Maui Ocean Center

By Hawaii.com Team
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Rounding the corner into the Living Reef at the Maui Ocean Center is like stepping into a psychedelic fishbowl. The walls, fitted with more than 40 aquariums, are alive with tropical fish flashing like prisms of dazzling light through living coral reefs. In this surround, humans tend to lower their voices and gawk.

A Place the Whole Family Can Enjoy

“This is what you see when you’re scuba diving — if you’re lucky,” said one gentleman in awe. To view our entire photo gallery, CLICK HERE.

Located at Ma’alaea Harbor Village overlooking Ma’alaea Small Boat Harbor off Honoapi’ilani Highway between Kahului and Lahaina, the $20-million aquarium is designed to draw visitors through a series of indoor and outdoor exhibits. The Living Reef building is home to thousands of live coral, where you can go eye-to-eye with the likes of moray eels, other-worldly garden eels, reef fish, shrimps, Hawaiian white-spotted tobies, sharks and an octopus.

Outdoor Exhibits

Maui Ocean Center

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

In a courtyard outside the reef building are three outdoor exhibits—a turtle lagoon, a touch pool filled with sea stars, helmet shells and other tide-pool animals and a Sting Ray Cove where Hawaii’s enchanting rays glide to and fro on their underwater wings.

Marine Mammal Discovery Center

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

See also the Marine Mammal Discovery Center. Here interactive displays are used to acquaint visitors with sea creatures like the humpback whale, dolphins and the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

The Show-Stopper

Maui Ocean Center

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

The center’s show-stopper has got to be an exhibit designed to simulate a walk in the open ocean with 2,000 fish swirling above, around and below you.

The fish are contained in a 750,000-gallon enclosure, which viewers traverse via a 52-foot long, four-inch thick 240-degree acrylic tunnel. Picture humans standing entranced, unable to resist the temptation of looking a shark in the eye or hitching an imaginary ride on the wings of a passing spotted eagle ray.

What You Can Expect to See

Maui Ocean Center

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Sealife that you can expect to see in the tank include: tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, blacktip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, sandbar sharks, spotted eagle ray, broad stingray, and dozens of species of tropical reef and pelagic fish. Like the gentleman said, this is what you see when you’re scuba diving—if you’re lucky.

Visitor Information

The Maui Ocean Center, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July and August), offers plenty of free parking and is handicap-accessible throughout.

More Activity Offers

Whale Watching, South Maui

Trip includes: Underwater hydrophones to hear whale songs, Onboard Jr. Naturalist Program for kids, Reef-safe sunscreen and filtered water available onboard, Full-color marine wildlife poster, Whale sightings guaranteed or go again free

Departures: 9am, 1130am, 1230pm Adults: $39 Children: $20

$39 BOOK NOW

Atlantis Submarines Maui

Kids ride free with purchase of an adult ticket when you book online! Explore Maui’s marine mysteries 100 feet below the surface in a real submarine! Offer applies to children 12 years and younger. Children must be at least 36 inches tall. Tours are 1 hour and 45 minutes, departing between 9 am and 2 pm daily from Lahaina Harbor.

FREE CHILD TICKET GET DEAL

Take a Snorkel Trip to Molokini

Daily Tours from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (5 Hours)

Trip includes: Continental breakfast, Buffet lunch & beverages including beer & wine, Kids sail 1/2 price.

$120 BOOK NOW

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