Photo by Daniel Sullivan

Summertime equals beach time. But what happens when you’ve had a little too much fun in the sun and you’re looking for some other activities to keep your keiki active this summer?

Try teaching them about the ocean surrounding us.

Family memberships at Maui Ocean Center include unlimited access to the park not only all summer – but 365 days a year. In addition to the regular perks of being an annual member, this year’s members are receiving a special T-shirt made with recyclable materials in honor of the aquarium’s 25th anniversary.

“Our responsibility, our kuleana, really is to add value first and foremost to our community,” says Maui Ocean Center’s General Manager Tapani Vuori. “To me, it’s about inspiring people with the beauty that’s underneath the ocean’s surface. We want to make sure that every single person in our community, especially our families and keiki, get to experience this beauty.”

Since opening in 1998, Maui Ocean Center has aimed to foster wonder and respect for Hawaii’s marine life — and help protect it for future generations. Whether it’s walking through a 54-foot-long underwater tunnel surrounded by sharks and rays or coming eye-to-eye with a humpback whale in an immersive 3D film (for ages 4 and older), Maui Ocean Center seeks to inspire our keiki as it brings them below the water’s surface.

Expect to find family-friendly demonstrations and interactive activities, such as experiencing marine animals up close at the outdoor Tide Pool tactile exhibit. Throughout the park, your keiki will learn how our host Hawaiian culture connects to the ocean and lands that sustain us.

“We’re constantly developing new content, whether that be in our presentations or even in our main exhibit halls,” adds Maui Ocean Center’s Director of Education Jessica Colla. “We’re changing out our animals all the time so there’s always something new to see here.”

Visit to purchase an annual membership. The ‘Ohana Flex Pass includes two adults and two children (ages 4-12), while children ages 3 and younger are always free.

A donation is made on behalf of each membership purchase to the nonprofit Marine Institute at Maui Ocean Center to support saving sea turtles and coral reefs here on Maui.

If you’re looking to help the environment and give back to the community this summer, consider picking up trash as part of the Marine Institute’s “Honu Hero” beach cleanup program.

And that beach time will have lasting impacts well beyond this summer.