When we were putting together our itinerary (very loosely) for our trip to Maui there were very few things we wanted to do besides hit the beach (see some of our favourite pictures here). The ultimate goal of the trip was to just relax and enjoy some time in the sand with the kids. This being said we still had a few things we wanted to do. Some of them were things we had done before but just had to do again (hello cheesy family parrot picture) and then there was still a handful of things we had yet to do even though we have visited Maui twice before. Our Maui bucket list still included things like; go to a Luau, find roadside banana bread and coconuts, see turtles on a beach, eat shaved ice and visit the Maui Ocean Centre. All of these things we were able to cross off on our latest trip, some in a bigger way than others!
While the kids enjoyed the fire dancing at the Luau and the sugar rush from the shaved ice, they most certainly enjoyed visiting the Maui Ocean Centre the best. Not only did Hazel ask to go back while we were still in Maui, she has asked to go back again since we have been home! When I asked Hazel what her favourite part of the Maui Ocean Centre was, she said;
“Getting Ice-cream (because duh) watching the turtles, seeing all the fishies, touching the starfish and the big tunnel with all the sharks.”
And I have to agree with her, while there was plenty to see, it was all so good and so well done that it really is hard to pick a favourite.
The Maui Ocean Centre is located in Maalaea Harbour, just North of Kihei, about 20 minutes away from where we were staying. Since the ocean centre opened in 1998 it has been wowing visitors from around the globe on a daily basis and I can see why. Staying true to its natural ecosystem and the Hawaiian culture one will only find animals that live in Hawaii. The Maui Ocean Centre educates its visitors on how the ocean plays a role in Hawaiian culture through various interactive displays and over 60 exhibits! It’s a mixture of indoors and outdoors, and it is right on the ocean which I think adds to the experience and allows them to have an open ocean exhibit.
The Tide Pool was one of Hazels favourites as she was able to reach in and touch the starfish. We then visited Turtle Lagoon and learnt all about turtles. Did you know that if you see a turtle on the beach you have to stay at least 15 feet away from them or else you could get ticketed? One of our favourite parts was the open ocean exhibit, which is 750,000 gallons and features an acrylic tunnel which allows you to walk through the exhibit. As you walk through the tunnel you have sharks, fish, stingrays, all swimming around you. It really is quite neat!
A huge thank you to the Maui Ocean Centre for having us while we were in Maui, we will most certainly be back! And we most definitely recommend adding a visit to your Maui travel plans!