honolulu zoo private tour

Honolulu Zoo

  • November 16, 2022
  • Eliska Kopalova

Do you think each zoo is the same, and don’t want to waste your vacation time watching something you’ve already seen in your home country? Let us prove to you why you should take the time to visit the Honolulu Zoo! In addition to being a favorite activity for your kids (which makes it a perfect family-friendly experience ), the Honolulu Zoo is also one of a kind.

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Basic information about Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo you will find in Queen Kapiolani Park on 42 acres. It is the only zoo in the United States that was founded on a grant from the monarch. The royal land made available King Kalakaua in 1876. Since the beginning, it was used as a place for the king’s personal collection of exotic birds and horses. By then it got bigger and now it is home to 905 species of animals from various tropical ecosystems.

Location: 151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

General Admission: $19 adults / $11 children under 12

Parking fee: $1.50 an hour

Open daily: 10am – 3pm

Honolulu zoo

Why you should visit

Spending a day at the Honolulu Zoo is the perfect family adventure . If your kids find sunbathing on the beach all day boring, take a walk to see the tropical animals. It takes about 2-3 hours to fully experience the zoo. Besides zebras, monkeys, elephants and hippos, you’ll also find the world’s heaviest living lizards, Komodo dragons. That’s why more than 600,000 people visit the Honolulu Zoo every year, and the reviews on yelp are very positive.

honolulu zoo private tour

More from animal world in Hawaii

Also, visit the Waikiki Aquarium to see underwater animals up close. Or if you’re more adventurous, you can get up close and personal with the animals. In Hawaii, you can go horseback riding in the wild or take one of the tours. Including whale watching , dolphin experiences or snorkeling with sea turtles . For reservations and more information, call +1 (808) 400-4481 or discuss in our Facebook group . Hawaii is a land of breathtaking views and raw nature for this reason you can experience firsthand in the wild.

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Twilight Tours

Photo of Twilight Tours - Honolulu, HI, US.

Review Highlights

Makiki B.

“ Takio did a really good job highlighting the animals on the tour and some of the history of the Honolulu Zoo. ” in 31 reviews

Juan V.

“ The great Connor our tour guide gave us an informative tour about the mammals and reptiles of the Honolulu Zoo . ” in 13 reviews

Alan V.

“ Our docent, Spencer , was passionate about sharing with our group the fascinating and interesting facts about them. ” in 9 reviews

Location & Hours

Suggest an edit

Map

151 Kapahulu Ave

The Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu, HI 96815

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Amenities and More

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About the Business

Ever wonder what the Zoo is like once the visitors leave and the gates close? Just as everyone else leaves the Zoo, you will be guided by educators on a two hour walking tour to learn about and visit with the Zoo's most intriguing animals. Watch some of our animals prepare to sleep, while others are just waking up. Learn about the animals' biology and behavior, and the role that the Zoo plays in conservation of our endangered species. …

Ask the Community

Ask a question

How much are the tickets for this tour and can it be only four people?

Ticket prices can be found on the Zoo's website. Participants are divided into groups of about 20.

Recommended Reviews

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Overall rating

Photo of Sinaitakala T.

Mosquitoes galore.. a lot of walking, so dont forget your water bottle. Tour guide was very informative, not as crowded compared to when the zoo is open... Petting zoo, playground, stores are closed, but they could make more money if these things were open. On the website they offer lemonade and snacks and that didnt happen.. The great thing about this tour is you know more information about these animals, the downfall is that your not free to roam.. but it's for your safety. I never heard of zoo twilight hours til' I went searching for tickets. i do recommend to attend it, you'd be surprised at what animals come out and sounds they make just because it's later in the evening.

Tortoises resting.

Tortoises resting.

Photo of KJ E.

What a fun and unique way to visit the Honolulu Zoo. I remember being a little confused at first when it read that the tour ran from 5:30-7:30pm (because at this point in the summer, it wasn't quite sunset). But, Drew and Takio were excellent tour guides for our family's Twilight Tour. They were incredibly knowledgeable about the zoo inhabitants. I also appreciated getting to see zoo inhabitants active and awake at this time, such as the anteater! So cool. It was great to be in a "small" ish group of 20 or so guests so that we could easily ask the tour guides questions. Overall, it is worth it! Bring the fam.

Photo of Elisabeth N.

We did the Night Zoo tour and Spencer was our guide. She was funny and entertaining. I've never been much of a zoo person but Spencer made it so interesting. She brought the animals and the zoo alive. I was impressed with her passion for endangered animals. This was a relaxing way to spend some time in Waikiki and your fee supports the SSC. What a great tour!

