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Places On Oahu: The Honolulu Zoo

Basic Information

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Narrative

Going to zoos is one of the favorite activities my family and I like to go and do together.  So when we moved to Hawaii one of the first things we did was visit the zoo.  The Honolulu Zoo is conveniently located within walking distance of most hotels in Waikiki:

For those that have to drive parking at and near the zoo is very limited.  We usually go to the zoo on weekends and make sure we park prior to 9:00 AM in the zoo parking lot.  We always find parking when we park that early.  Every hour after 9:00 AM increases your chances of experiencing parking frustration because Waikiki just has too many cars and not enough parking.  The parking at the zoo is $1 for every hour so it is pretty cheap.  Entrance into the zoo as well is pretty cheap costing $14 for adults and $6 for children.  My family and I bought the annual zoo family membership for $55 which is a bargain considering how often we visit the zoo.  Inside of the zoo there are 42 lushly forested acres to explore:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

It of course would not be a Waikiki location without a few of the large and always impressive banyan trees to check out:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Besides the trees the zoo is also filled with plenty of flowers to check out as well:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

I just love taking pictures of flowers here in Hawaii:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Inside of this lushly forested zoo there are over 900 animals to see.  The zoo contains most of the animals you would expect at a zoo such as elephants:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo also has a tiger that is hard to spot, some great orangutans and a large variety of monkeys and chimps:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

There are also some exotic birds on display as well such as colorful flamingoes:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

For being a Hawaiian zoo I thought there would be more animals from the Pacific and Australian regions in the zoo.  Since most of the bird life in the Hawaiian islands has been wiped out there isn’t a whole lot to see from the islands, but they do have a flock of native Hawaiian Nene ducks:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

These ducks are rarely seen in Hawaii and the only place I have seen them in the wild is over in Kauai.  The Honolulu Zoo does have a lot of birds from the Pacific region on display.  They also have a Kimodo dragon from Indonesia on display as well:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

As far as Australian wildlife they had one of my favorite birds the kookaburra:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

I was surprised they did not have at least a kangaroo for people to see.  It seems like Australian-Pacific region should be the wildlife that the zoo should specialize in?  The favorite place my kids like to visit is the Keiki area of the zoo:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Here there is various farm animals on display:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

There is also a large water tank that is filled with koi for kids to look at:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Finally the petting zoo is extremely popular and my kids always look forward to it every time we go to the zoo:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

What I am surprised about is how the zoo does not have any ponies or horses for the kids to ride on like I have seen at other zoos.  The final thing we always end our visit to the zoo with is letting our kids play at the large playground near the center of the zoo:

Picture from the Honolulu Zoo

Conclusion

Our all-time favorite zoo is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs for various reasons.  A close second is the Healesville Animal Sanctuary in Australia.  These are the zoos I tend to compare others to.  Unfortunately the Honolulu Zoo comes no where near the quality of these two zoos.  This is especially surprising considering the much larger population base of Honolulu compared to the other two zoos.  The population base of Honolulu is augmented even more by the large number of tourists.  Despite these advantages the Honolulu Zoo cannot match the quality of many zoos that I have been to which is evident by the fact that it recently lost its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  This is very unfortunate and hopefully the zoo can get reaccredit in the future.

Despite its short comings the Honolulu Zoo is still a great place for locals to take their kids to visit.  For people traveling to Honolulu on vacation I really cannot recommend visiting this zoo compared to spending time to see other attractions on the island.  It seems that if the zoo focused more on becoming a Australian-Pacific regional zoo with some outstanding educational programs through out the day it may be of more interest to visitors than seeing animals that they can see in any other mainland zoo.

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