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“Nice aquarium but we have that at home.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Maui Ocean Center

Maui Ocean Center
192 Ma'alaea Rd, Hwy 30, Ma'alaea Harbor, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793
18082707000
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Recommended
$27*
and up
Maui Ocean Center Admission
Ranked #1 of 41 things to do in Wailuku
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Discover, experience, and explore Hawaii's underwater world at Maui Ocean Center. Named Top 25 Best Aquariums in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, the Aquarium features over 60 exhibits with sharks, turtles, stingrays and thousands of vibrant tropical fish. The Aquarium is home to the world's largest collection of live Pacific corals, faithfully replicating thriving marine ecosystems in every exhibit. Journey from the shallow reef to the open ocean and encounter marine life found nowhere else in the world. A mix of indoor-outdoor exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, and interactive presentations allow guests to conveniently discover Hawaii's marine life in a single day that would otherwise take a lifetime of exploration to see. Explore the diversity of Hawaii's marine world without ever getting wet in breathtaking exhibits like the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit featuring a 54ft walkthrough tunnel. Amply named The Hawaiian Aquarium, Maui Ocean Center is dedicated to perpetuating the Hawaiian culture and the relationship that exists between the Hawaiian people and the sea. Enhance your experience with Maui's only shark diving activity, dining at Seascape Ma'alaea Restaurant, shopping at Maui Ocean Treasures, or book a special event at Maui's most unique venue. Round-trip shuttle transportation is available as an add-on service, visit our website or call for details. Enjoy a distinctively Maui experience at Hawaii's premier Aquarium. Open daily 9am-5pm (including all holidays).
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
42 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Nice aquarium but we have that at home.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013 via mobile

The kids really enjoyed the Maui Ocean Center. There was some very nice information on the local sea life but honestly I wouldn't go out of my way to make the trip. You can go to an aquarium back home, don't waste your time on Maui

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
142 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 603 helpful votes
“Huge variety of marine life and a well organized center.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

We visited the Maui Ocean Center on 14th June 2013 after having eaten at their Seascape Ma’alaeca Restaurant. The marine life and corals kept at this center are all from the Hawaiian seas. At the entrance are static displays of marine life followed by displays of jelly fishes and a discovery pool. The main display tanks are at the huge Open Ocean enclosure which also houses the Marine Mammal Discovery Center.

What I found impressive was the vast variety of marine life and how healthy these were. The 54-foot acrylic tunnel takes you under water to view at close hand the awesome sharks, majestic manta rays,and hundreds of other fishes swimming all around you. Outside are the turtle lagoon, the hammerhead harbor, and the surge zone where pounding waves provide shelter for the juvenile fishes from the larger predators.

Visitors to Maui could do well to place this amazing Ocean Center on their list of must see attractions! The Center caters for the physically handicapped and is wheel chair friendly. There are lots of restrooms, telephone booths, food and drink booths, and even a drinking water station. Audio guides are available. At the entrance first aid if needed is provided. Photography is permitted for personal enjoyment. Presentations on the marine life are scheduled at certain times for various sections like the Tide Pool, Deep Reef, Open Ocean Turtle lagoon and Living Reef, and it’s story time every Saturday at 11.30 am on Hawaiians and the sea.

To witness changes in shark behaviour from day to night time and observe marine creatures that glow in the dark, sleep overs can be arranged throughout the year for ages 8 to 13, and for organized groups.The Center also caters to special occasions like weddings, receptions, banquets, corporate and birthday parties. There is a small discount for seniors. Maui Ocean Center is located at Highway 30, 192 Ma’alaea Road, Wailuku. Telephone number (808) 270 7000. Their web site is mauiocceancenter.com.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank John-KT-Lim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olympia Fields, Illinois
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Too Expensive - Few Wow Moments - Poor Interactive Displays - Great Shark Tunnel”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013 via mobile

