Our Story - Maui Ocean Center

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
Animals
10 Surprisingly Spooky Sea Creature Facts to Get You Ready for Halloween
The ocean is a wild, magical, and largely undiscovered place, and there are definitely some creepy critters swimming around.
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Animals
Behind-the-Scenes
Education
News
A Glimpse Behind-the-Scenes
As the world panicked about not having enough antibacterial soap and sweat pants became the new work attire as stay-at-home orders went into effect- it might seem like a closed aquarium would be tranq...
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Animals
Behind-the-Scenes
News
Happy Birthday, Honu!
The MOC ʻohana recently celebrated a very special occasion. Our six Hawaiian green sea turtle ambassadors, Kuʻuipo (Turtle 1), Kilakila (Turtle 2), Nohea (Turtle 3), Hohonu (Turtle 4), Makaʻala (Tu...
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Behind-the-Scenes
News
Mission: Shark Rescue!
This past Wednesday, the all-encompassing kuleana, or responsibility, felt by Maui Ocean Center and MOC Marine Institute staff was heroically displayed as they risked life and limb (quite literally) t...
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Education
12 Ways You Can Save Our Seas This Earth Day
Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is a reminder of just how important it is to mālama ‘āina or care for and nurture the land so that it can give back and sustain us.
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News
Caring in Times of Crisis
The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history, and it has unfortunately made its mark on our neighborhoods in Hawai‘i. Our shared commitment to the hea...
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