When you’re visiting Maui and you’re looking for an up-close-and-personal view of marine life that doesn’t involve you actually getting in the water, you want to make a trip to the Maui Ocean Center. The center, which calls itself “The Hawaiian Aquarium,” is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, covering more than three acres.
Located at Ma’alaea Harbor, the Maui Ocean Center is a great stop on any tour of Maui. You’ll find all kinds of sea life that lives right around the Hawaiian Islands, including tropical reef fish, octopus, moray eels, green sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, sea jellies, and more. All the animals are presented in environments which mimic their real habitats, so there are no specific feeding times or shows you need to plan for. There are, however, aquarium experts who give presentations at various times during the day, so be sure to find out when those will be.
Most of the Maui Ocean Center is actually indoors, so if you’re looking for a place to escape from an unexpected rainstorm or just want to get out of the sun for a couple of hours, this can be a good option. It’s also very family-friendly, and good entertainment for the kids. There are periodic special exhibits and events hosted by the aquarium, so be sure to see what’s going on when you’re visiting. And the aquarium also organizes off-site activities like diving trips, so you can put your new-found marine life knowledge to the test in the real world.
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Check out this video introduction to the aquarium:
Location: 192 Ma’alaea Road, Wailuki, HI 96793 (see driving directions here)
Hours: Daily, 09:00-17:00; in July and August, 09:00-18:00
Admission: One-Day Pass – $25.50 adults, $18.50 child (age 3-12), $22.50 (senior age 65+); there are also weekly and annual passes, ask about those prices at the ticket booth or check online.