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Coined "The Hawaiian Aquarium," Maui Ocean Center far exceeded my standard aquarium expectations. I had the pleasure of visiting the aquarium last weekend and already want to go back!
By showcasing only species collected from Hawaiian waters, I got the opportunity to see a very unique array of local underwater life, including the largest collection of live coral displays in the country as well as several species of sharks, rays, endemic tropical fish, octopus, moray eels, sea turtles, sea horses and jellyfish. My personal favorite were the baby hammerhead sharks and frog fish.
With over sixty exhibits aimed to spread understanding and appreciation for Hawaii's unique marine life, the Ocean Center even offers the chance to sit it on one of the complimentary naturalist presentations given daily by staff experts. We were lucky enough to visit the last stop in the aquarium, the 750,000 gallon shark tank, during feeding time, and were given interesting, important information about their eating habits, behavioral characteristics and ways to stay safe in the water.
Grab an audio guide (several languages available) and let the Ocean Center guide you through the museum. If you're up for it, you can even reserve a spot on one of their famous Shark Dives, where you hop into the tank for a truly unique (and slightly unnerving) experience. Visit their store for some special souvenirs and grab some lunch or dinner at one of the two restaurants on site, the Seascape Ma'alaea or Reef Cafe.
They are open 365 days a year with daily, weekly and yearly passes available and are conveniently located in Ma'alaea Harbor between Kihei and Lahaina. Buy Maui Ocean Center tickets online and treat yourself to some very unique ocean life!
To read more about my adventures on Maui, visit my travel blog at Travelin' Fools.