Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Oahu - Waikiki Aquarium




September 30, 2013

Visit Oahu - Waikiki Aquarium

Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission.  
Click on all photos to enlarge.

Getting an up-close look at marine life is always fun, and our family recently had a chance to do so at the Waikiki Aquarium - an aquarium over 100 years old (the third oldest in the US).

Highlights of Our Visit
We were excited by all that we saw - corals, angelfishes, sharks, and so much more.

The enormity of the giant clam, the grace of the lagoon jelly, and the peculiarity of the Commerson's frogfish were so intriguing.

My kids loved the Ocean Aquaculture exhibit, which was a tank full of Moi (Pacific Six Fingered Threadfin). As they swam around and around in their tank, my kids cheered them on as if they were racing.

The touch pool was very popular with my oldest son, and all of my kids were elated to see the clown anemonefish, or "Nemo" as they all exclaimed.

The Hawaiian monk seals were another favorite.  The aquarium volunteer at the exhibit was so friendly and knowledgeable, informing visitors that Maka, one of the Hawaiian monk seals, loves to spin around vertically.  She also told us how Hawaiian monk seals, although an endangered species, are sometimes killed because they are believed to be stealing fisherman's fish.

Other favorite exhibits included the seahorses, the eels, and the octopus.

Our Experience Visiting as a Special-Needs Family
Although we had taken my oldest son, who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to the Waikiki Aquarium before, it was before he was diagnosed.  Now that we know how to better prepare for visits to attractions, we made sure to prepare him for the visit by talking about what kinds of things he'd see, and allowing him to peruse the website to look at pictures of the different marine life.

Once there he was very anxious to see every single exhibit, trying to rush from one exhibit to the next, but we helped to keep him focused by telling him to read about certain species on the exhibit displays and having him try to find them.

Another way we tried to help ease his anxieties was to allow him to repeatedly do or see things he was most interested in, like hold a tiny hermit crab at the touch pool or sit in front of the shark tank. 

There are several places to sit indoors and outdoors if a break is needed, and a large grassy area outside is great for kids who need to walk around to release some energy.

Overall my son did wonderfully, and he was eager to share his experience with his friends at school the next day.

Final Thoughts
Although small (we were there for about an hour), we had a very nice time at the Waikiki Aquarium.

In addition to the marine life exhibits, there are also interactive exhibits to keep kids entertained.

The audio tour wand and knowledgeable staff members made the visit even more enjoyable.

The aquarium also offers numerous programs and events so visitors can feed animals, participate in activities, and so much more. 

Whether you're Kama`aina or a visitor, the Waikiki Aquarium is a lovely place to spend an hour or two with the family!

Before are more photos from our visit.  Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Waikiki Aquarium
2777 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 923-9741

Admission: Click here for current admission prices (Kama`aina and Military discounts available).
Hours: 9:00 am-4:30pm daily; closed on Honolulu Marathon and Christmas Days.
Parking:  Limited free parking is available in the Waikiki Aquarium lot for 1 hour; metered street parking also available nearby.

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