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Maui Ocean Center, The Aquarium of Hawaii

Tourists flock from all over the world to Maui for the island’s abundant natural beauty, balmy weather, and the charm and hospitality of the local people. Because this region is so well-visited, however, visitors often fail to realize that the Hawaiian Islands are the most remote island chain on the planet. For that reason, the region enjoys an unusual level of biodiversity, and many of its species can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Maui Ocean Center has its roots in the 1970s when philanthropist Morris Khan realized that marine ecosystems were in danger of being destroyed by human activity unless someone stepped up to protect them. Kohn partnered with expert marine biologist David Fridman to create Coral World in Maui. The Maui Ocean Center grew from that effort along with a number of other marine parks around the globe.

A visit to Maui Ocean Center is more than simply standing on one side of a thick pane of glass and looking at marine animals and plant life in a simulated environment. Following are three reasons visitors to Maui should include a visit to Maui Ocean Center on their itinerary:

Interactive Exhibits

Interactive exhibits at Maui Ocean Center include Open Ocean, where visitors walk through an acrylic tunnel as sharks, stingrays, and schools of tropical fish swim by; Turtle Lagoon; and the Living Reef, which provides a close look at 40 species of coral reefs indigenous to the region.

Educational Opportunities

Designed for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, Maui Ocean Center’s Ocean Education Classroom offers story readings, coloring sheets, and introductory Hawaiian language exercises. Because this facility is available online, it presents an excellent opportunity for children who have been entranced by a visit here and want to continue learning about this fascinating ecosystem.

The International Ocean Film Festival

The International Ocean Film Festival happens every spring and lasts for 18 days. The festival features independent films with oceanic themes. There is also a Student Film Competition where middle and high school students can compete for prestigious prizes.

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