Photo of Kayleen K.

Born and raised here and had no idea this was a thing. Such a different experience. Our tour guide, Spencer, was so informative. I've learned so much. Not to mention it is way cooler in the evening. Definitely looking forward to participating in more Twilight Tours.

Photo of Amber K.

A really fabulous tour. So informative and interesting, and felt very special seeing the animals without the crowds.

Photo of Holly S.

This is one of the better ways to visit the Honolulu Zoo. As the tour runs from 5:30-7:30pm, you avoid much of heat and sun that can make a day out rather draining. In addition, you, and your group of ~20 guests, get a tour guide knowledgeable about some of the more popular habitats. The only drawbacks were that I was hoping to learn more about the nocturnal habits of some of the animals, or perhaps get a behind the scenes look at the animals and their habitats. Regardless, I found the event enjoyable and a nice way to spend the evening.

honolulu zoo private tour

We heard about the tour re-opening a couple weeks ago and bought tickets for my daughters birthday party. As soon members, it was a reduced admission price, but even if we paid full price it would have been completely worth it given everything we saw tonight. Our hope was to see some animals that we wouldn't normally see during the morning and afternoon hours. We weren't disappointed and in addition to seeing more animals active in their enclosures, we had a guided tour by Takio, really friendly and knowledgeable local guy. Far and aware our best zoo experience yet and we've been going for 20 years. The tour was well organized and each tour guide had probably no more than 10 people per guide. Takio told the story of each animal, how long it had been at the zoo and how they were acquired. A big part of the tour was about the conservation efforts around each animal and contributing factors to their population declines. This is a great way to see the zoo! Highly recommended and worth it. We booked 2 weeks in advance, so I'm not sure how far ahead you may need to book given they probably had 40-50 attendees tonight.

Black Rhinos

Black Rhinos

Cheetahs roaming

Cheetahs roaming

Photo of Alan V.

Excellent tour to learn about amazing creatures! Our docent, Spencer, was passionate about sharing with our group the fascinating and interesting facts about them. The pre-tour reminder email provided good information -- and, yes, highly recommend bringing a water bottle just in case . . . mahalo Honolulu Zoo for offering a great program for families to learn, appreciate and enjoy!

Photo of Monique W.

My family decided to book a Twilight Tour at the Honolulu Zoo since my daughter really wanted to go to the Zoo, but we wanted to do it after the afternoon sun hours. The Twilight Tours is a small private tour of the Honolulu Zoo. It lasts about 2 hours. You can book it online at the Honolulu Zoo website. The tours run every Friday/Saturday, but the schedule does change depending on the time of the year, so make sure to check the Honolulu Zoo's website for the Twilight Tour Schedule. Honolulu Zoo is located near Waikiki Beach. If you're staying at a hotel on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Zoo is within walking distance. The meet-up entrance is at Gate 3, not the normal entrance where the Honolulu Zoo is. Honolulu Zoo has a variety of different animals such as Komodo Dragons, Giraffes, Lions, Tigers, Penguins and much more. The tour guide went through each animal, the characteristics, and living life style of each animal in the wild. It was quite informational and a memorable positive experience from the Honolulu Zoo Twilight Tour. Be prepared, this is a 2 hour tour with non-stop walking, except when you stop with the tour guide to go over each animal. Afterwards, there is a private room you are brought into where you can ask the tour guides additional questions. They provide refreshments such as lemonade and animal crackers. You are then privately led to the "gate-3" to leave the zoo. The tour was so much fun and I left with a lot more information about some of the endangered species then I ever knew before. Great tour!

honolulu zoo private tour

See all photos from Monique W. for Twilight Tours

Photo of Megan A.

Great experience and wonderful tour guides! Very welcoming and fun! I love seeing all the beautiful animals up close and personal!

8 other reviews that are not currently recommended

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honolulu zoo private tour

plan your visit

Visit the zoo.

Whether you're planning a visit for your family, birthday party, or a corporate function we’ve got special zoo experiences you’ll go wild over.

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Your support matters.

With your support so we can continue to make your zoo a place for laughing, learning and exploring for keiki, kupuna and everyone in between.

Volunteers Mandee and Ashley with giraffe

join our ʻohana

Become a member.

Mahalo for supporting the Honolulu Zoo. By becoming a member you're helping to support conservation efforts both here and around the world, enrichment for our animals, training for the Honolulu Zoo and Zoo Society staff, and so much more! Your kokua is greatly appreciated.

