The Waikiki Aquarium is located in Honolulu on a lovely spot across from Kapiolani Park and next to Sans Souci Beach. One of the oldest in the US, it was founded in 1904 and became part of the University of Hawaii in 1919. It is a quiet, glitz-free aquarium with many students on the staff. It’s a great visit to learn more about Hawaiian sea life. Outdoors you can find the exhibits Edge of the Reef, Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat, and Ocean Aquaculture. The reef exhibit shows a rocky shoreline and the kind of fish and aquatic life you might see if you go snorkeling. The aquaculture exhibit demonstrates raising moi fish, the fish reserved for royalty in the old days. Hawaiian monk seals are beautiful animals that are an endangered species.
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit displays the habitat and species of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. This is the largest conservation area in the US and covers almost 140,000 square miles of the Pacific to the north and west of Kaua’i. This conservation area is pretty much restricted to cultural practitioners and researchers. Be sure to check out this exhibit of marine life. You might see masked angelfish, Japanese pygmys, or Hawaiian morwong!
You can walk from the hotels on Waikiki. The aquarium is about an 8-minute walk from the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu. The Route 19 and 20 buses can get you there. If you drive, there is parking on the Kapiolani side of Kalakaua Avenue. You will have to pay the meter.
- Waikiki Aquarium webpage
- Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
- Honu and Hina storybook by Patrick Ching
- Makua and Kila storybook by Fred Van Dyke
- Hawaiian fish from Marine Life Photography
I’m a Pisces, so that might be why I love seeing fish. We always try to schedule aquarium visits on our travels. The Waikiki Aquarium is my favorite. There’s something home-y about it, with its size, age, and the student staff. And the marine life of the Pacific is so spectacular!