From the smallest coral polyp to the seven-foot sandbar shark, the intricate wonders of Hawai'i's ocean are showcased in over 60 indoor and outdoor exhibits at Maui Ocean Center. Each exhibit features marine animals living in habitats closely resembling their own natural environment.
A selection of the exhibits are described below…The Living Reef
Over 40 realistically-designed exhibits take you on a journey from the rocky surge zone to the edge of the deep reef. See rarely encountered marine creatures: moray eels, octopus, lobsters, sea horses, nocturnal fish and much more!
Sneak a peek 'through the walls' of Maui Ocean Center and view diagrams of the aquarium's open seawater system (using water pumped from the ocean instead of manufacturing artificial saltwater). Discover all of the elements that go into creating an exhibit.
Get up close and personal with Hawaiian green sea turtles at this outdoor two-view exhibit. See the animals from above the water, as they surface to breathe, or from a below viewing window for a unique view of these beloved creatures. Maui Ocean Center's sea turtles are part of a hatch-and-release program and will eventually be released in the wild.
Come eye to eye with hammerhead sharks, known for their amazing shapes and unique predatory hunting maneuvers. Watch them turn their heads from side to side as they search for prey hidden in the sand at the bottom of their exhibit.
The Tide Pool
Get a hands-on feel for Hawaii's invertebrates at the Tide Pool. Constructed in the form of an ocean rock pool, the Tide Pool holds a variety of harmless marine animals. Under the guidance of a marine naturalist, you are welcome to touch the inhabitants of this display.
Marine Mammal Discovery Center
See the world from a whale's point of view! The new exhibit retains a few of the humpback whale displays, while several new features focus on the various species of dolphins and whales found in Hawaiian waters, plus the state's most endangered marine mammal, the monk seal. The 3,000 square-foot exhibit includes several interactive displays and graphic boards on marine mammals, life-size models of a monk seal mother and pup in a realistic beach setting, and the most dynamic new exhibit, the Bubble Net. The Bubble Net will give visitors the chance to experience what it is like to be the krill that is gathered up and eaten by humpback whales in Alaskan waters.
Hawaiians and the Sea
Explore the close relationship between the ancient Hawaiians and the Pacific Ocean in this inspiring exhibit. The ancient Hawaiians were expert navigators, using the stars as guides and traveling in their handmade, hydrodynamically perfected vessels. These proficient fishermen were also masters at designing and building aquaculture systems that provided food without depleting the island's natural resources.
Sea Jelly Gallery
Watch moon jellies as they appear to dance before your eyes in a stunning floor-to-ceiling cylinder, perhaps the aquarium's most soothing exhibit. Their gentle pulsating and pumping prevents the jellies from sinking while increasing the likelihood of it capturing prey in its stinging tentacles.
The Open Ocean
A 54-foot-long clear acrylic tunnel transports you through this underwater realm, providing a 240-degree view of nearly 2,000 fishes, while stingrays slide overhead and sharks look visitors in the eye. This 750,000-gallon salt-water aquarium is the largest in the state. Certified divers may enter this exhibit as part of the Shark Dive Maui program.