Maui's ever-expanding roster of activities and attractions will get
a boost next month with the much-anticipated debut of the $20
million Maui Ocean Center. Located in the center of the island, at
Maalaea Harbor Village, the new attraction will boast 40 exhibit
tanks and an enormous 750,000-gallon open ocean tank, the largest
aquarium in Hawaii.
Visitors will be able to walk through a transparent acrylic
tunnel in the center of the huge tank, enjoying a 240-degree closer
look at Hawaii's spectacular marine creatures.
Other highlights include the Whale Discovery Center, with
lifesize models of a humpback whale calf as well as interactive
displays of special interest to children, and four outdoor pools,
including a turtle pool filled with indigenous sea turtles; a surge
pool with waves crashing against a reef; the touch pool, housing a
variety of marine life, and the ray pool, containing a raised
platform from which visitors can enjoy the antics of spotted eagle
Maui Ocean Center Visitor Information:
Admission: $17 for adults; $12 for children three to fourteen (free
for children under three). Special group rates available on
Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including holidays. Hours
may be extended in the summer.
Travel Times to Key Locations: Airport, 20 minutes; Kihei, 20
minutes; Wailea, 30 minutes; Lahaina, 20 minutes; Kaanapali, 30
Transportation: Shuttle transportation from south and west Maui
resort areas will be available for an additional charge.
Food and Beverages: The Seascape Cafe and Bar will serve Pacific
Rim/California cuisine in three oceanview pavilions, while the Reef
Cafe on the upper plaza will provide light lunches.
Special Events: Private functions for up to 1,200 people can be
arranged during the sunset and evening hours.
For more information contact the Maui Ocean Center, 2439 S.
Kihei Road, Suite 206A, Kihei, Hawaii 96753; (808) 875-1962; fax
(808) 874-5963; Web site www.coralworld.com/moc.
Another new attraction recently made its debut at one of Maui's
popular existing attractions, the Hawaii Nature Center at Iao
Valley. The center unveiled an Interactive Science Arcade featuring
more than 30 exhibits dedicated to teaching adults and children
about Hawaii's natural history.
While here, visitors should also be sure to take some time to
soak up the glorious landscapes and lush greenery of Iao Valley
State Park and to stop at the area's most famous sight, the
1,200-foot high "needle," actually a towering stone structure that
soars high above its picturesque surroundings. For more
information, call the Hawaii Nature Center at (808) 244-6500.
There's good news for Maui-bound shoppers. The Whalers Village
in Kaanapali recently unveiled new Versace, Prada and Loewe
boutiques and expanded the Louis Vuitton and Gucci shops. To make
shopping more convenient for visitors, the Maui Shopping Express
recently launched a new service, offering free transportation
between Whalers Village and the resort areas of south Maui.
In other news, the Wailea Shopping Village recently launched
one-hour hula shows at 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and the Wailea Golf
Club's Blue Course added a warm-up and teaching area and expanded
its putting greens.
On the island of Molokai, the Molokai Ranch, one of the state's
most popular attractions, recently opened its third campsite, the
oceanside Kaupoa Camp. The new camp's 40 two-unit "tenatalows" are
similar to the comfortable bungalow-type overnight accommodations
at the facility's Paniolo Camp.
Another existing campsite, the Kolo Camp, offers accommodations
in yurts -- circular tents on wooden platforms with canvas siding
and roof, French doors and skylight.
The Molokai Ranch is also maintaining its all-inclusive 1997
rates for 1998.
Nightly camping rates are from $185 per person at Paniolo Camp,
$215 at Kolo Camp and $245 at Kaupoa Camp. For children from four
to 12, rates are $75 per day.
Rates include three meals; a stocked snack cooler;
transportation on the ranch and airport-ranch transfers; all tips
and taxes and a choice of daily activities.
There is an additional charge for horseback riding, except when
guests book three nights at the regular rate. In this case, a day
of horseback riding, valued at $125 per person, is included (when
five nights are booked, two days of horseback riding are
In related news, the Molokai Ranch closed its Wildlife
Conservation Park. For information and reservations, call the
Molokai Ranch at (800) 254-8871.