Cook Islands’ tropical island setting plays a key role in the allure of Rarotonga as a preferred holiday destination, so it is fitting that the Cooks’ big island has a place that celebrates its wonderful marine and land wildlife.
Officially opened in January, the innovative Discover – Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre is located on the main road at Arorangi between Castaway Resort and Beluga.
This centre is the vision of New Zealander Stephenie Jansen (pictured above), who moved to Rarotonga in 2015 to take over Raro Reef Sub – Marine Life Eco Tours.
With a wide range of colourful exhibits - static and live - showcasing Rarotonga’s diverse living environment, the Discover – Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre also incorporates the Coconut Crab Café, and a booking office for the Raro Reef Sub.
Many of the fascinating and historic exhibits come from the Cook Islands Whale & Wildlife Centre, which sadly closed a year ago.
Discover’s live aquarium exhibits include stonefish and other lagoon fish, live coral and clams, coconut crabs, hermit crabs, and local insects.
The centre also has a connection to Cook Islands Bird Rescue, so there is an aviary for rehabilitating injured birds.
Since moving to Rarotonga with her young son Michael four years ago, Stephenie has acquired a genuine passion for the preservation of the local environment.
Stephenie said the centre is a great combination of environmental awareness and entertainment.
Open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday (Tel. +682 23 344)
“Discover – Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre has been designed with all ages in mind, so there is something for everyone!”