If you have further questions, please contact us at: [email protected] or by calling (808) 926-3191 ext. 153

Mahalo nui loa!

twilight-tours

explore the zoo after the gates close

Twilight tours.

Ever wonder what the Zoo is like once the visitors leave and the gates close? Join us Saturday evenings to find out! Just as everyone else leaves the Zoo, you will be guided by educators on a two-hour walking tour to learn about and visit with some of the Zoo’s most intriguing animals. Watch some of our animals prepare to sleep, while others are just waking up. Learn about the animals’ biology and behavior, and the role that the Zoo plays in the conservation of our endangered species.

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Say aloha to our animals, ornate horned frog.

These amphibians have squat, rounded bodies with jaws as wide as their head.

Blue Crowned Motmot

This animal can grow over a foot in length! Motmots possess a serrated beak and red eyes, with a black mask that encircles their heads.

Aldabra Tortoise

The Aldabra giant tortoise, from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world.

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Live Your Aloha - Hawaii Tours, Cruises & Activities

Honolulu Zoo: Fun For the Whole Family

Honolulu Zoo is one of the best places to visit, that promises fun and excitement for the entire family. Located in the vibrant Waikiki neighborhood , this 42-acre paradise invites people to embark on an adventure filled with exotic animals, engaging exhibits, and many family-friendly activities.

Brief History About The Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is the only zoo in the United States that was set up with grants from a real-life king or queen in royal lands. In this case, it was a sovereign monarch who made it happen. Let’s now dive into it’s history.

The history of the Honolulu Zoo is really interesting. It all started when King Kalakaua decided to give 300 acres of land to the people of Hawaii in 1877.

This area first became Kapiolani Regional Park , which was named after Kalakaua’s wife, Queen Kapiolani. The king wanted to display his rare bird collection in part of this park. Little did he know this decision would lead to the creation of the Honolulu Zoo.

About The Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo has been part of Hawaii’s story for over a hundred years. In 1914, when Ben Hollinger, the first park director, took charge as the Administrator of Parks and Recreation, he came up with a fantastic idea of collecting animals for the Hawaiian kids.

It all began with a monkey, a bear, and an African elephant. Even when times got tough during The Great Depression and money was tight, the zoo somehow pulled through and kept growing.

It wasn’t until 1947 that the Honolulu Zoo officially became what it is today. The city set aside 42.5 acres of Kapiolani Park for the zoo, and a master plan was made.

In 1984, a second plan was created to organize the zoo into three zones: the African Savanna, Asian and American Tropical Forests, and Pacific Islands. This design is what shapes the Honolulu Zoo we enjoy today.

shapes the Honolulu Zoo

By 1990, the whole look of the zoo got a makeover to make it an even more exciting place for all the lucky visitors! As the years passed, more birds were added, and three big aviary complexes were built.

The Honolulu Zoo is home to some unique animals and exhibits that keep expanding, taking you on an exciting wildlife adventure!

Animals You Can See Here

The Honolulu Zoo is home to over 905 species of animals from the tropics. Here are some– elephants, gorillas, giraffes, lions, zebras, tigers, a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and even Komodo dragons – it’s like a wildlife wonderland!

about the animals

The Honolulu Zoo boasts over a thousand animals in specially designed habitats. You can find creatures roaming the African savannah to those chilling in tropical forests and the Pacific islands. It’s a diverse mix of wildlife waiting for you to explore!

Hours Of Operation

If you plan to visit the Honolulu Zoo, the entire zoo is open every day from 10 am—the zoo’s gates close at 3 pm, and the zoo grounds shut down at 4 pm. You don’t need to make any reservations to visit the place.

What Can You Find Inside The Zoo?

For those exploring with wheels, the zoo is wheelchair accessible, with paved walkways all around. And if you or the little ones need a break, the zoo has playgrounds, cafes, and snack bars to keep everyone happy. Don’t miss the cool giant hippo and giraffe sculptures – they’re a hit with the kids!

exploring with wheels

The zoo has ample space inside, so if you want to organize a birthday party, you can easily do it here among nature and tropical animals. Try a private morning safari or twilight tours for a memorable experience if time permits.

If you can’t go to the zoo in person, you can still experience it online. Honolulu Zoo offers virtual activities such as short videos, virtual tours, and live webcams. You can also have a Zoom chat with a zookeeper to discover more about the animals.

