Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

What We Do

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s mission is to protect Hawai‘i humpback whales and this extremely important habitat through closely aligned education, research, and resource protection efforts. The sanctuary works with the community and our other partners to reduce threats to humpback whales, including through enforcement. We have different volunteer opportunities on different island as dedicated volunteers are one of the sanctuary’s greatest assets. Current volunteers are members of the community including residents and visitors, students, and senior citizens. They come from many different backgrounds and bring a variety of skills and talents to the sanctuary.


Who We Are

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1992 to protect humpback whales (koholā) and their
habitat in Hawai‘i. The sanctuary safeguards koholā breeding, calving, and nursing grounds in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands. Encompassing 1,370 square miles of federal and state waters, the sanctuary extends from the shoreline to the 600 foot depth contour and is composed of five separate marine protected areas, accessible from six of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Learn about Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, our marine environment, and more when visiting Kīhei, Maui, or Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i.

Sanctuary Visitor Center located in Kīhei on the south shore of Maui, the visitor center is an ideal spot to learn about the marine environment and even see humpback whales breaching. This scenic beachfront location at the foot of Haleakalā has views of Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, and West Maui looking across the waters of the sanctuary. The visitor center features exhibits, interactive displays, and weekly programs for the whole family.

726 South Kīhei Road
Kīhei, Maui, Hawaiʻi 96753
Phone: (808) 879-2818
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Kauaʻi Ocean Discovery is an admission-free learning facility that shares the traditions and knowledge of our ocean connections and inspires stewardship. It is managed by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the State of Hawaiʻi, and Kukui Grove Center. It features exhibits, displays, and a variety of family activities.

Kukui Grove Center
3-2600 Kaumualii Hwy, Suite 1618
Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, Hawaiʻi 96766
Phone: (808) 246-2861
Wednesday and Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

*Visitor centers are closed on all federal holidays.

Cause Areas

Animals, Environmental Conservation, Community Engagement

Featured Video

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Volunteer Opportunities

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