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Travel Blog #178 - Exploring Maui's Aquarium at Maui Ocean Center

As we arrived to the Maui Ocean Center, I knew that we were in for an amazing day at the aquarium. The aquarium is located right next to the Maalaea boat harbor. On this particular day it was very windy, (which made the mostly indoor setting of the aquarium even more appealing). The Maui Ocean Center was voted "Hawaii's Top Rated Family Attraction" and there were quite a few very excited children in front of us in the line to get in.

Visiting the aquarium

Visiting the aquarium is personally one of my favorite things to do on Maui. The aquarium has so many varieties of fish and sea vegetation and the plaques that clearly mark the tanks always help me learn something new about Hawaii's marine environment. The Maui Ocean Center has the only Tiger Shark that is in captivity in the whole northern hemisphere. After we made our way through the entry line until we were welcomed to the Maui Ocean Center by a photographer that snapped a photo of us (we had the option to purchase the photo as we were leaving). Once our photo was finished we were given a map that summarized what was contained all the different sections of the Maui Ocean Center.

We started off with the "Living Reef" section that contained reef fish and different types of corals. Since most of the aquarium is underground or inside the tanks weren't disturbed by the wind. The contents of the reef section of the aquarium were a feast for the eyes, with many varieties of bright fish, corals, and eels. There were multiple Ocean Center employees walking around to answer any questions that guests had (which was very nice). The workers had a great deal of knowledge about the fish ranging from details about their habitat, to sleeping patterns and even the specifics of their diet.

After the "Living Reef" section we made our way over to the sea turtles section of the aquarium center. They had two separate tanks for the giant green sea turtles. One tank was made for the baby turtles, while the other was made for the more mature turtles (Honu's). Next to the turtle section was a display where you could actually touch and physically interact with different sea creatures like starfish and live corals. After we had finished touching little sea critters we made our way to the "Deep Sea" section. Before you get to the deep sea tanks you have to go through giant models of whales. It explains the different whales and the reasons the make their way to the islands. There are tons of fun things to amuse little kids in this section. Kids can play games that the aquarium has set up that help children understand the ocean more clearly. After we had passed through the whale section and the made our way further into the deep-sea section and eventually found ourselves at the main tank of the Maui Ocean Center.

The main tank of the aquarium

The main tank of the aquarium has a humongous tank that is filled with some of Hawaiis biggest fish. The massive tank has contains more then three types of sharks as well as large Jacks (Uluas), giant manta rays, and huge eagle rays as well as many more smaller varieties of reef fish. This tank was my favorite part of the aquarium. Looking into it you can see some of Hawaiis most beautiful fish (including some very rare species). As I was gazing at the ten foot long sea creatures in the tank I saw two divers drop into the tank wearing SCUBA tanks. Their mission was to feed the inhabitants of the tank. I watched the divers feed the rays, giant fish, and even the sharks! It was amazing to see these giant fish up close as they were eating. At one point I remember I even felt a little scared for the divers. The last part of the Deep Sea section is the long solid glass tube that is large enough to walk through. As you walk through the tunnel the fish swim all around you from every direction. Watching the creatures swim over head was really interesting because it really seemed to provide a much more three dimensional view of the inhabitants of the tank. As we made our way through a tiger shark swam right above us as it slowly swam circles around the tank.

The Maui Ocean Center is truly a one of a kind experience. If youre looking for something that your family will enjoy, or would simply like to learn a little more about the marine environment of the islands then the aquarium is a great way to spend the day.

Travel Blog - Articles #170 to #179

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Explore Hawaii's underwater world up close with over 60 exhibits that are alive with coral, fish, turtles, sharks and jellyfish. All ages are welcome and there's something for everyone at the Maui Ocean Center.

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