Humpbacks of Hawaii Interactive Exhibit & Sphere

Maui Ocean Center Aquarium and the 3D Sphere.

An aerial view of the Maui Ocean Center aquarium park and the 3D Sphere where the Humpbacks of Hawaii Interactive 3D movie is shown.

Maui Ocean Center / Submitted Media

The Tide Pool.

Children touch and learn about the ocean surrounding Hawaii at one of many exhibits at the aquarium.

Maui Ocean Center / Submitted Media

The Humpbacks of Hawaii Interactive Exhibit & Sphere is a multi-media exhibit and 3D theater at the Maui Ocean Center aquarium. Visitors walk through various presentations and activities about humpback whales before entering the “3D Sphere,” where visitors are immersed in the ocean world of humpback whales.

The Monolithic Dome is the exhibit’s centerpiece; at 54 feet in diameter (16.4 m) by 37 feet tall (11.2 m), the dome is a ¾ sphere. This design enables projecting a 360-degree image on half the dome’s surface. The audience wears active 3D glasses—superior to regular movie theater 3D glasses—to increase the depth of the illusion to the point that people feel that they can actually reach out and touch the whales in the movie.

The maximum diameter of the sphere is large enough to project a full-sized humpback whale in three-dimensional space above the audience.

The Maui Ocean Center is one of the “Top 10 Aquariums in the World,” according to TripAdvisor. “Maui Ocean Center exhibits only marine animals found in Hawaiian waters while perpetuating the relationship between the Hawaiian culture and the sea. It features one of the world’s largest displays of live Pacific corals and an immersive, 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit, both of which are highlighted regularly in guest reviews.”

The aquarium is open most days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rendering of a Humpback Whale in the Theater.

A rendering cannot capture the feeling that the 3D theater gives of a full-size humpback whale projected in space above the audience. Filmmaker Daniel Opitz spent two seasons shooting footage of humpback whales in the ocean around Maui.

Maui Ocean Center / Submitted Media

Keeping up with the Domeses

Sign up for the monthly Monolithic Dome Roundup email newsletter for the latest news and links about innovative architecture, thin-shell structures, and the Monolithic Dome industry.