You have taken part in Hawaii’s famous luaus, toured the Dole Plantation, had an amazing day at Iolani Palace and probably spent a great deal of time on Honolulu’s famous beaches. What other family oriented fun does Honolulu have to offer, you might ask yourself? The Waikiki Aquarium, located within walking distance of Waikiki Beach and across the street from the Kapi‘olani Park Tennis Courts has something to offer for everyone.
Founded on March 19, 1904, by the Honolulu Rapid Transit Authority, the aquarium was first known as the Honolulu Aquarium. Originally located 200 yards north of its present location, it was constructed in an effort to entice tourists to ride the trolley to the end of the line at Queen Kapiʻolani Park. The facility was relocated to the 2.35-acre parcel of land which it sits on today in 1955. Constructed next to a living coral reef on the Waikiki shoreline, the Waikiki Aquarium showcases more than 500 marine species and maintains more than 3,000 marine specimens.
Today, the aquarium is administered by the University of Hawaii, a responsibility which it assumed back in 1919. Over 330,000 people visit the aquarium annually and over 30,000 schoolchildren participate in the Aquarium’s educational activities and programs.
The aquarium is organized into various galleries inside. There is a classroom, a monk seal habitat, a coral farm and an area devoted to ocean aquaculture outside. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable; ready to answer any questions you may have and share their knowledge to make the visit more enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed playing with the sea urchins that respond to touch by wrapping their tiny spines around your finger. Of course I did not reach into the tank to do this but was invited by an aquarium staff member to do so. And don’t forget to ask about the feeding times for the monk seal. It is an experience you are sure to enjoy.
After you are done touring the aquarium, stop off at the gift shop to pick up a souvenir or two. The gift shop carries a wide variety of apparel, gift-ware, jewelry, toys, art and other products that are made in Hawaii. Proceeds from sales benefit aquarium programs, exhibits and research.
The aquarium is open daily, seven days a week between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hours change slightly on Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day so be sure to check their web page before your visit. The facility closes during the Honolulu Marathon, which takes place in December and on Christmas Day.
Web page: https://www.waikikiaquarium.org/
Address: 2777 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815