seahorse hook their tail around our fingers.

Here are some of the interesting seahorse facts I learned on the tour:

  • Seahorses are nearing extinction. They’ve been over harvested for two reasons.
    • Some cultures believe that seahorses have medicinal qualities.
    • Aquarium pets – the problem here is most ocean harvested seahorses die within two weeks. The farm raised seahorses are much better suited for being an aquarium pet.
  • Seahorses mate for life.
  • The male seahorse fertilizes and carries the eggs. He actually becomes pregnant.
  • Seahorses are voracious eaters and hunters. They enjoy hunting their food.

I thought the tour was interesting, though possibly a tad bit pricey at $35 per person.  Children ages 4-7 pay $25.  (One point to consider about the price of the tour is that the money goes towards research and development of seahorse aqua-culture and preventing extinction.) There were about 25 people in total on our tour, but it didn’t seem to be too crowded. The tour guide used a megaphone so everyone could hear what she was saying. *Update* — book online, 24 hours or more in advanced to save $5 per ticket.

Here is a video with clips from our tour:

If you’d like to take this tour, here are some tips for visiting this farm:

  • Tours are offered weekdays at 10am, noon, and 2pm.
  • You should call ahead and reserve a space. Their phone number is 808-329-6840.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen.
  • The farm is located just about a mile South of the Kona Airport on the Natural Energy Lab Road, which is a much longer road than it appears. Here are directions.




About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

9 comments

  1. We only made it to the facility beside the seahorse ranch because we were catching a flight out that afternoon, it’s amazing the amount of commerce there is going on involving that deep sea water…

  2. Hi jim- yes there is a lot going on there. There were so many buildings and businesses that we thought we had gotten lost at first.

  3. Thank you, Sheila, for sharing this story. I had no idea they were making their way onto the endangered species list. They are a fascinating critter though! 🙂

  4. Hi Evelyn – I didn’t know it either. The good news is that this farm is really making a difference by providing farm raised seahorses that are more able to live in an aquarium as a pet. So, it helps reduce ocean harvesting of seahorses.

  5. This is something I always wanted to do. I wonder if they have a Kamaaina discount? Also, do you know how long these seahorses live?

  6. HVG – As far as I’ve seen, they don’t advertise a kamaaina discount. Maybe you could call them and ask. I hope you can get over to see it sometime. Seahorses are fascinating and they actually have personalities, too.

    If I remember correctly, these farm raised seahorse have a life expectancy of anywhere from 4 – 10 years in an aquarium – which is excellent compared to the ocean harvested seahorses that generally only live for 2 weeks in an aquarium.

  7. I’d love to come and visit your farm, and bring my niece, but your prices are way too high. I’d love to support your cause, and would like to see more people supporting your work. Consider charging more reasonable rates, so more people can visit you.
    I’d pay $35 for my Bruce and I, but not $50 or $60, it’s just too much for an hour tour.

    Best wishes growing the seahorse world.

    • Georgia — if you have issues with the prices charged at Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm, it would be best for you to take it up directly with them. I have absolutely ZERO influence on their pricing.

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