Zoo Etiquette You Must Follow

Zoo Etiquette

When you go to the zoo, remember it’s the animals’ only home, so always keep these things in mind:

• Talk quietly • Don’t tease or throw things • Don’t climb fences • Don’t give the animals food • Stay on the paths, and don’t wander off • Don’t destroy the plants • Don’t play loud music • Don’t drink or smoke inside the premises

These are just basic etiquettes to follow. To know more about it in detail, visit their  official page .

Although it’s a small zoo, it has ample space for parking your vehicles. The zoo parking lot entrance is from Kapahulu Avenue.

Amenities

It’s metered parking with a fee of $1.50 per hour, and the maximum time allowed at once is 4 hours. The payment machines accept credit cards, bills, and coins, but please ensure you have exact change.

If you don’t want to pay, you can park your cars or scooters in the Waikiki Shell parking space on Monsarrat Avenue.

They also have discounts for locals (kamaaina) and military folks (keep your IDs handy). Service animals are openly welcome.

If you need a stroller or wheelchair, you can rent one.

How did the Honolulu Zoo originate?

King Kalakaua donated 300 acres of land in 1877 to create Kapiolani Regional Park. The zoo evolved from the king’s desire to display his rare bird collection in a section of the park.

What are the zoo’s hours of operation?

The zoo is open every day from 10 am to 3 pm.

Are there options for free parking?

Yes, visitors can park for free in the Waikiki Shell parking lot on Monsarrat Avenue.

The Honolulu Zoo is great for families to enjoy a day in Waikiki . Beyond just showcasing animals, the zoo is committed to conservation. Their sincere efforts contribute to preserving endangered species in Hawaii and globally. So, if you still haven’t planned to go here, we suggest you don’t miss out on this uniqueness!

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Elizabeth L

Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.

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honolulu zoo private tour

Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Honolulu Zoo

Are you looking for things to do in honolulu with kids keep scrolling for my top tips and tricks for visiting the honolulu zoo and why it’s a top thing to do on oahu with toddlers., this guide to visiting the honolulu zoo was co-written by hawaii travel expert marcie cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, i may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog..

Guest post by local Oahu mom Kate Tekurio

Do you have kids and are looking for a fun activity to do on Oahu?

If so, the Honolulu Zoo is a must-see! It’s one of the best things to do on Oahu with kids. The zoo is small and easy to get around, plus it has a lot of great features for toddlers and preschoolers.

Here’s your ultimate guide to getting the best experience when visiting the Hawaii zoo!

You’ll learn about all of these fun activities at this unique zoo that makes it such an amazing family vacation destination in Hawaii. Plus, you’ll find out how easy it is to get there from many Waikiki hotels.

So let’s go over everything you need to know before planning your trip! The Honolulu Zoo is one of the top things to do with kids in Oahu!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu with kids.

Best Kid-Friendly Oahu Tours/Activities

  • Kualoa Ranch UTV Tour (drive around Jurassic Valley with kids as young as 5yo)
  • Private Surf Lessons for Kids (this is the BEST way for your kids to learn how to surf in Hawaii)
  • Hawaii Bucket List Tour (this is a custom circle island tour that’s our personal favorite)
  • Toa Luau (the is the most popular luau for families)
  • CLIMB Works Ziplining (this is the top kid-friendly zipline on Oahu for families)
  • Secret Island (this is a private beach area with water toys)

Best Kid-Friendly Oahu Resorts

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village (this is our favorite Waikiki resort because of the amazing pool area and nearby restaurants)
  • Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa (this is a splurge that is totally worth it)
  • Turtle Bay Resort (this is a swanky resort with incredible kids’ programming tucked away in North Shore Oahu)

Want to Rent a Car in Hawaii? One of the best places to rent a car in Hawaii is Discount Hawaii Car Rental because they get the best rates from top national companies like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless.

Want to skip all the planning and just access my detailed Oahu Itinerary complete with daily schedules, kid-friendly activities, and travel hacks? Click the button below.

honolulu zoo private tour

Honolulu Zoo FAQs

Yes, the Honolulu Zoo is worth it! The animals are so fun to visit and explore, and your kids will love experiencing a zoo in Hawaii! It is really quite special to see penguins living in Hawaii!

Only service dogs for those with disabilities are allowed. All other dogs are not allowed at the Honolulu Zoo.

Even though it’s a fairly small zoo, they still have more than 1200 animal species. Here you can find tigers, monkeys, elephants, penguins, sloths, and much more.

honolulu zoo private tour

Where is the Zoo in Hawaii? 

