Top Family Hawaii attractions: Honolulu Zoo and Panaewa Rainforest Zoo

Honolulu ZooThere are many family Hawaii attractions to see just like the Honolulu Zoo and Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. These Hawaii attractions are also the best place to bring your children to see the different animals of Hawaii while you’re on your family vacation.

Top Family Hawaii Attractions: Honolulu Zoo

Starting from a land grant in 1876, the Honolulu Zoo was gradually stocked with animals in the early 20th century by the Administrator of Kapiolani Park. Growing from a tiny collection of a monkey, a honey bear and a few lions, it now offers views of hundreds of animals both familiar and exotic.

There are over 43-acres in Waikiki of animals in one of the most unusual zoo settings anywhere in the world. Over 750,000 visitors per year come to this site near Diamond Head to enjoy the painstakingly gathered species in a lush and tropical environment and find out why this is on everyone’s family Hawaii attractions list.

Enter and pass by the Flamingo Pond. Travel farther down the path to see the state bird, a goose called the Nene. To the left is the children’s petting zoo where young ones will be fascinated by the llamas.

Wild lions roam freely in a 10-acre area called the African Savannah in a setting similar to San Diego’s Wild Animal Park. But, in this case, the grounds are lush and filled with contrast that isn’t provided by San Diego’s dusty pits. Sharing the space with them are several other native species of the Dark Continent, including Capuchin monkeys.

There are species that are natives of other continents as well. Apart from the Nene the zoo houses a Hawaiian pig and mouflon sheep. There is an anteater and a sloth. The zoo offers views of the exotic Coatimundis from South America. And don’t miss seeing the outstanding Sumatran Tiger.

Many of the species in the Honolulu Zoo are better seen in the evening. For this, the zoo provides a special program called the Zoo by Twilight Tour.

There is also a family sleepover option as part of the Snooze in the Zoo event held Friday’s and Saturday’s once per month. Children would love to see some animals so going to the Honolulu Zoo is great for your family vacation.
Family Hawaii Attractions

Top Family Hawaii Attractions: Panaewa Rainforest Zoo

If you find yourself in Hilo and want to have a truly unique zoo experience, visit the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. Situated in a genuine 12-acre rainforest, it offers a variety of species.

There are Spider Monkeys, a Pygmy Hippo, a Water Buffalo and more. Birds have a comfortable home in this lush tropical paradise. There are Vultures, Parrots and the official state bird, the rare Nene Goose.

Small by some standards, housing only about 150 animals total, the zoo is full of fascinating little enclaves. There is a section housing the Colobus Monkey, another with a giant Anteater. Just down the path is an Aldabra Tortoise. Be sure not to miss the extraordinary peacocks not far from the extensive butterfly enclosure.

Of course, any visit is best capped by seeing the rare White Bengal Tiger named Namaste. This native of India was actually donated by an owner in Las Vegas and his name means ‘Aloha’.

That’s just what you’ll be saying when you visit one of the top family Hawaii attractions. The two zoos, Honolulu Zoo and the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo are must see Hawaii attractions for your Hawaii family vacation.

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Bishop Museum: A Hawaii Attraction

Bishop MuseumOne of the popular tourist destinations in Hawaii is the Bishop Museum. It is a must see when visiting Oahu. In a natural paradise filled with extraordinary beaches, outstanding falls and amazing volcanoes it could hardly be otherwise.

Yet, it does offer some truly fine museums as well. One of the foremost, which would merit a visit in any city, is the Bishop Museum.

Located in Honolulu, the outdoor grounds and building facade alone make the trip worthwhile. A large open grassy area highlights a 19th century structure that resembles the Natural History Museum in New York. But the 50-foot palm trees make it clear you are nowhere near Manhattan.

Built in 1889, it is the legacy of one of the leading citizens of the day, Charles Reed Bishop. He wished to honor his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a member of the royal Kamehameha family, by providing a facility to make all Hawaiians proud. It began with a few items, mostly from their private collection. Since then, the collection has grown to over 25 million objects covering a wide range of subjects displaying Hawaii’s heritage and natural blessings.

Bishop Musuem Oahu

Bishop Musuem Oahu

Within the three-story Hawaiian Hall, for example, there are thousands of artifacts covering the island state’s unique Asian, European and American immigrant cultures. It provides an outstanding view into the not-too-distant past when Hawaii was developing out of its native roots and into a modern culture. This Hawaii family vacation is also a history lesson as well for those taking their family vacation in Hawaii.

