Families gather for World Ocean Day in Downtown Hilo

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World Ocean Day at Kalākaua Park in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)

East Hawai’i resident Chelsea-Marie Hasegawa and her children were among the families that enjoyed the 2nd annual World Ocean Day event in Downtown Hilo.

“There’s so much here for them to do,” she said. “I have a preteen, an older kid, and a toddler, and there was something for all of them to do and it was really fun.

“They did boat racing, made a whale’s tail, and they all had little tattoos for them.”


On a sunny day, about 100 people attended the event that featured keiki activities, informational booths, painting and drawing. Calming music came from nearby speakers and children laughed and played on the park’s historic banyan trees.

World Ocean Day officially is June 8, an internationally recognized day of awareness aimed at encouraging people to come together towards restoring and protecting the oceans and ultimately the planet. The 2023 theme is “Planet Ocean: Tides Are Changing.” 

Kellie Miyazu, the education director at the East Hawai’i Cultural Center, said: “We’ve had a fun day in Kalākaua with families coming out and learning about the different issues that are impacting our oceans.”


Children painted marine animals and there were spinning wheels for participants to try to win prizes.

Clayton Watkins, event coordinator at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, was at the park with small boats he made for kids to learn about the Hōkūle‘a Voyaging Canoe, which also on Saturday was launching its years-long journey Moananuiākea in Alaska.

He said the day also was special for the museum.

  • World Ocean Day at Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • Families gather for World Ocean Day in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • World Ocean Day at Kalākaua Park at Mokupāpapa Discovery Center. in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • World Ocean Day at Kalākaua Park in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)
  • World Ocean Day at Kalākaua Park in Hilo on June 10, 2023. (Megan Moseley/Big Island Now)

“It’s our anniversary from the pandemic,” he said. “We opened up on World Ocean day last year and we had this event. We’re making it annual thing with the other museums.”

Representatives from the Downtown Hilo Museum Square (East Hawai‘i Cultural Center, Hawai‘i Science and Technology Museum, Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, and Pacific Tsunami Museum) all participated.

Also present were Hawaiian Electric representatives, State of Hawai’i Division of Aquatic Resources, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hilo Public Library, Ke Kai Ola and Zero Waste Hawai’i.

Megan Moseley
Megan Moseley is a full-time journalist for Pacific Media Group. Her experience ranges from long and short-form reporting to print, digital, radio and television news coverage. In Hawaiʻi, she's worked for local media outlets and has covered a wide range of topics including local and state politics, environmental affairs, Native Hawaiian issues, travel, tourism and education. She covers the West for Restaurant Hospitality.

She's a 2010 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Magazine Journalism and specializations in Geology and History. She's currently working on her master's degree from New York University and Ohio University and is focused on conflict resolution and peace practices in indigenous cultures in the Pacific.
Megan can be reached at [email protected].
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