Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Oahu: Honolulu Zoo




May 14, 2014

Visit Oahu: Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is one of the most popular family-friendly attractions on Oahu for both Kama`aina and visitors. Over the years it has gone through a lot of changes - it looks very different from when I used to visit as a kid. However, one thing remains the same - the zoo's efforts in offering interesting and significant experiences in a caring and hospitable environment.
At the Honolulu Zoo
Highlights of Our Hosted Visit
The Honolulu Zoo, which is spread out across 42 acres, is home to hundreds of different animals, including many endangered species.

My middle son loved seeing the flamingos, and my youngest son got so excited to see a "big bird" (a black-crowned night heron) perched on a tree.

Flamingo and Black-Crowned Night Heron
The African Savanna was a great place to simply sit back and watch zebras, giraffes, black rhinos, and other animals roam freely amongst each other.

Zebras and Giraffes

Black Rhinoceros
East African Crowned Crane
Primates of the World exhibited many animals that were sitting, swinging, or singing.  It was quite a sight!

Ring-Tailed Lemurs

White-Handed Gibbon
Other highlights at the zoo included the adorable fennec fox, the gharials with their menacing teeth, the gigantic Galapagos tortoise, the large Komodo dragon, and the intriguing black tegu.

Fennec Fox

Galapagos Tortoise

Komodo Dragon

Black Tegu
We also enjoyed seeing Hawaii's state bird, the Nene, in the Kipuka Nene Sanctuary.  It's an endangered species and also one of the world's rarest geese.

In addition to animals, the Honolulu Zoo is also home to numerous plants that can be found throughout the grounds, such as the Molokai White Hibiscus and the Shell Ginger.
Molokai White Hibiscus

Shell Ginger

My kids had a blast in the Keiki Zoo, where they could crawl through tunnels, pet goats, and learn all about farm animals through interactive exhibits.
Keiko Zoo
There's also a fun playground for kids to release some energy.
On-site is Kapahulu Market, where you can get burgers, pizzas, and more.  You can also get snacks at Dippin' Dots and the Arusha Town Watering Hole.  Outside food and drink (and even coolers) are allowed.

Our Experience Visiting with a Special-Needs Child
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

Immediately upon entering we made sure to let my son hold the zoo map since he loves maps.  He was very eager to walk around and view all of the animals, however he did have a tendency to wander ahead of us and veer off onto different paths because he loves to walk so much.  In order to keep him from wandering off we tried to get him to focus on reading signs or looking for certain animals.

He was very excited to see the zebra, his favorite animal, and he also loved the tunnels he could crawl through in the Keiki Zoo.

Although there were a lot of people at the zoo, the crowds were not too overwhelming, and if he did become anxious, there were a lot of benches around where my son could take rest breaks.

In addition to the playground, there are large grassy areas for kids to play and release some energy.

Fortunately the weather was absolutely gorgeous the day we visited, but if it had rained, there are some sheltered areas where we could've gone under if needed (my son has sensory issues with rain).

Outside food is allowed, which is especially helpful for those on a GFCF diet.

My son had a great time at the zoo.  The wide open spaces, numerous paths, and the variety of exhibits made for an enjoyable visit!

Final Thoughts
The Honolulu Zoo is a great place to spend a few hours with the family.  It was easy to navigate, and although we didn't get to see some animals due to maintenance, we still were able to see so many amazing animals.

The zoo is continually going through improvements that will benefit both the animals and the visitors.  The Kipuka Nene Sanctuary, the Keiko Zoo, and the African Savanna are just a few of the new areas that have been built over the years - areas that didn't exist when I visited as a kid, but are now such integral parts of the zoo.

The Honolulu Zoo will only get better and better, and it will always be a wonderful place for families to visit.

Honolulu Zoo
151 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, HI  96816

Click here for hours, admission prices, and parking information.  Kama`aina and US Military rates available.
Thank you to the Honolulu Zoo for hosting our visit.

1 comment:

  1. I love the way they do the savanna area. It's so nice that you can bring your own food in too. That helps with the budget!


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