To foster understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii's marine life.
About Maui Ocean Center
Since Coral World International opened its $20-million Maui Ocean Center in March 1998, this state-of-the-art facility has lured visitors from around the globe fascinated with experiencing a glimpse of Hawai‘i’s undersea world.
Aptly named “The Hawaiian Aquarium,” this state-of-the-art marine park on the island of Maui is the only facility in the world dedicated to fostering understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. Here, visitors can see spectacular live coral displays (the largest collection in the nation), enjoy playful swimming displays by Hawai‘i’s beloved green sea turtles, awe at close encounters with sharks, rays and more – while learning about Hawai‘i’s natural history and cultural heritage.
Through years of research and meticulous care, Maui Ocean Center has gathered the best and most unique collection of Hawai‘i’s marine life. As a result, what would take weeks, if not a lifetime to explore in the wild, can easily be seen in a leisurely stroll through the facility in one day. For visitors, this aquatic experience is both educational and breathtaking as they encounter hundreds of endemic animal species.
Dedicated to perpetuating the island’s host culture, Maui Ocean Center’s exhibits and tours also showcase the language, myths and history of the Hawaiian Islands in an entertaining and educational format.
To enhance the learning experience, digital audio guides, available at the park’s information booth, provide colorful commentary on the animals that call Hawai‘i home (guides available in English, Spanish and Japanese), while expert naturalists are always nearby to answer any questions visitors 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 Hawaiian Aquarium lasts approximately one and a half to two hours, but most visitors stay longer to absorb the breathtaking views, linger over lunch at the aquarium’s two restaurants or to immerse themselves in the Maui Ocean Center Store, a veritable treasure trove of ocean- and island-inspired jewelry, art, clothing, toys, gifts, books and logo items.
Averaging over 400,000 visitors annually, the Maui Ocean Center is one of Maui’s biggest attractions for eco-tourism activities. Throughout the marine park, 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; encourage visitors to experience Hawai‘i’s marine life up-close. These personal encounters with nature are designed to help visitors develop an understanding and appreciation of the unique nature of Hawai‘i’s marine environment in an enjoyable and safe setting.
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 advisors, for sharks are considered na ‘aumakua (deified ancestors or personal gods) by old Hawaiians.