Through Sept. 2, children aged 8 to 12 can explore the vast
underwater world in just one day. Maui Ocean Center’s summer
day-camp single-day sessions introduce children to
below-the-surface magic Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Here, children spend the day with trained ocean naturalists and
learn about Hawaii’s unique marine life.
“We have an exciting environment here at the aquarium where our
guests are entertained as well as educated about Hawaii’s marine
life, and this setting is perfect for a children’s camp,” commented
Jonathan Hultquist, director of education for Maui Ocean Center.
“Whether the kids are just becoming acquainted with the ocean, or
they dream of being marine biologists some day, this camp is
designed to suit many levels of interest.”
Hultquist explained that the small group sizes allow the center
to focus on individuals, making it a more enriching experience for
all children attending.
“The camp gives the kids an up close look at marine life, ocean
ecosystems and how aquariums operate,” he said.
Each child receives lunch and a Maui Ocean Center coloring book
as a part of the program.
While the kids are at camp, parents find the perfect opportunity
to explore the reefs on their own, pick up a game of golf or just
enjoy some alone time. The specific topics vary daily, and children
completing a full week earn a Junior Naturalist certification.
“Kids have been having so much fun that they’ve returned for the
rest of the week,” noted Hultquist. “Most campers sign up for one
or two days, then just keep coming back.”
The two most popular programs, according to Hultquist, are
Sharks and the Food Web and Turtles and Adaptations.
“The kids have really enjoyed the hands-on activities which
range from helping feed the turtles to touching the tide pool
animals and painting their favorite marine animal on the camp room
walls,” he said.
In addition to the summer camp, Maui Ocean Center is offering
sleepovers to groups of 15-30 participants of all ages. Sleepover
guests are able to explore the aquarium after hours, peeking in on
the nocturnal residents and observing the changes in shark behavior
during the transition from day to night. The program includes
educational games, an evening pizza party and muffins for
breakfast. The fee for either the day camp or sleepover is $55 per
person, with advanced reservations required.
The mission of Maui Ocean Center is to foster understanding,
wonder and respect for Hawaii's marine life. To enhance the
experience, trained ocean naturalists share their insights through
presentations at the Living Reef, Turtle Lagoon, Hammerhead Harbor,
Discovery Pool and the Open Ocean. The aquarium is open daily 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in July and August.