Global Resorts Family Guide To Maui

The tropical paradise of Maui offers something special for every visitor, but the outstanding offerings particularly well-suited to families surprises many.

Most resorts on Maui provide programs for young guests including planned beach activities. The Westin Maui at Kaanapali Beach Resort is particularly popular with families thanks to the tropical foliage, waterfalls and parrots. The aquatic playground featuring a 128-foot slide makes childhood fantasies come true. Maui hotels and resorts are about much more than a room and a beach and many include special touches to encourage family visitors.

Children love to explore the natural beauty of Maui. A trip to Haleakala National Park is a must-do for families. The diversity of ecosystems and the exposure to so many new and different tropical species is a learning experience not to be missed. While watching the sunrise from Haleakala is popular with Maui visitors, it is not generally well suited to younger children because of the early start time and amount of waiting time involved.

The Maui Ocean Center showcases Hawaii’s underwater environment. Voted Hawaii’s Top-Rated Family Attraction by Zagat Survey, the Maui Ocean Center should be on every family’s tour plan.

Children enjoy the tactile experience of feeling things like a sea cucumber in the touch pool. A particularly interesting feature of the Maui Ocean Center popular with adults as well as children is the glass tunnel that leads into a 750,000-gallon aquarium with sharks and other colorful tropical fish swimming overhead. The average visit to the Maui Ocean Center takes about two hours, but many visitors linger longer over exhibits and choose to dine in one of Maui Ocean Center’s two restaurants.

The Hawaii Nature Center located in the Iao Valley on Maui is especially popular with children ages 3 to 8. The Center includes more than 30 hands-on, interactive exhibits as well as guided rainforest walks. Exhibits feature species native to Maui including the world’s only carnivorous caterpillar.

Maui was once considered the capital of the whaling industry and is the winter home to migrating Pacific Humpback whales. The Whalers Village Museum located in the Kaanapali shopping complex is dedicated to teaching about this important creature. This Maui museum displays over seventy species of whales. The skeletal remains of a 40-foot Sperm Whale are amazing, and children are shocked to see the actual size of this ocean giant. Admission to this Maui attraction is free.

The Lahaina Kaanapali Railroad, better known as the Sugar Cane Train, will be a hit with young train fanatics. While this Maui attraction is often rated as boring by adults, it is perfectly suited to families with younger children.

Traveling in an open-air coach pulled by a steam-engine, visitors enjoy a leisurely six-mile journey through Maui. Crossing a 325-foot curved wooden trestle provides a panoramic view of the West Maui Mountains, as well as islands neighboring Maui. Storytellers share the history of Maui during the trip.

A Maui vacation is not complete until a luau is included. Most Maui resorts and hotels offer luaus. Among the most recommended non-resort luaus are the Old Lahaina Luau and The Feast at Lele, both located in the Maui village of Lahaina. Children will be captivated by the Hawaiian dance and music offered by these Maui performers and are certain to find something they enjoy eating among the many luau offerings.

Maui is considered a top choice for family vacations. Children and Adults alike with enjoy learning the history and culture of Maui at locations all over the island.

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