Explore Maui’s Eye-popping Aquarium

Essential MauiMaui

PHOTO: HAWAI‘I TOURISM AUTHORITY (HTA) / TOMMY LINDBERG | LOCATION: MA‘ALEA

Located at Mā‘alaea Harbor Village just off Honoapi‘ilani Highway between Kahului and Lahaina, the MAUI OCEAN CENTER is designed to draw visitors in through a series of more than 60 INDOOR AND OUTDOOR EXHIBITS that twist and wind their way through an impressive array of living coral reef.

Aptly named “THE HAWAIIAN AQUARIUM, ” this state-of-the-art marine park is dedicated to fostering an understanding and respect for Hawai‘i’s ESSENTIAL MAUI NOTE: Many event s and businesses may h ave changed days and times o f operation due to COVID-19. Pl ease call beforehand to receive the most up-to-date information and avoid any inconvenience.

LIVING REEF exhibit features the largest collection of live coral on display in the nation, while other displays and educational tours showcase the language, history and lore of the Hawaiian Islands.

In honor of its 20th anniversary, Maui Ocean Center unveiled a whale exhibit, HUMPBACKS OF HAWAI‘I . This interactive exhibit focuses on humpback whales, using state-of-the- art technology to allow visitors to feel like they’re swimming with these giant ocean mammals. Its 3D Sphere showcases the first 3D film of its kind shot in Hawaiian waters, resulting in an immersive, captivating experience for audiences. The ocean center is the perfect home for the exhibit, since the waters around Maui are one of the humpback whale’s favorite places to winter every year.

The ocean center’s marine collection has been entirely assembled from the Hawaiian Islands’ waters. GREEN SEA TURTLES — part of a hatch-and-release program — eventually are returned to the ocean.

The enchanting 750,000-gallon OPEN OCEAN exhibit can be likened to standing in a giant fishbowl — with thousands of fi sh swirling around you. Designed to simulate a walk in the ocean, the exhibit features a 54-foot long, 4-inch thick, 240-degree, see-through acrylic tunnel. It is not uncommon for visitors of all ages to press their faces to the sides of the tunnel, or lay their bodies flat on the floor, just for a better view of the creatures of the deep.

Expect to stay at the ocean center for about two hours. RESTAURANTS also are on property, as is a GIFT SHOP. Maui Ocean Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers plenty of free parking. Reservations are required. For more info, visit mauioceancenter.com.

MAUI OCEAN CENTER 808-270-7000

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