The shriek of the Honolulu Zoo’s population of endangered white-handed gibbons is a familiar morning sound to Waikiki’s regular surfing contingent. The sprawling 42-acre (17-hectare) zoo, located in Kapiolani Park, near Waikiki Beach, is home to more than 900 species, including many animals (and plants) found only in Hawaii.
The Honolulu Zoo is divided into nine different zones, including a very popular African Savanna area and a Sumatran Tiger habitat. After visiting the primates, elephants, and rhinos, make time for one of the zookeepers’ daily talks about various species’ behavior and animal care. Animal lovers can combine a guided tour of the Honolulu Zoo with a visit to Sea Life Park; many cycling and Segway tours of Honolulu include the zoo as well.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Plan to spend at least 90 minutes exploring the zoo.
- Don’t feed the animals, and try to keep your voice down so as not to disturb them.
- Outside food and drink are permitted inside the zoo (including coolers), so feel free to pack a picnic.
- The zoo is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
The zoo’s entrance is just off a large parking lot on the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki’s main oceanfront drag. Several bus routes, as well as the popular Waikiki Trolley, stop near the zoo entrance.
When to Get There
The Honolulu Zoo is open daily (except for on Christmas Day) from mid-morning until late afternoon. Visit on a Friday or Saturday evening for a twilight tour of the zoo grounds, when you can learn about some of the residents’ nocturnal behaviors.
Conservation at the Zoo
The Honolulu Zoo has been involved in numerous conservation projects throughout its history, including successful breeding programs for Victoria crowned pigeons, Hawaiian nene, giraffes, and Galápagos tortoises. Several species housed at the zoo are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which helps participating institutions coordinate conservation efforts.