Research did not prepare me for the disappointments we experienced here. With audio and entry for two we paid $59. The online discount of 10% off is only available if you buy a day or more in advance of going. Still, we wanted to learn about the local marine life as advertised, and I wanted pictures for art studies. There is a facility map online that's more impressive than actually being there. The turtle area was closed, which should have been stated upon entry since there are only about 5 or 6 main areas to explore. There are plenty of shopping opportunities for food and souvenirs. It's pricey but so is the rest of Maui. There was a vendor booth at the end of the main fish exhibit. They were set up in front of a tank...odd to block a display. The main aquarium house was interesting enough but there were several repeated fish in several tanks. The background for all tanks was painted the same cobalt blue. The color stands out because so many tanks have a sparse display of accessories. The taller rock formations are interesting but they are few and far between. Overall a lot of beautiful and unique fish, corals and other small marine life but not a lot of variety.
There is a petting area to touch a sea urchin, starfish and similar. Hand sanitizer is provided to be sure that you don't put dirty hands in the water. I photographed a starfish that looked quite sickly, which put me off from touching other sea life (picture uploaded). The entire display was like an uplifted wading pool with a few sea animals placed around the sides in alcoves.
There is a small shark tank near the petting are, but the water was too murky to see much. Then there is the main shark house with the infamous shark tunnel. The central interactive display is unimpressive, several push buttons to light up answers to questions and a many informational charts posted...not enough interaction. Off in a corner is the best part of the interaction experience. There is a small dark walk-around room that suggests what it would be like in the mother of a whale. Great idea! Smaller kids avoided it but teens and adults seemed to flock there. A deep-toned voice narrated various stages of being swallowed as spectators starred at water filled tubes that bubbled in sync with menacing sounds that a whale would make with lunch in his mouth. Again, great idea! Best if you have a good imagination, I do. So on through the room and finally to the shark tunnel...BEST PART OVERALL (photos uploaded).
Divers, sharks, sting rays, a sloshing food bucket, and the chance tI talk to an actual marine biologist about local marine life...very cool! One diver lingered and observed. He was sprawled across the top of the tunnel which added to the mystery of what was happening. Another diver interacted with a food bucket, stirring competition and a frenzy in the waters from time to time...very cool and somewhat scary to see the scuffle. The last diver was in the main section doing a variety of things and answering questions that the crowd encouraged the docent to ask. She was very informed and kept the interaction process alive.
Do not waste your money ($3.33 w/tax) on the audio your. The idea is sound but the information was quite minimal. Take the time to read the wall display. Much of the recorded audio is already printed on the wall.
In general, smaller children will be amazed with the entire experience, but anyone who has ever visited a proper aquarium (like the Chicago Shedd Aquarium) will not be. The entry cost is way too much for what you see. Shark tunnel gets an A+ (best display, interaction and presentation); petting area gets an F (sickly sea life is not cool); general aquarium gets a C (needs more fish variety, better tank accessories and interactive displays). Be sure to view uploaded pictures.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Artist_Aboard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arvada, Colorado
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wonderful introduction to the sea life around the islands”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

Stopped on our drive from the airport to Ka'anapali Beach since we arrived ahead of check-in. This center rivals a similar setup found at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas but has a better feel to it.

Both educational and 'soft touch' techniques are used to stimulate both young and old. Amazing displays of jelly fish, varieties of sharks and the beautiful and colorful species of fish within the ocean depths.

Well worth the two hours we spent to tour and speak with the marine biologists.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Joe K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level Contributor
84 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great Aquarium and Great Gift Shop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

Having spent a fair amount of time in some major aquaria, I was willing to visit the Maui Ocean Center, but prepared to be underwhelmed. Well, the visit was special in several ways. First, at the very start of our visit we got to hear Daniel, a young student intern, give his first public presentation about one of the exhibits. He was great and it was a treat. Second, Hawaiian themes and associated display tanks were beautiful and interesting - and, yes, different. Third, a nice visit to the aquarium was followed by a visit to the impressive gift store. Not only did the stored bring joy to my wife and daughter-in-law, it also provided some nice gifts "for the folks back home."

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Russell C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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