Over 2800 Celebrate Maui Ocean Center Anniversary
Sunday, March 13, Maui Ocean Center, The Hawaiian Aquarium, celebrated its 18th anniversary with over 2,800 guests. In show of appreciation for the 18 years of support from the community, MOC offered guests 18 years old and younger free admission, and kama‘āina and US military received 50% off general aquarium admission tickets.
The day opened with a Hawaiian blessing by special guests Kimokeo Kapahulehua, Kīhei Canoe Club, Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua, Kekai Kapu and General Manager Tapani Vuori.
Immediately following was a ceremony recognizing the aquarium’s long-time employees of 10 years or more.
The day was filled with festivities, including marine life presentations, cultural activities and live entertainment.
Emcee services were provided by Makalapua Kanuha.
Performances were held by Pu‘uwai, Kalama Intermediate School Ukulele Band, Kupuna O Hale Maha‘olu, Kahai‘ali‘i Brothers, Kapali Keahi of Lahaina Grown and surprise guest Willie K.
Marine naturalists conducted their entire lineup of exhibit presentations, a discovery station and a wet naturalist presentation, where guests could interact with tide pool critters.
Underwater dive presentations took place among sharks and rays in the Open Ocean exhibit.
Guests also had the chance to meet the Hawaiian green sea turtles during a “turtle-rrific” presentation or watch a diver prepare food for the animals during Chef Diver.
Environmental organizations including NOAA Fisheries and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary were also present with information booths within the park.
Maui Ocean Center’s Na Mo‘olelo program brought together many of the islands’ kūpuna and cultural practitioners to share their knowledge of Hawaiian traditions and lifestyle. Guests observed the art of hula and mele (song), learned about kukui nut candles, and experimented with kapa designs made from red dirt.
Special guests and vendors were present, including Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua, Maui Nui Botanical Garden, Friends of Moku‘ula, stone and koa wood carving, KoniKoni Island Style Jewelry, and more.
Visit www.mauioceancenter.com or call (808) 270-7000.