The only zoo is located on Oahu in Honolulu. Because it is so close to Waikiki, some will call it the Waikiki Zoo. This is the only typical zoo in Hawaii.

All other “zoos” or places to visit animals on the other islands are different zoos such as the rainforest zoo on the Big Island and Sea Life Park also on Oahu. 

Visiting the Honolulu Zoo: What to Expect

Here is what to expect when you go to visit and explore the Honolulu Zoo. You’ll quickly see why it’s one of the best Oahu activities for families.

Learn all about parking, ticket info, what animals to expect, and lots of tips to have a super fun day with your family at the zoo! We think it’s one of the top things to do in Honolulu with toddlers and preschoolers.

You actually have to pay for parking if you park in the zoo lot; it is not added to the ticket cost. It costs $1.50 per hour to park there. It is best to pay for two to three hours, especially if there is a line to enter the zoo. 

There are places close by to the zoo where you might find free parking. There are parks with street parking that may have free parking or different stores nearby as well. The Shell parking lot on Monsarrat Avenue has free parking if you can find a spot there! 

honolulu zoo private tour

What time does the Honolulu Zoo open and close? 

The Honolulu Zoo opens at 10:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm. But you can only get tickets until 3:00 pm. You do not have to have a reservation; you are welcome to come and go as you please! 

Find out where to see animals in Hawaii. Image of flamingoes in the water at the Honolulu Zoo.

Membership vs. Day Admission

You can’t purchase your Honolulu Zoo tickets online, only at the gate. There are a few different options for tickets. 

General Admission : 

  • Adults 13 and older are $19.00
  • Children 3 to 12 years old are $11.00
  • Children 2 and under are free!

Kama‘aina / U.S. Military Admission: 

  • Adults 13 and older are $8.00
  • Children 3 to 12 years old are $4.00

The Honolulu Zoo kama’aina rate is for those who live on the island and have a valid ID to prove it. 

Memberships: 

You can also become a member of the Honolulu Zoo to get extra discounts. You can enter the zoo however many times you want, with your own membership line for an entire year. You will get discounts at the gift shop, snack bar, and other deals. 

This might not be the best option if you only plan to vacation once in Oahu for the year. Plus, when we went, the membership line was longer than the general admission line! 

Stroller Rentals 

There are stroller rentals available if you forget to bring your own! They have both double and single strollers. You will need to pay a $10 refundable deposit if you wish to rent. 

You can also rent a wheelchair if needed! 

Playground Area

In the middle of the zoo, there is a fun playground area for the kids. While children love to look at all the animals and explore, they also need to wiggle and run around to let out some of their energy. 

This playground is perfect! It has slides, swings, ropes to climb, pretty much a child’s dream. There are picnic benches and tons of shaded grass for parents to sit down on. You can even enjoy a nice picnic lunch out there too! 

Right at the entrance is the Honolulu Zoo gift shop. It has fuzzy animal toys, postcards, and other fun wildlife souvenirs. You can also find some snacks, water, and even a fan if you get too hot. 

Find out where to see zebras in Hawaii at the Honolulu Zoo. Image of a zebra eating grass in Hawaii.

What animals does the Honolulu Zoo have? 

There are over 1200 animals at the Honolulu Zoo! It is a 42-acre zoo, so there is room for plenty of fun animals for you to explore. 

All animals have signs so you can identify the real name and where they come from. Most of the animals’ habitats are also fun facts about each animal individually. There are also volunteers around some shelters who share the animals’ names and how old they are! 

There is a huge variety of animals at this zoo. That’s part of why it’s one of the most fun things to do in Oahu with kids. They have a few main sections in correlation to each part of the world: 

honolulu zoo private tour

When you first enter the zoo, there are bird habitats. You will see and hear so many exotic birds! Have some fun talking with the parrots, watching a stunning black swan swim around, and see a huge variety of birds.

You can see some pretty cute sloths here too! One sloth just had a baby back in March of 2021, and it is so cute! 

Primates of the World

This is probably the favorite part of the zoo for the kids! You will definitely hear this section way before you see it. Here you will see some very active spider monkeys, golden lion tamarins, lemurs, white-handed gibbons, siamangs, and chimpanzees! 

Check out this guide to the Honolulu Zoo with kids. Image of a girl looking at the orangutan exhibit at the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii.

These animals are so fun to watch climb everywhere as they squeal and play with one another. Then, you can see beautiful orangutans too! There are two that are kept in their own habitat behind the glass. They usually like to stay close to the glass and are friendly, so you can see them very close up! 

