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Maui Ocean Center is one of the largest tropical reef aquariums in the world. Their mission is to ‘foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawai‘i’s Marine Life.’ We visited as part of our ‘Best of Maui’ tour while our cruise ship was in port.
We had lunch in the cafe as part of our admission. The food was pretty good for a restaurant in an aquarium and our table looked out on the ocean.
All of the animals that live there are found in the oceans around Hawaii. There are several exhibits outdoors, including a touch pool and the sea turtles, which you can see from above and below the water.
In the buildings there are extensive coral reef exhibits. The Ocean Center is growing artificial coral in the hopes of restoring coral populations in the wild. Hawaii’s reefs are declining due to global warming and pollution (sunscreen that is not reef safe is illegal now in Hawaii.)
There is also an Open Ocean tank with sharks and rays. We walked through the clear tunnel from one end to the other and a ray parked right over our heads.
It is against local laws to exhibit live cetaceans, so the Ocean Center has a Humpback Whale sphere instead. This is a 3D film featuring humpback whales project onto a planetarium ceiling. We relaxed in the reclining seats, listening to the soothing narration and felt like we were swimming underwater with the humpbacks.
- Kahului Harbor
- Haleakalā National Park
- ʻĪao Valley State Monument
- Maui Tropical Plantation
- Maui Ocean Center
Location: 192 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793
Date of my visit: 4/15/2019