A Day at the Honolulu Zoo

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared some of the places we’ve been here on Oahu so I thought I’d remedy that today with a post about our most recent day trip–to the Honolulu zoo! And I might have even been inspired by sister-in-law and made a vlog all about it!

Visiting Oahu? Find out if you should add the Honolulu Zoo to your itinerary.

One thing you should know before visiting the Honolulu Zoo is that parking is limited, read almost non-existent. The zoo is situated on the tip of the very popular Waikiki so, even though there is zoo parking, there’s a good chance you’ll have to walk to your destination. If you can’t get a spot in the zoo parking or in street parking on Kalakaua Avenue, I recommend heading back to the other side of Waikiki and parking at the lot by Fort DeRussy (especially if you’re military since you’ll get a discount). Yes, you’ll be getting a little walk in (around 1.2 miles), but you’ll be walking down one of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Oahu–the Waikiki Strip.

Fountains on the Waikiki strip Oahu, HI

Entrance and map of Honolulu zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is open daily from 9-4:30 and costs $14 for adults and $6 for keiki/kids ($8 and $4 respectively for those with a military ID card). The zoo is 42 acres and boasts being the only zoo within a radius of聽2,392 miles as well as being the only zoo in the US to have been established by a sovereign monarch.

Mileage sign- Honolulu Zoo

About 900 different species of animals call the Honolulu Zoo their home. However, as of our visit, the zoo is heavily under construction and only a small portion of those animals are on display.聽I will say that I felt slightly disappointed after walking through the zoo–I heard many people complain about the lack of animals, which was completely understandable since the zoo is in the midst of renovations–but it was the size and conditions of the enclosures that bothered me. Maybe I’ve been incredibly spoiled at the 5 or so zoos/animal preserves I’ve previously visited but I was not expecting such large animals to be kept in what can only be described as large cages. It is worth noting that the zoo recently lost their accreditation with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums because of lack of funding.

Flamingos at the Honolulu Zoo

Elephants at the Honolulu Zoo

Warthogs at the Honolulu Zoo

You know you’re Disney fans when you and your husband shout Dumbo and Pumbaa when you get to the elephant and warthog exhibits!!!

Giraffe with Diamond Head crater- Honolulu Zoo

This is what I call the perfect photo opportunity right here! A giraffe ambling along in front of the most Hawaiian backdrop ever–the famous Diamond Head Crater.聽Most of the animals you can see at the Honolulu Zoo are fairly common to the zoos you’ll see across America with one exception–the Nene. A type of goose only found in Hawaii.

Kipuka Nene Sanctuary- Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo, Oahu, Hi


Visiting the Honolulu Zoo–Yes or No?

All in all, even though we did enjoy walking through the Honolulu zoo, I would recommend skipping out on this Oahu attraction if you’re just visiting the islands.


Have you been to your local zoo or nature preserve?

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  • wow absolutely love that photo of the giraffe with diamond head in the background! glad you posted this because i’ve walked passed that zoo both times i’ve ventured to the island and wondered how the inside faired.

    • I’m glad you found the post beneficial, Chelsea–the zoo was definitely still fun ( and honestly how many times will you be able to see that view!) but overall there are so many other places here you should visit during your trip!

  • Fun! I’m hoping I still have the energy and movement to take Bensen to the zoo month 馃檪

  • That giraffe photo is great! Too bad the experience wasn’t great but at least you found out for yourself!

  • Jen

    We went there a few times, I like it because it’s small and I could take my kids by myself but you’re right, it is too small. The elephants enclosure is almost comical. I hope they can get their accreditation back because I think the animals would benefit from it but let’s face it, no one comes to visit Hawaii to go to a zoo. :/

    • Too true…but it’s such a fun spot for the families who live here to visit that I hope they get all the needed renovations finished.

  • Oh that zoo is beautiful.

  • I love this zoo! It’s the perfect size and has the right amount of shade for walking around with 3 little ones! I agree with the spaces for animals being small though. I’d never expect to find a zoo in that area!

    • Agreed!–it was the perfect size for this pregnant lady to waddle around!! 馃檪 And I can definitely see how it would be perfect for little ones—it’s just the size of the animal enclosures that pains me…I hope they’re able to renovate.

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