At the same time, it’s easy to find many thousands of objects devoted to this unique land’s roots in the Polynesia Hall. Two floors of exhibits contain objects that represent the Polynesian and Micronesian cultures that fed and interacted with the island chain.

The Natural History Hall covers many of the natural animal wonders of Hawaii and is also a popular tourist destination in Hawaii. Certainly, similar museums in London or New York provide awider range. But here the emphasis is on those species native to the area. That provides the museum with a distinctive difference that is well worth the time spent exploring it. Rare birds and insects found nowhere else are special highlights.

Anyone visiting will want to make time to take in the museum’s up-to-date astronomy wing, the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium. Much more than the sometimes-dull show offered elsewhere, the views provided offer a vista of the skies here that is unlike any elsewhere. The views can make you say that this is the best Hawaii tourist attraction there is.

One of the latest additions is the Castle Building, erected to house an ever-changing array of fascinating exhibits. Hands-on displays of robotics will delight young and old alike. Interactive exhibitions about everything from dinosaurs to space exploration have been offered in the past. The innovation of the curators makes it a sure bet that no matter when you visit there will be something interesting on display.

A recent offering that looks to be made permanent describes in detail the life of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. There are dozens of items from her personal collection on display. The Bishop Museum offers you the history of Hawaii, culture and modern day exhibits. A great place for a fun learning family vacation here in Hawaii. Popular tourist destination in Hawaii like the Bishop Museum offers you the general info of everything about Hawaii.



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Hawaii Aquariums

Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium


Hawaii tourist destination, other than scenic views of the falls and the volcanoes, especially from the wonderful beaches of Hawaii, you should visit Hawaii’s aquariums. Hawaii is the best place or one of the best places to visit an aquarium since Hawaii boasts some of the beautiful sea creatures there is since it is surrounded by water. You can add Hawaii aquariums to your list of your family vacation.

Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center is one of Hawaii’s premier aquatic displays and a top Hawaii tourist destination.

In this island state full of natural wonders that’s a high achievement indeed. Located in Maalaea Harbor Village on the southwest shore of Maui, it offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits, either one of which would be well worth the visit. This center is one of Hawaii tourist destination of the best aquariums there is on the island.

Walk through the 16-meter (54-foot) tunnel and gaze into the 2.5 million liter (750,000 gallon) tank full of native species. This being Maui, that naturally includes lots of sharks, including the known man-eater Tiger Shark. Sharks often seem unpredictable. Yet here they swim peacefully with the Mahi Mahi and Spotted Eagle Rays that share the enclosure.

If you’re feeling nervous, just take a trip topside to view any of the 40 marine tanks. Enjoy the many colorful creatures in the tidal pool. Or, visit the Turtle Lagoon. Spend some time with the Tropical Reef’s marine life, which includes live sponges, anemones, mollusks and the country’s largest collection of live coral. Under supervision, you can pet one of the sea stars or sea urchins.

Hawaii Aquariums

Maui Ocean Center

Take a stroll and visit the Whale Discovery Center to see the life-sized model of a humpback whale calf, the state’s official marine animal. Adults are 45 feet in length and weigh 40 tons. See the educational displays here before taking a whale watching tour not far off the coast. The whales enjoy a swim through the channels between the islands as they migrate from the polar feeding grounds to breed in winter.

Don’t miss one of the many interactive displays in the Marine Mammal Discover Center that features video of monk seals, dolphins and other native marine life of Hawaii. Certified divers can even get into the Open Ocean Exhibit for a live shark encounter with over 20 sharks and several stingrays. Staff will do everything to make sure the live encounter stays that way!

Waikiki Aquarium

Built in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the country’s oldest public aquarium. Located in Honolulu just blocks from Waikiki Beach, it houses over 3,000 organisms from over 450 plant and animal species.

Pause at the entrance and spend time examining the Potter’s Angel, Yellow Tang and other tropical fish. Get a close-up view of the Longnose Hawkfish, found only in waters below 100 feet. Enjoy the colorful coral, native to the waters only a few hundred yards away.

One exhibit, The Edge of the Reef, offers displays of five separate reef environments, showing the immense diversity of marine life even just within this one type of ecosystem.

The large shark tank here is populated also by rays and many other species that share space with some of Hawaii’s most famous natives. Come in the evening and get an in-depth tour during the Shark Nite or Stingray Tracking programs.

The jellyfish tank houses unusual species from the saltwater lakes near Palau. There are also Moon Jellies, Cassiopeia and many more of these delicate, semi-transparent marine animals.

