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Top Zoos and Aquariums to Visit on Your Next Hawaii Vacation

Wildlife and marine life are two big reasons people take a Hawaii vacation.

Eco tours, beaches, and parks are great ways to view this nature firsthand, but you won’t always be able to see every species unique to these islands. Zoos and aquariums are great ways to get up close and personal with some of the tropical wildlife and marine life native to Hawaii.

Here are some zoos and aquariums to visit on your next Hawaii vacation:

Honolulu Zoo

If you’re staying in Honolulu or just stopping in, the Honolulu Zoo is a great diversion. It’s conveniently located right next to Waikiki, close to Diamond Head. Naturally, you’ll find species local to Hawaii as well as other regions of the world.

You’ll see over 900 types of animals, including birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. From elephants to komodo dragons to aardvarks, this zoo has plenty to offer the visitor.

The Honolulu Zoo is open every day from 9 am to 4:30 pm, so it’s a great option for a daytime excursion.

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is an underwater zoo that’s operated by the University of Hawaii.

There are regular exhibits that showcase some of the island’s most fascinating marine life. These exhibits don’t just show off marine life, they demonstrate how the marine ecosystem works.

You and your children will be fascinated by the huge variety of invertebrates, fish, and mammals that populate these tropical waters. Here, you’ll see everything from anemones to seals and everything in between.

The Waikiki Aquarium is located near Kapiolani Park, which is just a short walk from Waikiki.

Maui Ocean Center

Like the Waikiki Aquarium, Maui Ocean Center is a great place to view marine life in Hawaii.

The center faithfully preserves active marine ecosystems, from communities of coral to lagoons. There are over 60 exhibits in total, including a 750,000-gallon tank and Maui’s only shark-diving activity.

The Maui Ocean Center is a great way to see sea life that could take decades to explore on your own. It is located in Wailuku and is open 9 am to 5 pm every day.

Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo

Visitors to the Big Island should stop by Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo, which is “the only natural tropical rainforest zoo in the United States.”

This zoo is great family fun, and it’s also a good option for budget travelers, since admission is free. In this zoo, you’ll find everything from llamas to marmosets and, soon, White Bengal Tigers. And every Saturday you can stop by to treat your kids to the petting zoo.

Not only does the zoo feature a wide selection of animal life, you’ll also be able to learn about over 100 varieties of plant life, such as tropical palms, shrubs, and trees.

The zoo is located in Hilo and is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.


Ready to plan your visit to these Hawaii zoos and aquariums?

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