Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Maui: Maui Ocean Center




June 11, 2015

Visit Maui: Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center, the largest tropical aquarium in the western hemisphere and better known as “The Hawaiian Aquarium” features a 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit with a 240-degree view acrylic tunnel.  We knew my 4 year old son, who loves sharks, would love exploring the tunnel at the Maui Ocean Center!

The kids had their own ideas where to visit first.

We made a beeline to the Marine Mammal Discovery Center where the kids played with interactive displays and games.  My favorite exhibit was the Sea Jelly Gallery.  Watching the jelly fish is so calming and almost hypnotizing.  When my daughter was a baby, it was our favorite sea creature to watch.    

Lauren still loves the jellyfish.  Never gets old.

The Open Ocean exhibit is a 750,000-gallon salt-water aquarium where you can watch stingrays and large, fast-swimming fishes like sharks and jacks.  The highlight for us was the 54-foot-long clear acrylic tunnel that gives its visitors a 240-degree view of nearly 2,000 fishes.  It was absolutely amazing.  My son and I could have stayed in that tunnel for hours.  What’s really cool is that certified SCUBA divers age 15 and older may enter the exhibit as part of the Shark Dive Maui program.  What an experience that would be!

Learning about the humpback whales.

Loved how fascinated he was!

So cool to see the sea life co-existing in the tank.

This shark swam right up to us.

Dive presentations are twice daily.  11am and 3pm.

The kids also enjoyed taking a closer look at the marine life in the Tide Pool where they learned that touching with two fingers is the way to feel the sea stars, urchins and sea cucumbers.  Other favorite exhibits were watching the unique looking hammerhead sharks in Hammerhead Harbor and seeing the older green sea turtles swim in the Turtle Lagoon and the younger sea turtles in a tank. 

The sea turtles here are a part of a hatch and release program and will return to the wild.

There is so much to see and do at the Maui Ocean Center!  The Living Reef exhibit realistically portrays the wonder of Hawaii’s coral reefs from the rocky surge zone to the edge of the deep reef.  Visitors will see marine creatures like moray eels, octopus, lobsters, sea horses, nocturnal fish and much more!   The Coral Reefs exhibit explains how coral reproduces, thrives, and influences our lives.  These exhibits are especially awesome and informative if you plan to do some snorkeling in Maui.

Touching sea creatures in the tide pool is a perfect way for little ones to learn.

Checking out Ma'alaea Harbor.

Discovery pool.

Our family definitely recommends a stop at the Maui Ocean Center when visiting Maui.  It is fun for the entire family!  After the hours you will surely spend fascinated here learning about our beautiful sea life, be sure to make your final stop at the Maui Ocean Treasures.  The gift shop is truly a one stop shop for all your souvenir needs, from cookies to toys to artwork.  You will be sure to find something awesome to remember your Maui vacation! 

Sorry Cade, no space in the luggage for your friend.

Thank you to the Maui Ocean Center for hosting our family's visit.  We had a wonderful time!

Maui Ocean Center
192 Ma'alaea Road
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793

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