The Honolulu Zoo, at the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Boulevard in Waikiki, is a welcome respite from the “zoo” out on the street. Away from the concrete and crowds, this is a place inhabited by 1,230 mammals, birds and reptiles squawking and bellowing in as many tongues.
There is an excellent keiki (children’s) zoo. The small kids zoo features tunnels for little ones to crawl through and various furry friends to pet. Another attraction are the island orangutan couple, Rusti, and his new mate, Violet, a San Diego Zoo transplant who has made herself right at home thanks to Rusti’s gracious reception.
Many of the animals in this 42-acre zoo are housed in open-air enclosures. In the 12-acre Kabuni Reserve, which resembles the natural habitat of an African savanna, animals roam freely behind disguised barriers. Look for Hippopotamus, Sacred Ibis, Spotted Hyena, Greater Kudu, Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Aardwolf, Cheetah, lions, Rhinoceros (both white and black) and Nile Crocodile.
The zoo, which is visited by 750,000 people a year, spotlights Hawaii’s native forest birds and the Nene goose, which is Hawaii’s state bird. Check out the Komodo dragons and the golden lion tamarin monkies. Hint: The zoo’s website is a wealth of information about animals.
The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s within walking distance of Waikiki. Parking, which costs one dollar per hour, is limited. Adult admission (13 years or older) is $19. Children accompanied by an adult will be admitted for $11, and children,2 years old or younger, are admitted free.
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