African Savanna

In this zoo section, you will find many of the animals you will see in traditional zoos, with a few fun exceptions. Here are some animals to explore in the African Savanna section: 

  • Elephants 
  • Penguins 
  • Hippo: The hippos are in an enclosed section where you can look and see. When we went, he was right up against the glass! 
  • Flamingos 
  • Aardvarks 
  • Giraffes: There is a fun giraffe sculpture to take pictures at too! 
  • Amongst other animals 

This was our favorite section of the zoo and where we spent the majority of our time. 

Arusha Town

The last main section of the zoo is Arusha Town. Here is where you will see a lion, along with: 

  • African Wild Dogs 
  • Meerkats 
  • Reptiles 
  • And many others

Compared to the other sections, this one was smaller and went pretty fast. A lot of these animals slept during the day, so we couldn’t see very much. 

These are just some of the fun animals to explore here, but there is so much more! Some can also see tigers and cheetahs, alligators in the swamp sections, and a huge python! 

Some animals aren’t available to see during some parts of the day. Many sleep and go where you cannot see them. But the majority are out and ready for visits! 

How long should I plan to visit the Honolulu Zoo? 

You should plan about 2-3 hours to experience the zoo fully. We got to see almost all the animals in around two hours, but we did not stop at the playground or eat any food. 

Two and a half hours will allow you to fully explore the entire zoo and get the most out of your visit. 

Check out this full guide to visiting the Honolulu Zoo with kids. Image of a mom and girl looking at the primate exhibit at the Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii.

Tips for Visiting the Honolulu Zoo 

Here are just a few tips to make the most out of your visit to the Hawaii zoo: 

  • Bring and apply sunscreen : We forgot and got a little burned during the few hours we were there! 
  • Bring bug spray : Because there is a lot of wildlife, lakes, and grassy areas, there are also a lot of bugs. Bring bug spray, so you don’t get bit by a lot of mosquitos! 
  • Bring a hat: While there is some shade, many animals are out in the open. Wear a hat to protect you and keep you cooler. 
  • Bring a fan: Make sure to bring a small portable handheld fan with you, especially if you have children. They will get hot! 
  • Bring a wagon: Strollers are great too, but we brought our foldable wagon, and it was so easy to get around everywhere! 
  • Arrive before the zoo starts : We arrived right at 10:00 am and grabbed the last parking spot. We had to wait in a long line for about 15 minutes. If you plan to go in the morning, arrive earlier, so you don’t have to wait much in line! 
  • Bring water : It gets really hot walking around in the sun, so bring plenty of water for you and your kids! 

Honolulu Zoo in Hawaii Wrap Up

The Honolulu Zoo is unlike other zoos in Hawaii. Because of its beautiful location and unique animals, be sure to plan a visit to this Hawaiian zoo during your next vacation to Oahu!

Your kids will have so much fun learning about all the animals and make for a great day out in the sun! And now you know what to do in Honolulu with kids who love animals! It’s one of the best Waikiki activities for families with young children.

Kate Tekurio lives on Oahu with her husband and toddler . They love exploring the island and sharing their best tips with other families traveling to Hawaii.

Looking for more things to do on Oahu with kids ? Find out the best Oahu luaus , guide to Pearl Harbor with kids , Sea Life Park review , kid-friendly Waikiki activities , and review of the Waikiki Atlantis Submarine .

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Honolulu Zoo

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Honolulu Zoo

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If you're looking for the perfect family-friendly activity on Oahu, something that both the kids AND the adults are sure to love, then head to the Honolulu Zoo.

The Honolulu Zoo is 42 acres in size and is home to 905 species of animals from various tropical ecosystems. 1,230 animals are featured in total, housed in uniquely-designed habitats. 

The mission of the Zoo is to ‘ inspire the stewardship of our living world by providing meaningful experiences to our guests. ’

History of the Zoo

Located in  Kapiolani Park  on the southeast end of  Waikiki Beach , the site originally consisted of marshland and lagoons, and in earlier times it served the purpose of an  ahupua’a . This was a section of royal land contained within the watershed, encompassing the land between mountains and sea. The ahupua’a contained all of the resources that the community required: fertile land for farming taro, trees like koa for many purposes, as well as fish in the lagoons. 

In 1877, the marshes and lagoons were drained by the order of King Kalakaua, who wished to establish a grand park near the slopes of  Diamond Head . He beautified the area in order to house his personal collection of rare and exotic birds, and the park was named Queen Kapiolani Park in honor of his wife.