Don’t miss seeing one of the few Chambered Nautilus born in captivity in a display not far away. A resident of the deep waters of Micronesia, it was recovered from the ocean at 1,500 feet. A distant relative of the octopus, they’re rarely seen in an aquarium.

Choose among Hawaii tourist destination of aquariums and discover why the natural wonders of this island state can sometimes only be found in a tank. Make the Hawaii aquariums visits part of your Hawaii family vacation. It is also educational for children as well. Not only will you spend your Hawaii family vacation enjoying but you will make this a learning experience as well.

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Places to visit in Hawaii: Hawaii Botanical Gardens

Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden


It might seem odd as to pick Hawaii Botanical Gardens. After all, the state is one huge, lush tropical garden, so why bother? The fact is that Hawaii is lovely, but it is also very developed these days. As a result, much of the nature has moved to protected areas over the generations. In short, the best floras are sometimes to be found in Hawaii’s botanical gardens.

Foster Botanical Gardens

A mere 13.5 acres, Foster Botanical Gardens, one of Hawaii botanical gardens that may be small, but it is mighty.

Mighty in possessing some of the oldest and finest of the state’s outstanding plant species. It is surrounded by urban landscape, which makes it very accessible. At the same time, as the oldest botanical garden in Hawaii, it holds some of the best samples.

The Lyon Orchid Garden also one of the Hawaii botanical gardens that offer an exceptionally good display of species of flower that one naturally associates with Hawaii.

That’s ironic, given that so much of the state’s plant life was actually imported from elsewhere. The Prehistoric Glen offers primitive plant species that are rarely seen elsewhere. The Middle Terraces offer heliconias, aroids and more. Don’t miss the Main Terrace, dating back to the gardens beginning in 1853.

Located at 50 North Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, the Foster Botanical Garden is a must see.

Nani Mau Gardens

Located in Hilo on the Big Island, visitors will enjoy 20 acres of waterfalls, quiet paths and thousands of lovely plant species.

The Annual Garden houses six acres of tapestry gardens. Red Salvia sit alongside Norfolk Island pines. Nearby are African Tulip trees and a Bombax, whose flowers pop open with color and an audible sound. The pua-kenikeni aroma will remind many of the island’s finest leis.

The European Garden is another unexpected treat in this tropical paradise. The roses on the gazebo invite you to sit and breath in the fragrant air. You’ll want to munch on the huge pummelo fruit as you breath in the aroma of delightful herbs nearby.Hawaii Botanical Gardens

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Part of the famed Onomea Falls, the Garden is 8.5 miles north of Hilo along the Scenic Route of Onomea Bay. Gingers and bromeliads are only two of the over 2,000 species that call this garden home. Surrounded by lush tropical jungle, the facility offers comfortable chairs and unparalleled sights and smells.

An elevated boardwalk provides an excellent view of the Kahalii Ravine, filled with giant bamboo, banana trees, orchids and ferns. Along the Palm Vista Trail visitors can see some of the more than 200 species of palm, including the fast growing Wanga from Malaysia and the Areca with its distinctive red seeds. Further on there’s a fine view of a huge Jackfruit Tree with colorful fruit over two feet long.

Finish your visit by seeing the Onomea Falls. Three high terraces provide an outstanding ladder for water that rushes through giant palms and ferns. At the base there are numerous native species of fish and prawns.

Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden

But the prize for largest botanical garden has to go to the Waimea Arboretum, otherwise known as the Waimea Valley Audubon Center. Sited on 100 acres, it houses 36 major botanical collections visited by over 150,000 guests every year.

Located on Oahu’s north shore, it is part of Waimea Falls Park. The falls themselves are spectacular and the gardens equally so. Several species of native hibiscus share space with rare dune plants. The erythrina offers a view of some of the collections’ many medicinal plants. This is a great Hawaii family vacation, since you will get to visit the falls and the botanical gardens. Kind of like all in one package. Places to visit in Hawaii like the of botanical gardens is truly remarkable because of the many kinds of flowers, many flowers that you will get too see and smell too.

Don’t leave without seeing one of the amazing cliff-diving shows, either.

Places to visit are the dozen Hawaii’s Botanical Gardens which are a must see for any family vacation in Hawaii. Given that a visit to the island state is often motivated by a desire to enjoy its natural beauty, this is a can’t lose situation. The Hawaii botanical gardens should be added to the list of your family vacations when in Hawaii.

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