We began our vacation like anyone else, battleing airport security and flight delays very early in the morning. It was all worth it to get out of the expanse of city we had been in for so long. We arrived too early in Kahalui to check-in at the Maui Seaside so we drove south toward Ma`alaea and Kihea to the Maui Ocean Center.
The Saturday morning drive was not long at all and not rushed. The road was surrounded by rolling fields the entire way providing some beautiful scenary. We arrived at the Center shortly thereafter. The Maui Ocean Center is an aqauarium fit for a great day trip for the family. I for one am an animal lover so if I can hold it, pet it, or be surrounded by it, then I am having a great time. Inside the Center was tons of great exhibits about marine life both native and non-native to the islands, large tanks of living corals, Hammerhead Bay and a honu (turtle) tank.
Their main attraction, however, was an open ocean tank featuring reef sharks, sting rays, exotic fish and one massive tiger shark which was a beauty. This 750,000 gallon tank consists of a large acrylic tunnel that you walk through while being surrounded by all the wonders of the ocean. Don't expect to spend a long while here because it is just simply not that big. However, a couple of hours will be plenty.
After leaving, we still had a couple of hours before check-in so we decided to take the long way back. Highway 30 takes you around the West Maui Mountains through Lahaina
, Kaanapali, and Kapalua
back to Kahaluli. This drive proved to be the most beautiful on the island, in our opinion anyway.
You begin on a spacious two or four-lane drive that takes you past Molaka`i and Lana`i along with miles of coastline that offer some great photo ops. Once you venture past Kapalua you enter into quite an adventure. The road turns to a 1-lane without a shoulder, without a guardrail and without many pull-offs. Offering some of the most beautiful countryside the islands have to offer, it is hard to take notice because you must have your eyes glued to the road. When you are able to glance off you will see towering cliffsides, lush green mountain sides, and the occasional goat grazing the sides of the road. We passed through a small village that is apparatenly famous for snowcones because there were signs every 2-tenths of a mile advertising. Overall, this drive is a must do if you are daring and have a sturdy driving hand. It will be a part of your trip you never forget.
After that long tedious eight miles, we drove back in to Kahului
to check-in and grab something to eat then rest for the rest of the night because we have an exciting day planned for tomorrow.
Maalaea Sights & Attractions review
Great place for family fun. Very educational. The Marine Mammal Discovery Center offers interactive learning stations. There is a tide pool or touch p… read entire review