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The Honolulu Zoo is the perfect family-friendly activity

The Honolulu Zoo is the perfect family-friendly activity

In 1914, Ben Hollinger, the Administrator of Parks and Recreation, began collecting and showcasing animals in the park; including a bear, a monkey, and some lion cubs. An African elephant soon joined the crew and with that acquisition, Honolulu officially had a zoo. 

During the Great Depression, the Zoo was almost shut down but managed to continue operations despite financial difficulty and even began to expand the collection of animals.

The Zoo in Present Day

Today, the Zoo is home to numerous endangered species including nene, black rhino, Sumatran tiger, and the komodo dragon, among many others. There is a host of African animals as well as turtles, parrots, and even kookaburras. There is also an Animal Health Center, which provides excellent medical care for the animals.  

The Zoo also features a variety of plants that are native to Hawaii and that have a history of cultural importance to the Polynesian people. Some of these include fragrant hibiscus, hala, kou, lehua and a’ali’i. The Kou plant has valuable dye, wood, medicinal, and lei-making uses, and the tough and durable leaves of hala make for fine woven items that last for years.

Enjoy a day at the Honolulu Zoo

Enjoy a day at the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo's Objective and Conservation Efforts

The educational objective of the Honolulu Zoo is ‘to create a global and Hawaii-based environmental awareness which leads residents and vacationers to feel responsible for the well-being of this very special place that is the Hawaiian Islands.’ The message of conservation is loud and clear as the zoo offers many educational programs and funds restoration projects with nature preservation as the focus. These programs include “Zoo to You” Outreach, which is a free-of-charge public service to help educate people about Malama I Ka ‘Aina (respect the land), by informing them about and providing solutions to the problem of invasive species. There is also an Orangutan Outreach Program, which aims to promote awareness for orangutans globally.  Currently, there is a 20,000-acre reforestation project in Borneo to support local communities and an orangutan rehabilitation center.

Planning for the Experience and Parking

The Honolulu Zoo is larger than it appears from the exterior, and well-kept on the inside. Upon entering, you will be greeted by a group of stunning pink flamingos. There is a lot to see, so plan for at least a few hours and take a packed lunch or you may purchase food at the zoo.

Parking can be difficult to find so allow extra time for that. It is an easy walk from Waikiki, so parking in the surrounding streets can be an option. The zoo gets extremely hot in the middle of the day, so pack appropriate sun protection. The park is beautifully landscaped and there are plenty of shaded areas to stop and rest for a picnic or a cool drink. There are sizeable grassy playground areas for kids to run around in.

Entrance to your adventure at the Honolulu Zoo

Entrance to your adventure at the Honolulu Zoo

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Oʻahu: All about visiting the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is the wildest place in Waikīkī. Situated in the shadow of Diamond Head crater at the corner of Kapahulu and Kalākaua Avenues, the zoo was stablished in 1877. In fact, it is the only zoo in the United States that originated in a King’s grant of royal lands to his people.

History of the Honolulu Zoo

In 1876, King David Kalākaua, Monarch of Hawai‘i, made lands of the Leahi Crown Holdings available to the people of Hawai‘i. One a year later, King Kalākaua dedicated Kapiolani Regional Park, named for his consort Queen Kapiolani. He also appointed a park association to oversee the 300-acre parcel of fishponds, lagoons, marshlands, and islands. With the help of royal subsidies, the park was developed to display the King’s private bird collection and to feature a horseracing track.

In 1914, the City of Honolulu assumed responsibility for the park. The first Park Director, Ben Hollinger began adding animals to the bird collection. Kapiolani Bird Park grew to include three large aviary complexes and established techniques for breeding and bird care.

In 1947, 42.5 acres within Kapiolani Regional Park were designated as the Honolulu Zoo. the original design arranged animals in taxonomic groupings of bird, reptile, and mammal exhibits.

In 1984, a Tropical Zoological Garden plan re-organized zoo exhibits into tropical ecological zones. Management and staff at the zoo is committed to making the Honolulu Zoo a place of refuge and wonder for residents and visitors alike.

Honolulu Zoo entrance sign

Honolulu Zoo entrance sign – Depositphotos.com

About the Honolulu Zoo

The mission of the Honolulu Zoo is to inspire stewardship of our living world by providing conservation, education, and meaningful experiences to our community.

