Maui Ocean Center Celebrates Makahiki Season

October 12, 2015, 8:48 AM HST · Updated October 12, 8:55 AM

Hawaiian Cultural Advisor Kahu Dane Maxwell during his weekly talk story and hula session. Maui Ocean Center photo.

Hawaiian Cultural Advisor Kahu Dane Maxwell during his weekly talk story and hula session. Maui Ocean Center photo.

Maui Ocean Center, The Hawaiian Aquarium, will celebrate the islands’ Makahiki season in November with traditional Hawaiian games, food, live music, hula and special guest lectures/demonstrations by members of the Hawaiian community (see “Makahiki Schedule” below).

Guests are invited to immerse themselves into the Hawaiian culture to learn about Makahiki and the intimate relationship that exists between the Hawaiian people and the sea.

Makahiki, an important season in Hawaiian culture, marks the end of a harvest cycle by celebrating the bounty of the land and the god Lono. This season ushers in a lengthy period of peace and thankfulness, where war and work are ceased in favor of celebration and festivities including hula and competitive games.

The aquarium extends its gratitude and warmest mahalo to America’s service personnel; US police, fire, lifeguard and emergency medical service personnel will receive 50% off general admission with valid identification for the entire month of November.


More information about Aquarium activities in November, advance ticket purchases and aquarium savings packages are available online or through the special events hotline at (808) 270-7000, option 3.

Makahiki Schedule

Interactive Naturalist Presentations
Daily • various times
Interactive, informative and fascinating marine naturalist presentations are available every day at Maui Ocean Center. Presentations take place throughout the aquarium from the Living Reef, Turtle Lagoon, Tide Pool and Deep Reef to the Open Ocean exhibit. Presentation times are listed throughout the aquarium and online; schedule times are subject to change. Call (808) 270-7000 for more information. The presentations are included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages.

Keiki Passport
Daily  9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Children ages 3 to 12 receive a free Keiki Passport with paid child’s admission. The passport is used with a graphite-tracing tool to collect rubbings of all 12 pohaku (rock) petroglyphs located throughout the aquarium, resulting in a unique take-home souvenir. This is an educational activity to teach children Hawaiian words. Completed passports receive an official stamp of completion at the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop.

Hula with Pukalani Hula Hale
Saturdays, Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28 • 10 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Enjoy hula demonstrations by Pukalani Hula Hale every Saturday on the Nalu Lawn. The hula demonstrations are included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages. Schedule subject to change.

Makahiki Games
Thursdays, Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 26 • 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Guests are invited to the aquarium’s Nalu Lawn to learn about and participate in traditional Makahiki games, such as ulu maika (Hawaiian lawn bowling) and ‘o ‘o ihe (spear/javelin throwing). The games are included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages. The schedule is subject to change.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Nov. 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 and 30 • 1 p.m.2 p.m. 
Special guests from the Hawaiian community will present Hawaiian culture talks in the Hawaiians and the Sea exhibit from Learn about the taro plant, known as kalo in Hawaiian, a cultivated plant that sustained Hawaiians for centuries. Watch the special process of ku‘i kalo (the action of pounding taro) resulting in pa‘i ai (edible, undiluted taro), or learn about ‘uala, the Hawaiian sweet potato. Food samples will be available after the presentation. The talks are included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages. The schedule is subject to change.

Aloha Friday
Fridays, Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27 • Live Music, noon–2 p.m.• Lunch, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Maui Ocean Center will feature live music and ‘aha‘aina (gathering feast) lunch specials every Friday. Local entertainers will perform at Harbor Plaza from noon to 2 p.m. Seascape Mā‘alaea Restaurant will serve an ‘aha‘aina lunch special featuring Hawaiian food. Aquarium admission is not required to dine. The schedule is subject to change.

Fins & Flippers Tour Upgrade
Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, Nov. 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 27 and 30 • 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. 
The exclusive Fins & Flippers Tour upgrade offered for $10 plus aquarium admission features a knowledgeable marine naturalist who will share fascinating facts about sharks and turtles. The tour also includes a behind-the-scenes visit to the aquarium’s wet laboratory and an opportunity to assist with a feeding at Hammerhead Harbor and Turtle Lagoon. Due to limited availability, fees are applicable to parents and guardians accompanying children on the tour. Space is limited and advance reservations are recommended. Call (808) 270-7012 for reservations. The tour is appropriate for all ages.

