Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is known as one of the world’s most important whale habitats, protecting thousands of humpbacks, coral reefs, sea turtles and other marine life.

Every winter, from November to April, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the warm Hawaii waters to mate, give birth and raise their young. More than half of the humpback whales in the North Pacific use the Hawaiian Islands Marine Sanctuary as their primary breeding ground.

Photo Alert: The aquamarine Pacific is a dream setting to capture these beautiful mammals in all their glory!

In addition, the 1,4000 square mile Humpback Whale Sanctuary works with the community to protect these gorgeous creatures through education and research efforts. Visitors are encouraged to engage in boating, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and whale watching naturally!

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Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary Visitor Center – Kihei, Maui

Located in Kihei on the south shore of Maui, the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center is a great spot to watch the whales breaching. What's more, the sanctuary trains tour companies to keep the ocean environment healthy, reducing waste and following federal laws. The Sanctuary Visitor Center features exhibits, interactive displays and weekly programs for guests of all ages.

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Pro Tip: Be careful using your camera/phone near the waves unless you have a GoPro or waterproof camera. Bring your camera bag along or a plastic bag.

Consequently, the Humpback Whale sanctuary has been instrumental in protecting the whales. The Visitor Center is a designated National Marine Sanctuary by the United States Congress. However, some communities voiced opposition, afraid that a marine sanctuary would restrict fishing and traffic flow. In response to public concern, the Governor modified the sanctuary’s boundaries, including waters from the shoreline to depths of 600 feet.

Pro Tip: One Maui regulation is that no one (no tour boats, kayaks, or snorkelers) approaches humpback whales within 100 yards.

Ground view of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, a large muted green house with a wrap around porch and a deck off of the left side with two rainbows in the background in Maui, Hawaii, USA

photo credit: Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary via Facebook

Education Center

The Sanctuary Education Center highlights exhibits about the cultural history of humpbacks and other marine life found in the sanctuary. The center includes a maritime science library and provides public education lectures and programs.

Pro Tip for Whale Photography: Move to the focus point before the action.

Visitor Center hours are from Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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