With its stunningly beautiful golden beaches, inspiring sunsets, and endless azure ocean that’s the envy of surfers around the world, at first glance Maui might seem like more of a destination for honeymooners than student groups. However, with its fascinating culture, unique ecology, and abundance of activities available, this gorgeous island can provide plenty of educational adventures for students of all ages. Here are some top recommendations for how you can make it a truly enjoyable and unforgettable trip.

Maui Ocean Center

Help students learn more about what lies beneath the waves in Hawaii at the Maui Ocean Center and Aquarium.  It’s packed with interesting exhibits about the local marine life, as well as the cultural connection between the people, land, and ocean in Hawaii. Plus they’ll come face to face with gliding stingrays, hundreds of fish, and even several species of shark! The center offers a fantastic opportunity for students to find out about marine conservation too, and the importance of protecting the world’s oceans.

Makawao Forest Reserve

To experience the unique ecology of Maui above the water, the Makawao Forest Reserve is unbeatable. Located between 2,500 and 3,000 feet above sea level, it offers cooler temperatures and a diverse topography to explore. There are several hiking trails to follow that take you through fragrant eucalyptus trees and towering pine trees, with separate paths open for mountain biking, too – ideal for tiring out energetic kids before heading back to one of the fabulous Maui resort hotels.

Tour of the Stars

Inject a little science into your trip with this fascinating astronomy lesson and stargazing experience. Hosted by Eddie Mahoney, a Solar System Ambassador with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, students will have the chance to use telescopes and binoculars to explore the beauty of the night sky without the hindrance of light pollution. Eighty of the 88 constellations in the sky are visible from Maui, and you can also learn about how the Polynesians used the stars for navigation.

Old Lahaina Luau

For an authentic cultural experience, the Old Lahaina Luau is a fantastic choice. Taking place right on the beach, where you can benefit from idyllic views of the sunset, the show consists of traditional music and hula dance performances that take you on a journey through Hawaii’s history and people. There’s also traditional food made with local and seasonal ingredients to enjoy as you watch, giving students a delicious encounter with the island’s unique culinary heritage too.

Atlantis Submarine Underwater Tour

Take students on a journey 100 feet below the water to get up close and personal with pristine coral reefs and all sorts of marine life in their natural habitat. The tour takes place on a high-tech, air-conditioned submarine that seats 48 passengers, so there’s no need to worry about the swimming abilities of those in your care. Depending on the time of year you visit, there might also be the chance to combine it with a whale watching tour to spot rare, and majestic humpback whales leap and dive.