Science Luau 2016

Science Luau 2016 - Science in Paradise

At Science Getaways, our mission is to offer vacations full of relaxation, exploration, and education. Last year we went to the Big Island of Hawaii and it was so popular we’re doing it again! Science Luau 2016 will be held 19-23 September 2016, at the beautiful Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. The hotel is on the gorgeous Kohala Coast where it’s almost always sunny and dry. In fact, the Kohala coast is where the ancient Hawaiian kings used to spend their vacations! 

Visit the Registration Information page for complete details on how to join us on this fantastic tropical Getaway.


The Kilauea crater at dusk (photo by Phil Plait)

Our week on the Big Island will be packed with everything that makes Hawaii so great – amazing beaches, mountains, volcanoes, snorkeling, tropical drinks, fantastic local cuisine, and the warmest, friendliest people in the Hawaiian Islands. We’ll have guest scientists who’ll teach us about the amazing and unique island of Hawaii, including Professor Richard Hazlett, the author of Roadside Geology of Hawaii, and by Keller Laros, founder of the Manta Pacific Research Foundation,  We’ll learn about the natural history of the Hawaiian Islands, the delicate ecology of a coral reef, and why there are so few wiliwili trees left on the island (hint – goats are involved). And of course, your personal astronomer, Phil Plait, will always be around to point out interesting objects in the sky.


Green sea turtles hang out at the Mauna Lani Hotel.

We’re not just going to learn about Hawaii though – we’re going to experience it. We’ll board a private charter boat to snorkel at a coral reef in the afternoon and then night snorkel with manta rays! We’ll be taking a trip to the active Kilauea volcano with our own tour guide who will show us some of the most amazing parts of Volcanoes National Park.

And not only that, but we’ll also hike through a tropical dry forest with an expert guide who will tell us about the amazing and unique plant and animal species native to Hawaii and efforts to conserve the few that remain. As a bonus we’ll take a side trip to the charming village of Waimea to see the beautiful rolling hills of Hawaii’s cowboy country. This little village offers gorgeous views down to the coast, Hawaiian charm, and world class cuisine.


The Hula Kai will be our private party boat for snorkeling an amazing coral reef and night snorkeling with manta rays!

Our day trip to the Kealakekua Bay and Captain Cook Monument will be filled with tropical delights. This is the spot where Captain Cook first landed and later died in Hawaii. Luckily for us, it is now a protected marine preserve. The coral reef here is incredibly beautiful with hundreds of varieties of gorgeous tropical fish and colorful corals. Last year when we took this snorkeling cruise, we were escorted by spinner dolphins on our way to the bay and we saw an adolescent reef shark tucked up under the coral. The cruise includes a video of our group snorkeling at the reef and with the mantas, so you’ll have a great way to relive your adventure after you get home.




Nothing is more relaxing than watching the sun set from a white sand beach.

If you’re wondering when the relaxing part of this vacation happens, don’t worry. We’ve worked in enough down time for you to while away a few hours on the beach, snorkel with sea turtles or paddle board in the coral reef lagoon right outside the hotel. If that’s not relaxing enough, you can also lounge by the pool or indulge in a massage.

The Mauna Lani is a green resort that is dedicated to reducing its environmental impact and conserving Hawaii’s ecology. They generate power with 3 acres of solar panels and are dedicated to environmental stewardship. Running through the hotel’s grounds and the main level inside the hotel is a saltwater river where you may see a juvenile manta ray or hammerhead shark swimming tranquilly among many varieties of fish. The hotel also administers a honu fostering program, raising juvenile green sea turtles until they’re large enough to be released into the ocean on Independence Day.


Ocean View room at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel


The best part of any Science Getaway is the people you’ll meet and spend time with. Science Getawayers are smart, interesting, and fun people who like to go outside and play while they learn! Over the years many lasting friendships have formed on Science Getaways and the fact that so many people keep coming back testifies to what a great time they had.

Whether you’re single and looking to share an amazing week with like-minded geeks, or want to bring your whole family on an amazing vacation filled with exploration and learning, you will always remember your Science Getaway as one of the best vacations you’ve ever had.

Click here for complete registration information and descriptions of the week’s activities. We hope to see you in September on the Big Island for Science Luau 2016.




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