Maui Ocean Center Aquarium
$27.95 BOOK NOW
“The Hawaiian Aquarium” Maui Ocean Center Aquarium is the only aquarium in the world dedicated to foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. Located in Maalaea, this 3-acre marine park is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. The Maui Ocean Center Aquarium provides information, tours by marine naturalists and exhibits on thousands of indigenous fish, sharks, turtles, stingrays and other fascinating marine life.
The Aquarium is one of the few Maui activities that do not require an advance reservation. Sweet, but since you are planning your vacation to Maui, you might as well pencil this in as finding the time after you arrive may prove to be challenging with everything else you have scheduled. Regardless, you should visit the Maui Ocean Center, just because it’s a fascinating experience.
Upon entering the aquarium, like most others, there are smaller tanks which hold some of the more exotic species of marine life. The interesting thing about this exhibit is that most of the fish here are native to Hawaiian Waters. You can’t find them anywhere else in the world, but Hawaii.
The tide pool exhibit is also interesting. This exhibit provides understanding on to how our reefs and tide pools come together to support the life in our oceans. Without either, the marine population would dwindle to nothing. The jellyfish tank is unique. Jelly Fish are transparent. The Maui Ocean Center has installed a black light over the tank which illuminates them.
The main feature of the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium is their one-million-gallon tank that has a tunnel through one side. When you walk into it, the fish swim around you. The tank holds a variety of fish, large and small. There are different types of sharks in the tank also, which is OMG. The tiger sharks are big and scary. I’m glad they are behind the glass.
Schools of different species of marine life swim around the tank and then there are some larger fish that are loners. I have like those before found the exhibit special.
The Maui Ocean Center is big on educating the public about everything to do with our oceans, reefs and marine life. They conduct special tours and lectures sharing the habits, conditions, and challenges that face our ocean environments in Hawaii and throughout the world. Most lectures are held at the main tank inside the building. There are schedules posted all over the aquarium, so maybe you can check one out while visiting.
The Aquarium also has a logo store. It’s basically the way out. There are many unique items available for purchase. The first time I visited the Maui Ocean Center I was surprised at how big the store was. It’s huge. Bigger than most shops in Lahaina and stuffed with toys and souvenirs waiting for you to buy for gifts to take home.
Maui is not known for being friendly to your wallet. In most cases, activities on Maui have children restrictions that tend to make them family unfriendly. The aquarium is one of the few activities on Maui that you can enjoy at your leisure for time and family that has no guidelines or restrictions. Your kids will be happy, and so will you.
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Meet at the Maui Ocean Center in Maalaea
GPS: 300 Maalaea Road, Wailuku Hawaii 96793
All issued vouchers will be confirmed with the confirmation “Open Ticket”. You can enjoy the Maui Ocean Center at your leisure.
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily.
This aquarium is fantastic. I'm from Oahu and have been to the Waikiki aquarium many times but this aquarium/ocean center is better. The variety of ocean life is incredible (fish, eels, snails, jellyfish, turtles, sharks, rays, corals, etc.), and the walk-through tunnel is BEAUTIFUL.
All the animals look comfortable and well cared for, and they don't do the more controversial/abusive things I've seen at other places (like making animals "perform" in shows). They're very focused on conservation and letting their creatures behave as they would in the wild.
We didn't do all the special events/classes. My group wasn't interested in ukulele lessons or weaving (we've done plenty of that already) but I think it would be enjoyable for tourists. We did catch the shark/ray presentation and it was way better than than I expected: one staff member stands outside a huge wall of the tank while another scubas into it and they BOTH talk to the audience about all the creatures in the tank. The person inside can answer questions from the audience relayed by the staff outside. It's fun and educational, and helps people understand that sharks are not the bloodthirsty creatures we see in the movies. Also, the whole ocean center does a great job of seamlessly mixing information about the ocean life you see and Hawaiian history/culture.
The tunnel is AMAZING. The fish, sharks, and enormous sting rays glide right over your head, right next to you, and even right under your feet (there are some windows in the floor- it's not 360 degrees of glass all around). It's the closest you can get to them without actually going into the ocean (you could technically get even closer: they do offer a special experience where you can dive in that tank- if you're open ocean scuba certified, make reservations, and pay extra!). It's beautiful and relaxing, and there are places you can sit down to chill and watch it all.
I will definitely go there again next time I'm on Maui. It's a "must do" experience, no matter if you're born and raised in Hawaii or from somewhere far away!
Ocean center is good place to bring your kids. The shark exhibit is pretty amazing and there are ton of sharks and fishes. You can easily spend 2-3 hours, once you are in the tunnel enjoy it soak the view and do not rush. Once you come out, there is nothing much to see.
Live is another good attraction. There is little gym for kids to play while you can take a bite.
Wonderful example of a family and kid friendly aquarium!!!! Loved the shark exhibit and presentation. The tunnel under the sea was so cool as well. Not a national aquarium level big but just the right size with enough to see and do.
It's a nice aquarium with very colorful fishes. There staffs were very nice and friendly. However, I have been to other aquariums and this was either on the same level or not as good. In all, it still made for a pleasant Maui experience.
Entry is a little weird. There was ungaurded access through the seascape restaurant when we were there. So it seemed like they didn't care about admission fee if you visit the restaurant.
Awesome aquarium experience in Maui. The price seems high, but they have made some excellent improvements and portion of the money goes for conservation. The humpback whale experience in the sphere immerses you in the local waters along side the whales. The show is short, but good. Would like to have seen more action shots of the whales. Still gets five stars from me.