The Maui Ocean Center, AKA "The Hawaiian Aquarium", is Maui's only state-of-the-art marine park and the only facility in the world dedicated to fostering understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii's marine life. You'll get to experience spectacular live coral displays (the largest collection in the nation), enjoy playful swimming displays by Hawaii's beloved green sea turtles, be in awe at close encounters with sharks, rays and more! You'll also learn about Hawaii's natural history and cultural heritage.
The Maui Ocean Center has, through its ongoing research efforts, gathered the best and most unique collection of Hawaii's marine life. So, instead of taking weeks, if not a lifetime to explore in the wild, you'll get to easily see, in a leisurely stroll through the facility, most all Hawaii's ocean has to offer, in one day. This aquatic experience will be both educational and breathtaking as you encounter hundreds of endemic animal species.
The Maui Ocean Center is committed to perpetuating Hawaii's culture, so you'll find its exhibits and tours also showcase the language, myths and history of the Hawaiian Islands in an entertaining and educational format.
To enhance your learning experience, you may consider renting a digital audio guide, available at check-out or at the park's information booth, which features colorful commentary on the animals that call Hawaii home (guides available in English, Spanish and Japanese). Also available, at no cost, are expert naturalists who are always nearby to answer any questions you may have. Complimentary naturalist presentations are also scheduled daily at half past the hour in various exhibits throughout the aquarium. An average visit to the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium lasts approximately one and a half to two hours, but most visitors choose to stay longer in order to enjoy the breathtaking views, have lunch at one of the aquarium's two restaurants or to immerse themselves in the Maui Ocean Center Store, where you'll find island-inspired jewelry, art, clothing, toys, gifts, books and logo items.
The Maui Ocean Center averages over 400,000 visitors yearly and is one of Maui's biggest attractions for eco-tourism activities. There you will also find interactive displays, outdoor touch pools and unique exhibits such as the acrylic tunnel through a 750,000-gallon, Open Ocean Exhibit teeming with over 2,000 fishes.
All the animals displayed at the Maui Ocean Center are collected exclusively from waters around the Hawaiian Islands. All collecting is conducted under strict, government permits and the animals are featured and cared for with integrity. The green sea turtles, for example, are part of a hatch-and-release program. They are given a strong head start and eventually will be released to the wild. Many of the rays and sharks are rotated from the aquarium to the ocean. And when a shark is brought into or released from the aquarium, it is blessed by one of Maui Ocean Center's Hawaiian cultural advisers, for sharks are considered na'aumakua (deified ancestors or personal gods) by old Hawaiians.