PETER SKINNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER SKINNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Thousands of ferns cling to the roof of the Smith's Fern Grotto, a popular tourist attraction on the Wailua River, Kauai, Hawaii. The grotto, included in a river cruise, is a popular location for weddings and an average of four or five are held here weekly. Cruises to the grotto have been offered by the Smith family since 1946. The grotto, said by geologists to be millions of years old, is at the base of the Mauna Kapu (forbidden mountain), the legendary peak that overlooks the south bank of the river. The grotto was a sacred place for the ancient Hawaiians and traditionally only members of the royal family were allowed to see it. In recent years hurricanes and other ecological changes have damaged or changed the grotto but its legendary ferns still thrive and cling to the roof, growing downwards.
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