WHAT TO DO
O’O Farm Tour & Luncheon
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
Take a Maui Culinary Tour
Maui is the perfect place for foodies to indulge in some FARM-TO-TABLE ADVENTURES. (Perhaps that’s why Bravo’s hit culinary competition show “TOP CHEF” picked the VALLEY ISLE as the locale for its Season 11 finale?)
Getting the inside scoop on how chefs and restaurants around the island get their dishes to shine is a perfect way not only to explore Maui, but to learn more about how your food makes it to your plate. Who knows—maybe you’ll get some ideas on how to spruce up your own kitchen repertoire when you get home.
Tours are available through LOCAL TASTES OF MAUI (localtastesofmaui.com), which hosts tours of Lahaina, Kihei and more. HAWAII TASTING TOURS (hawaiistastingtours.com) also offers tours around the island. Many farms also have their own mini culinary excursion available; check with individual establishments for details. TIP: Consult with your concierge and the locals to discover which FINE-DINING ESTABLISHMENTS celebrate the bounty of the island on their menus. And for those wanting even more insight, CUSTOMIZED TOURS also are available.
PARADISE ECO-ADVENTURES also offers ADVENTURE TOURS that integrate an ORGANIC FARMING TOUR into every adventure. One of which takes tour takers through a USDA-certified organic farm tour of MAUI DRAGON FRUIT FARM with a knowledgeable guide. Learn about ancient agricultural practices and taste seasonally available fruits, such as pineapple, banana, sugarcane, papaya and, of course, dragon fruit.
PARADISE ECO-ADVENTURES (808) 264-6127
Family Friendly Activities:
Maui Ocean Center
Located at Ma‘alaea Harbor Village just off Honoapi‘ilani Highway between Kahului and Lahaina, the $20 million MAUI OCEAN CENTER is designed to draw visitors in through a series of more than 60 INDOOR-AND-OUTDOOR EXHIBITS that twist and wind their way through an impressive array of living coral reef.
Aptly named “THE HAWAIIAN AQUARIUM,” this state-of-the-art marine park is dedicated to fostering an understanding and respect for Hawai‘i’s bountiful marine life. The center was also a TOP-RATED attraction on VIATOR (a TRIP ADVISORcompany) this year. Its LIVING REEF exhibit features the largest collection of live coral on display in the nation, while other displays and educational tours showcase the language, history and lore of the Hawaiian Islands.
The ocean center’s marine collection has been entirely assembled from Hawaiian Islands’ waters. GREEN SEA TURTLES—part of a hatch-and-release program— eventually are returned to the ocean.
The enchanting 750,000-gallon OPEN OCEAN exhibit can be likened to standing in a giant fishbowl—with thousands of fish swirling around you. Designed to simulate a walk in the ocean, the exhibit features a 52-foot long, 4-inch thick, 240-degree, see-through acrylic tunnel. It is not uncommon for visitors of all ages to press their faces to the sides of the tunnel, or lay their bodies flat on the floor, just for a better view of the creatures of the deep.
If you have an urge to dive with sharks, stingrays and other tropical reef fish, the ocean center’s SHARK DIVE MAUI program can oblige. Divers must carry a scuba-certified card and be at least 15 years old. The center provides the air tank and weight belts; the rest of the gear— wetsuit, mask, underwater camera, etc.—is up to you.
Expect to stay at the ocean center for about two hours. DIGITAL AUDIO GUIDES are available, and naturalists are standing by to answer questions and give presentations, which occur regularly throughout the aquarium. RESTAURANTS also are on property, as is a GIFT SHOP.
The Maui Ocean Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offers plenty of free parking, and is handicap-accessible throughout.