Maui Ocean Center

#14 in Best Things To Do in Maui
Maui Ocean Center picture
jdeleon5/Flickr

Key Info

192 Maalaea Rd.

Price & Hours

$29.95 for adults; $19.95 for kids 3-12
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 3.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

If you find yourself facing a rainy day on the island, consider spending some time at the Maui Ocean Center. This facility was created to cultivate visitors' interest in learning about Hawaii's underwater ecosystems. The vast Maui Ocean Center offers a variety of ways to get up close and personal with the island's nautical residents, including touch pools and a tunnel beneath the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit (which houses more than 2,000 fish). While here, you can catch a glimpse of everything from stingrays to sea turtles to sharks.

Recent visitors described the aquarium as small, but charming. Many travelers were especially impressed with the Open Ocean tunnel. And for reviewers who had snorkeled around the island, the aquarium provided a more in-depth education into the animals they had spotted underneath the water's surface.

You'll find the Maui Ocean Center in Ma'alaea along the southwest coast of the island. The facility is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs around $27.95 for adults and $19.95 for children ages 3 to 12. There are also family packages and additional activities, such as behind-the-scenes tours, available for an extra charge. You can reach the Maui Ocean Center by car from the Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30); you can also take the No. 20 bus from Lahaina or Kahului or the Nos. 10 or 15 buses from the Piilani Village Shopping Center just north of Wailea (the No. 10 also runs to Kahului). To learn more, visit the Maui Ocean Center website.

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Time to Spend
#1 Road to Hana

To find excellent views of Maui's beautiful coastline, all you need to do is drive. The Road to Hana is a scenic highway (Highway 360) that twists through the lush rainforest and past the cascading waterfalls that line the island's eastern shore. Most people start their trip in Kahului (home to Maui's main airport) with the intention of motoring 55 miles to Hana. The trip isn't always easy: The route often surprises unfamiliar drivers with hairpin turns. But those who decide to step on the gas aren't sorry they did. Despite all the hype and mental preparation, travelers are regularly surprised by the drive's beauty.

The Road to Hana might seem short, but traveling it will most likely take all day given the number of scenic lookouts and other places to stop. Those who have driven the Road to Hana highly recommend taking your time and stopping as often as possible. Reviewers also recommend starting your drive early in the morning, as the road grows congested as the day progresses. If you'd rather let someone else do the driving, there are several tour companies that offer tours in luxury vans, including Valley Isle Excursions and Temptation Tours. Though pricier than driving yourself, taking a tour allows you to focus on the incredible scenery while someone else focuses on navigating the winding curves.

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