The Waikiki Aquarium, located in Kapiolani Park on Kalakua Avenue, is within walking distance of most of the Waikiki hotels. While the Waikiki Aquarium is not terribly large or luxurious, it is a good place to see some unique tropical fish without your snorkel or scuba gear.
Admission is inexpensive, $7 for adults, half that for teenagers 13 to 17, and children 12 and under enter for free. If you’re a local, admission is discounted, so bring your driver’s license or other kama’aina identification. Don’t plan on spending much time at the Waikiki Aquarium – an hour should be more than enough.
Here’s a preview of what you’ll see:
Once you enter and pay admission, you’ll be handed an audio wand that will serve as your virtual tour guide throughout your visit to the aquarium. Press the right buttons and the woman in the wand will provide you with a description of what you’re viewing, along with some interesting facts.
You’ll view living Coral of brilliant colors shaped like lettuce leaf, rosettes, and solid stones. Angelfish, Butterfly fish, and Pufferfish all swimming in the protection of the Sea Anemone’s stinging tentacles.
Along with Blue Devils, Cardinal fish, and Lemonpeels, you’ll see fish named for their looks such as the Convict Surgeonfish, Blotched Foxface Rabbitfish, and Flame Angelfish, all dipping in and out of Giant Clams and Coral.
Then, you’ll make your way over to the medium-sized fish like the Bearded Armorhead and the Barracuda. Starfish and Sea Stars lie dormant. You’ll want to snap a photograph of the Turkeyfish, the Sea Dragon, the Stingray, and the Red Piranha.
A larger tank that extends from floor to ceiling holds some huge swimmers like the Zebra Shark, the Blacktop Reef Shark, the Red Snapper, and the hideous Threadfin Jack.
Afterwards, you’ll make your way outside to visit the playful Seals and Sea Lions, spinning and twirling from end to end in their tanks.
If you’ve been to larger, more extravagant aquariums on the mainland, such as the Living Seas exhibit at EPCOT Center in Disney World, you may be disappointed. The Waikiki Aquarium is nothing like that. Although there are no giant tanks with scuba divers feeding and playing with the fish, the Waikiki Aquarium is friendly and air conditioned, if you just need an hour to hide from the hot Hawaiian sun. The Waikiki Aquarium, along with the Honolulu Zoo, makes for a very pleasant afternoon, especially if you have young children. Set aside only a few hours for both. These attractions are nearby and inexpensive. A great addition to one of your days spent relaxing on the beach.