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Under the Sea: Hawai’i Wildlife Discovery Center opens at Whalers Village

February 10, 2022

kids looking at aquarium

Brookfield Properties partnered with Hawai’i Wildlife Fund to open the 5,000-square-foot experiential space.

The Hawai’i Wildlife Discovery Center, a new multimedia venue and museum showcasing local marine life, maritime history, and the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund’s programs and research, has opened at Whalers Village in Maui.

Reflecting Brookfield Properties’ efforts to redefine the role of the modern-day shopping center by introducing experiences and interactive events that bring value to our tenants and enrich our communities of shoppers, the new center was a collaborative effort between Brookfield Properties, the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

After a traditional Hawaiian blessing at the completion of construction, the Hawai’i Wildlife Discovery Center opened to the public in late October 2021, offering more than 30 exhibits on Hawaiian ocean life — from the whaling era beginning in the early 19th century all the way through today’s conservation efforts.

One of the highlights is the Immersive Room, a video experience featuring the sounds of the ocean — from animals to waves — screened across three walls, taking guests on a deep dive under the ocean.Another video room features a library of Maui-focused stories with topics like “What Does it Take to Disentangle a Whale?” and “Kumukahi: Stories of Living Hawaiian Culture.”

Other exhibits include a life-size model of a humpback whale calf, a collection of 19th century scrimshaw, and a 10-foot replica of a 104-foot whaling ship, with naturalists and historians on hand to help visitors learn more about Hawaiian maritime history.

According to Hannah Bernard, executive director of The Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, marine debris is a growing threat to all marine life. “There are more than five trillion pieces of plastic floating out in the world’s oceans,” she said. “Almost every piece of Styrofoam ever produced is out there. By the year 2050, 99% of all seabird species will have eaten plastic and there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.”

In addition to raising public awareness about marine debris, the Hawai’i Wildlife Discovery Center will also help raise money for cleanup and prevention. A portion of the proceeds from entry fees and gift shop sales — where guests can purchase works from the artists featured in the center — will fund Hawai’i Wildlife Fund’s conservation efforts.

The 5000-square-foot center will also host community gatherings and provide a space for education and outreach programs on the west side of Maui.

For more information, visit hawaiiwildlifediscoverycenter.org.