Museums + Attractions
ALEXANDER & BALDWIN SUGAR MUSEUM—
This small museum in Puunene showcases how sugarcane influenced Hawaii’s economy and history for nearly 100 years. See photographs and artifacts from the immigrants, who came from every corner of the world seeking work, and discover what life was like on the plantation. Interactive exhibits show how sugar was processed. You can pick up some real Hawaiian sugarcane stalks, books and some made-on-Maui treats in the gift shop. sugarmuseum.com. 3957 Hansen Rd. Open M-Sa, 9:30 am-4:30 pm. $7 adults, $5 seniors aged 60 and older, $2 children ages 6-12. 808.871.8058.
ALII KULA LAVENDER—
Lavender fields go on forever in Upcountry Maui, and at this farm it’s used in everything from scone mixes to eye masks. Tours can be done by foot or on a cart. The Royal Tea Service is a real treat and includes lavender tea, lemonade and scones. For a heartier meal, try the Royal Lunch Service. aklmaui.com. 1100 Waipoli Rd., 808.878.3004.
BAILEY HOUSE MUSEUM—
Built in 1833, Wailuku’s Bailey House get a glimpse of both pre-contact Hawai‘i – the site was once the Royal compound of Maui’s last ruling chief, Kahekili, and Hawaiians’ sense of place makes the pre-contact component here critical – and a slice of missionary-era life. Reminders of the 19th century can be found throughout the museum, from the fine furniture constructed of European woods to koa, which was so abundant that it was thought of as the “cheap” wood. Today, of course, it is extremely scarce and highly prized. The museum also houses Maui’s largest public collection of ancient Hawaiian artifacts, which represent every aspect of life in pre-contact Hawai’i – from fishing to warfare, food preparation to weaving. Nearby, a canoe house shelters the beautiful “Honaunau,” one of the last koa fishing canoes of its kind. Past and present harmoniously exist on these manicured
grounds, which are abloom with 40 plant species, many endemic or indigenous, and still gathered by modern Hawaiians for use in cultural practices. mauimuseum.org. 2375 A Main St., Open M-Sa, 10 am-4 pm 808.244.3326.
HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK—
Haleakala National Park encompasses the world’s largest dormant volcano and 26,000 acres of dry forests, rain forests and desert. The park is home to endangered animals and plants, such as the nene, a Hawaiian wild goose. From December through April, the sun rises between 6 to 6:45 am. It takes at least 1.5 hours to drive from Kahului to the summit. Bring a jacket or sweater, since the temperature at this altitude can drop to below freezing before dawn. nps.gov/hale. Crater Road. For weather reports and road conditions, call 808.572.4400.
HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTU
ARY VISITORS CENTER—
A living classroom on a beachfront location in Kihei, the center is devoted to educating the public about Hawaiian sea life. Every Tuesday and Thursday 11 am, the center hosts talks about humpback whales. You can also find a marine science library and the stones of an ancient Hawaiian fishpond. hawaiihumpbackwhale. noaa.gov/about/offices.html. 726 S. Kihei Rd., 808.879.2818.
IAO VALLEY STATE PARK—
Home to picturesque Iao Needle, a 1,200-foot cone of hardened lava at the heart of lush Iao Valley just west of Wailuku. The vegetation-shrouded cliffs surrounding the needle are the remains of Puu Kukui, the crater of the dormant West Maui volcano. Iao Stream (fed by up to 400 inches of rain per year) cuts through the valley, with excellent hiking trails running alongside and crisscrossing throughout the park. It is said that the bones of many chieftains are buried in the vicinity of the needle. Open daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., free admission. hawaiistateparks.org. At the end of Hwy. 320 (Iao Valley Rd.).
KEALIA POND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE—
This 700acre marsh between Maalaea and Kihei is one of the last remaining natural wetlands in Hawaii and is home to several species of native and endangered birds. In the winter months, the pond can double in size. Birdwatchers can see the aeo (Hawaiian stilt), koloa (ducks) as well as flocks of migratory birds. fws.gov/kealiapond. Entrance at Mile Marker 6 on Hwy. 311 (Mokulele Hwy)., Open M-F, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 808.875.1582.
KULA BOTANICAL GARDENS—
Take a stroll through 8 acres of verdant beauty. More than just a garden, this animal sanctuary houses a Jackson Chameleon exhibit, nene (wild Hawaiian geese), African Cranes and an aviary. kulabotanicalgarden.com. 638 Kekaulike Ave., Open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., daily 808.878.1715.
MAUI OCEAN CENTER—
This marine park is one of Maui’s top attractions and has been called “The Hawaiian Aquarium.” It includes a 750,000-gallon open ocean exhibit, with 2,000-plus fishes, live coral displays, green sea turtles, encounters with sharks and rays, and a touch tank filled with starfish and sea urchins. Weekly passes are available. mauioceancenter.com. 192 Maalaea Rd., Wailuku, 808.270.7000.
MAUI TROPICAL PLANTATION & COUNTRY STORE—
This 60-acre working plantation near Iao Valley offers a fun way to discover Hawaii’s rich agricultural history. Take a tram ride through fields where papaya, guava, mango, macadamia nuts and coffee grow. Learn to husk a coconut while on the tour, and visit the Country Store for unique made-on-Maui snacks and gifts. mauitropicalplantation.com. 1670 Honoapiilani Hwy., Open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., daily 808.244.7643.
PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION—
Help support this nonprofit organization with a whale watching cruise or snorkel tour. pacificwhale.org. 300 Maalaea Rd., 800.942.5311.
PAIA CONTEMPORARY GALLERY—
Immerse yourself in the post-modern art world, and view finely curated abstract and contemporary artwork in various mediums. paiacontemporarygallery.com. 83 Hana Hwy., 808.280.6110.
Horseback rides in the paniolo cowboy tradition are offered by the Baldwin family, who have been ranchers on the island for six generations. Share the family’s experience in cattle ranching while riding in open range with sweeping vistas; also see many native plants and indigenous trees of Hawaii and the Baldwins’ preserve and nursery for the state bird, the endangered Hawaiian Neme goose. piiholo.com. 3620 Baldwin Ave., 808.357.5544.
Strap into a harness and zip above the natural wonders of Hawaii with one of two tours. The Haleakala Skyline Tour, in Upcountry Maui, soaris along the slopes of one of the world’s largest volcanoes. The Kaanapali Skyline Adventure in west Maui begins with a 6-wheel drive into the rugged and beautiful lands above Ka’anapali, where eight ziplines allow you to soar high above streams and waterfalls. zipline.com. Haleakala Skyline Tour, Crater Rd., 808.878.8400; Kaanapali Skyline Tour, Fairway Shops at Kaanapali,.
WHALERS VILLAGE MUSEUM—
See what life was like when Lahaina was a wild whaling community. Displays include the forecastle of a whaling ship, antique ornaments and utensils made from whale ivory and bone, and one of the world’s largest scale models of a whaling ship. Open 9 am - 10 pm daily, free admission. whalersvillage.com/museum.htm. 2435 Kaanapali Parkway, 808.661.4567.