Our Story

The Aquarium of Hawai‘i
In the 1970's, entrepreneur and philanthropist Morris Kahn recognized that fragile marine ecosystems needed protection.

Since few people had experienced the true majesty of the oceanic world, they didn’t know what could be lost.

Kahn partnered with the renowned reef biologist David Fridman to create Coral World, an underwater observatory that gave people a diver’s view of the Red Sea and its magnificent reef life.

A strong advocate for marine ecosystems, Coral World evolved into an international operation with marine parks worldwide: Coral World St. Thomas, Coral Island Bahamas, AQWA and Oceanworld in Australia, Palma Aquarium in Mallorca and Maui Ocean Center in Hawai‘i. Our team passionately loves the ocean and ocean-based cultures.

Since Maui Ocean Center opened in 1998, we have worked to protect Hawai‘i’s remarkable marine life. We offer unparalleled encounters with amazing oceanic creatures, some of which exist only here in Hawai‘i. We care for one of the world’s largest collections of live Pacific corals. Our exhibits and educational programs are designed to inspire Hawai‘i residents and visitors with fresh appreciation for our surrounding sea and local culture.

Our Values
Respect for the ocean
Respect for the ocean
Integrity
Integrity
Passion for what we do
Passion for what we do
Transparency and accountability
Transparency and accountability
A healthy and sustainable environment
A healthy and sustainable environment
Education and conservation
Education and conservation
Leaving a positive legacy for future
Leaving a positive legacy for future
Commitment to our employees
Commitment to our employees
Our Mission
To foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawai‘i’s marine life.
Maui Ocean Center’s expert team of marine biologists and divers meticulously care for all of the aquarium’s animals. Collection is conducted under strict permits with the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources, and under the guidance of our Native Hawaiian Cultural Advisor and Kahu (caretaker) Dane Maxwell. Maui Ocean Center respectfully complies with a County of Maui ordinance prohibiting the exhibit of cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Learn about humpback whales in our state-of-the-art Humpbacks of Hawai‘i Exhibit & Sphere.
Community
Community
Culture
Culture
Conservation
Conservation
Career Opportunities
More than just a job, Maui Ocean Center offers an opportunity to join a community of dedicated lovers of Hawai’‘i’s marine life. Help us sustain Maui’s unique natural environment, culture, and way of life for future generations. We believe that by teaming together we can make our world a better place—above and below the surface.
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Honu Release
Our Stories
Conservation
Education
5 Ways You Can Show Our Oceans Love
A famous animated fish once said, “all drains lead to the ocean,” and while this statement isn’t exactly true, it does pose an important question — what is safe to go down the drai...
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Animals
Education
Meet Maui Ocean Center’s Camouflage Champions
Beyond the water’s edge, there is abundant marine life of all shapes, sizes, and colors. If you look closely, you’ll notice many of these animals can cleverly disguise themselves to evade ...
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Conservation
Education
10 Ways to Live Ocean Aloha this Holiday Season
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but they can produce a lot of waste. According to Stanford University, Americans generate a whopping 25% more trash from Thanksgiving to New Year&...
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Animals
Articles
Conservation
Education
Humpback Whales and the Health of Our Oceans
Every year, people come to Maui from all over the world to witness the arrival of the humpback whales, admiring their majesty with reverence, deference and awe. But there are more reasons than beauty ...
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Articles
Conservation
Cultural
Adopt The Locavore Diet, Support Sustainability
Food brings people together and the meals we cook and share create the foundation for memories that last a lifetime. But the same food that bonds us as people also is part of the climate change puzzle...
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Animals
Conservation
Maui Living
How to Live With Ocean Aloha
A single question drives Maui Ocean Center’s Ocean Aloha, “go green for blue” initiative: what do we want our oceans to look like for our children, grandchildren, and generations that follow?
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