Maui Family Style: Maui Ocean Center

Val Curtis

Maui Family Style

Does anyone want to go to the aquarium? —Insert screaming— “When? When? When? Today? Now? Tonight?” I wanted to look at the weather forecast first. You see, going to the Maui Ocean Center is THE perfect activity when the winds are up or the rain is falling because a large portion of it is inside and the portions that are outside are covered. What’s nice is that they are open 365 days a year from 9am-5pm. How is that for predictable?

When we were generously offered tickets to visit, we knew it was an opportunity we wouldn’t miss. I mean we ARE the marine environment-loving family!

Maui Ocean Center Kids

Here is what my crew had to say about the morning at the aquarium:

Lil Man (Age 7): I liked seeing all of the sharks and the tiger shark. It was really cool. There were awesome fish and the turtles were awesome because they had letters and numbers on them. At the touch pool, where you could touch the animals, there were soooooo many sea stars. That was cool. I like the Unicorn fish because their horn actually looked like a horn and they have little slicers on their tail. If you go, you HAVE to see the stingrays go over your head in the water tunnel and try to find the octopus.

Maui Ocean Center Rays

Lil Miss (Age 4): I loved the baby turtles and the big turtles. And the sharks and the big fishes. The rays were super big. Bigger than you! They were super tall. Big. BIG. BIG! I never saw real sharks before. (Whispered “Mom why weren’t there hulagirls there?”) Oh YES, the submarine! The real one. That was new. The puffer fish were really cool, but they wouldn’t puff up. The shrimp were really cool because they were striped with white and red. I’m done. (Yup!)

Maui Ocean Center Sea Turtle

Good Apple (my husband): I liked seeing the turtles because they aren’t something you would normally see in an aquarium. I also liked seeing the Tiger Shark because that is something I only want to see in an aquarium, not in real life. The seahorses and frogfish were really interesting to watch. We enjoyed watching the diver in the tank as well.

Maui Ocean Center Diver


Our kids were a “wee” bit excited when we got inside and it took a lot of effort to slow them down and actually enjoy the animals in the tanks. At one point, my daughter was standing in front of the puffer fish and she started making these crazy “I’m gonna stare you down faces” at the puffer fish. Well you see, he wouldn’t puff up. Apparently she thought she could intimidate him. If you’ve met her, you would be surprised he wasn’t.


There was a really nice docent at the octopus tank. He came over to show us the octopus and share some interesting information about it. This is the point where Lil Miss fully engaged him in conversation about the octopus and told us we could continue on our way. He was a COMPLETE gem and went right along with it. He started walking with us so they could continue their conversation.

Maui Ocean Center Tank

750.000 gallon Open Ocean Exhibit


My husband and I care deeply about the ocean environment. We met on a dive boat after all! Watching our kids in awe of all of the animals was amazing for us. Lil Miss couldn’t put down the guide that identified all of the fish. The little gasps of joy and continuous chorus of WOAHs made our day.


The Maui Ocean Center has a great balance of exhibits (over 60!) that will leave you awestruck and information to keep the visitors learning as they venture through the aquarium. There is a nice blend of local culture and appreciation of the marine environment.

The section that is an interactive museum houses a great assortment of dynamic displays that allowed our kids to learn as they played. We all loved the huge baby humpback model that takes center stage in the room, listening to their songs, comparing cetacean teeth and discussing echolocation.

Maui Ocean Center coral tank


The Maui Ocean Center provides a wonderful opportunity for families to learn about the local and gain an appreciation for what lies beneath the gorgeous view that you see from the shoreline. It is a great activity to keep in your back pocket for inclimate weather or if you need a break from the sun. Give yourself about 1-2 hours to work your way through and if you want, you can stay on site to enjoy lunch or snacks.  Buy tickets in advance!

A HUGE thank you to the team at the Maui Ocean Center. This was an incredible opportunity to spark the interest of our kids in an area we have been passionate about for years.

Check out our snorkeling adventure on Maui!

family friendly snorkeling in maui on Trilogy

Check out our evening at the Old Lahaina Luau!



Maui Ocean Center

Photos by Val Curtis

BonBon Break Media, LLC was compensated for this post via product and / or payment.

However, as always, all opinions are our own. 

Val is the Editor-in-chief of BonBon Break. A former middle school science/math/tech teacher, she put her career on hold to be at home with her son and daughter on an island in the Pacific Northwest. When Val breaks away from her keyboard, she enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking, camping, photography, tidepooling, sailing and potlucks. She gets a kick out of combing the web for recipes and making them gluten free so she can share meals with her husband, family and friends. She is a tech-gadget geek who is poked fun at, but it doesn’t bother her a bit. Combining her love of photography, tech and graphics to create new, fun content for BonBon Break quenches her “thirst” for integrated technology.