Turtle-rrific Thursday
Thursdays, Nov. 5 and 19 • 2 p.m.
Guests can learn about Hawai‘i’s green sea turtles in an up-close setting during Turtle-rrific Thursday hosted by Maui Ocean Center’s curatorial team at Hammerhead Harbor. Guests will learn about the biology, behavior and diet of green sea turtles from the team that cares for the animals on a daily basis. The tour is included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages.

Wet Naturalist
Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays – November 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
Join a Wet Naturalist at Maui Ocean Center’s Discovery Pool and/or Tide Pool from 1:30pm-4:30pm for exciting hands-on presentations about Hawaii’s marine invertebrates, animals that lack a backbone. Learn about sea cucumbers, sea stars and urchins with the chance to touch a few of these live spineless creatures! Included with Aquarium admission. Appropriate for all ages.

Shark Dive Maui
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Nov. 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 and 30 • 8:15 a.m.
SCUBA-certified guests ages 15 and over are invited to come face-to-face with the aquarium’s sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. Shark Dive Maui® at Maui Ocean Center allows certified divers to descend into the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit and experience the very best of Hawai‘i’s underwater world, while learning about the cultural and ecological significance of sharks. The diver’s friends and family can also watch the entire adventure from the exhibit’s viewing area and 54-foot-long acrylic tunnel.

Check-in time is at 8:15 a.m., followed by a briefing and an approximate 40-minute dive. Aquarium tour is approximately two hours.

For more information, go online. Space is limited and advance reservations are required. Call (808) 270-7075 for reservations. The cost is $199 plus tax per diver.

Story Time Saturday
Saturdays, Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28  11:30 a.m.
The aquarium offers a weekly story time and craft hour for children ages 3 to 12. This activity takes place in the Hawaiians and the Sea exhibit every Saturday morning. Children will enjoy an intriguing story told by a marine naturalist, followed by a fun, marine-themed craft workshop. The story time is included with Aquarium admission. Appropriate for all ages.

Talk Story & Hula Lessons with Kahu Dane Maxwell and ‘Ohana
Mondays and Tuesdays, Nov. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 30 11:45 a.m.
Visitors to Maui Ocean Center will have an extraordinary opportunity to hear from Maui Ocean Center’s Hawaiian Cultural Advisor Kahu Dane Maxwell. Maxwell and ‘ohana (family) will conduct a talk story session and hula lesson at the end of the Open Ocean exhibit tunnel. The talk story and lesson are included with aquarium admission, and appropriate for all ages. The schedule is subject to change.

NOAA Info Booth
Mondays, Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 • 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
NOAA Sanctuaries-HIHW docents host an interactive, information booth in Seascape Plaza to share their knowledge and interesting facts about Hawai‘i’s unique life. This information is included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages.

NOAA Monk Seal Monday
Mondays, Nov. 2, 9, 16, 2, and 30 • 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
The Hawaiian monk seal is found only in Hawai‘i and nowhere else in the world. Special guests from NOAA will be at Maui Ocean Center’s Marine Mammal Discovery Center to share their knowledge of these critically endangered seals. Guests can learn about the biology and behavior of these marine mammals and the efforts that are being made to protect this endemic species. The information is included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages.

Chef Diver
Thursdays, Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 26 • 1 p.m.
Watch a Chef Diver prepare food for the sharks, rays and fish at Hammerhead Harbor and learn about the animals’ diets and feeding habits. The experience is included with aquarium admission and appropriate for all ages.

Thanksgiving Day Lunch Special
Thursday, Nov.26 • 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Celebrate Thanksgiving with lunch at the award-winning, ocean view Seascape Mā‘alaea Restaurant. Enjoy flavorful Thanksgiving menu offerings crafted by our talented culinary team just for the holiday, or try one of the dishes from the daily menu. Admission is not required to dine. Reservations are optional; call (808) 270-7068.

Maui Ocean Treasures Sidewalk and Cyber Sale
Sidewalk Sale: Saturday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. • Cyber Sale: Nov. 18-21
The aquarium’s Maui Ocean Treasures gift store will host its semi-annual Sidewalk and Cyber Sale, offering a 60% discount or more on select items. On Nov. 21, visitors can browse an array of items along the outskirts of the aquarium. From Nov. 18 to 21, a special Cyber Sale will go live online, granting shoppers early access to the sale collection. Aquarium admission is not required to shop. Shopping is appropriate for all ages.

Maui Ocean Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in July and August. For more information, go to the Maui Ocean Center at 192 Mā‘alaea Road in Mā‘alaea, call (808) 270-7000, fax (808) 270-7070, email [email protected] or visit



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