Maui Ocean Center
Maui Ocean Center
Not everyone is comfortable swimming in the open ocean to get close to the creatures of the sea, so at the Maui Ocean Center the creatures of the sea are brought to you in a comfortable environment where up close observation can deepen understanding of our living ocean. The facility is the largest tropical aquarium in the western U.S. with 2,000 species on site making it the perfect place for families or wary ocean swimmers to explore the sea safely and easily. Walking in an underwater wonderland, while cooling off in a mix of inside and outside exhibits makes Maui Ocean Center a good additive to any Maui exploration day especially if the weather is not accommodating your "original" plans.
At a Glance:
Highlights: An array of Hawaii's colorful underwater species easily accessible and photographed while staying dry, safe, and informed. A true Hawaiian Aquarium featuring underwater species found in these islands.
Activity Level: Easy allow 2 hours for exploration. Good for all ages.
Hours of operation: Open daily 9 am to 6 pm,
Costs: $25.95 adult (13 to 62 years of age); $18.95 kids 3 to 12 years of age; kids under 3 are free.
The island of Maui has all kinds of outdoor adventures, getting to dive or swim along an ocean reef is one of the best, but not everyone is able to take on that challenge. Aquariums are the perfect experience to get you a look at the oceans myriad of species while remaining dry. A visit to the Maui Ocean Center reveals much about its mission statement of fostering understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii's marine life. An easy to follow self-guided tour leads through this 3-acre park with simulated lava tidepools, huge aquariums tanks, and interactive exhibits set up in an interpretive progression taking you from the waters just off the beach to 150 feet of ocean depth and everywhere in between.
Exhibits to engage learners of all ages are sequenced throughout the Ocean Center. Answering many of the curiosity questions that arise when observing the marine wildlife. In several of the big tanks there are naturalists doing demonstrations that teach about the species on hand. The question and answer session with the diver at the shark tank is always a highlight. He entertains your questions from inside the tank while feeding the many species of shark and ray by hand. These presentations are available several times a day.
A Hawaiian cultural exhibit shares the heritage and use of the sea by native Hawaiian's. Great examples of primitive fishhooks, nets are on exhibit and many plaques reveal the strong and interdependent relationships nurtured by the Hawaiian's and the sea.
Several courtyard eateries and a very well stoked gift shop that is like a museum of undersea jewels and treasures are also onsite for amenities. Is also an ADA accessible site with plenty of ramps and rails throughout.
This is a great rainy day activity or as a "stop over" between morning or afternoon boat excursions or beach runs along the coast in the region. Often the crowds slow down and quiet toward mid-afternoon during little kid nap times. (2 to 4 pm)
Off of HI-route 30
132 Ma'alaea Road
- From Lahaina: Drive Hi-route 30 East for 25 minutes along the coast. Look for a tunnel that you will drive through along the coast, then 5 minutes past make right at the traffic light and then make first right into shopping center. Lookifor "Maui Ocean Center" and the parking stalls near it.
- From Kihei: From North Kihei Road turn left onto Hi-route 31. Drive for approximately 8 minutes to roads end and turn left onto Hi-route 30. At next traffic light turn left and then first right into the parking lot. Looking for "Maui Ocean Center" building and parking.