The 42-acre zoo exhibits are organized into tropical ecological zones: the African Savanna, Asian and American Tropical Forests, and Pacific Islands. The Zoo emphasizes Pacific Tropical ecosystems and Hawaiian values of malama (caring) and ho`okipa (hospitality).

The Honolulu Zoo is home to over 900 different animals. The collection includes mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. You’ll see lions and tigers (but no bears, oh my), elephants, aardvarks, orangutans, monkeys, and more. There are tortoises and turtles and skinks, too. Plus a variety of frogs, snakes, and tropical birds. Many endangered species are represented, including Komodo dragon (world’s largest lizard at 10-feet), the African wild dog, Palm Cockatoo, and several more.

Sumatran tiger eyes

Sumatran tiger eyes – stock photo via Depositphotos.com

Visiting the Honolulu Zoo

While visiting the animals, use quiet voices. Be sure to point out something that doesn’t look right to a staff member. The Zoo is the animals’ home, please respect their space. Do not tap on glass or throw things into the exhibits. Definitely do not feed, scream, clap, howl, harass, annoy, torment, pester, badger, heckle, irk, bother, or tease the animals in any way. Mahalo!

  • Address: Honolulu Zoo, 151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815.
  • Hours: Daily 10AM-6PM. Closed Christmas Day.
  • Parking: Entrance is on Kapahulu Avenue and charges $1.50 per hour (4-hour max) cash or card at machines. Waikiki Shell parking lot across the street on Monsarrat Avenue has free parking.
  • General admission: $19/adult (age 13+), $11/keiki (age 3-12). Children 2 and under are free. Kama‘āina /Military: $8. 

Discount admission to Honolulu Zoo

  • Membership: begins at $50 for two persons (2 adults or 1 adult + 1 child) for one year, plus a newsletter and discount in the café and gift shop. Kamaʻāina admission is $8/adult, $4/keiki. So, a membership pays for itself after 4-5 visits. 
  • Volunteers age 18+ are welcome at the Honolulu Zoo. It is a great way to learn about animals and gain valuable experience, support conservation initiatives, meet new people, and work outdoors in a lush tropical environment. Benefits include: professional training, discounts (gift shop, snack bar, membership), special appreciation events, and more. 

Website for more info: Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo special events

Honolulu Zoo giraffes and zebras

Honolulu Zoo giraffes and zebras – Depositphotos.com

Twilight Tours: see the Zoo After Hours

Ever wonder what the Zoo is like once the visitors leave and the gates close? During these special tours, you are guided by educators on a walking tour. Some of the animals are preparing to sleep, while others are just waking up. Learn about the animals’ biology and behavior, and the role that the Zoo plays in the conservation of endangered species. Twilight Tours occur rain or shine (so, no refunds and dress for sunny/rainy weather). The tour is 2-hours, so wear comfortable shoes.

  • When: Saturdays in April – September 5:30-7:30pm and October – March 4:30-6:30pm. 
  • Admission: Regular/kamaʻāina adult $30/$25, child (3-13) $25/$20, age 2 and under are FREE.
  • Discount admission: Zoo members get $10 discount off regular prices.

More info: Tours Honolulu Zoo

Wildest Show summer concert series

Summer is wilder at the Honolulu Zoo Society’s annual Wildest Show summer concert series. These after-hours concert features live local entertainment from Na Hoku award-winning musical artists and popular Hawaiʻi performers live on the Zoo’s Great Lawn. Sit back with your family and friends to enjoy music, pre-concert family activities, and more while helping raise funds to support Zoo projects.

2023 Wildest Show concert series

Come early to enjoy the pre-show activities. Food and beverage will be available for purchase. 

  • When: Wednesday evenings, June 14 to July 26, 2023 (except for July 5) from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. 
  • Where: On the Great Lawn inside Honolulu Zoo.
  • Admission: $15/adult (age 13+), $5/keiki (ages 3-12), free for age 2 and under.
  • Zoo Member Admission: $10/adult.

More info: Wildest Show 2023 – Honolulu Zoo Society

Calendar of events

Listed below are upcoming events at attractions and museums across the Hawaiian Islands.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Oʻahu: aloha wear exhibit at homa.

10:00 am | $20.00 | Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814

Oʻahu: Watershed exhibit ʻAuʻa asserts Kānaka ʻŌiwi at HoMA

10:00 am to 5:00 pm | $20.00 | Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814

O'ahu: 2nd Friday Pau Hana at Bishop Museum

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm | $10.00-15.00 | Bishop Museum (Oʻahu)

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sunday, april 14, 2024, kauaʻi: tour buddhist shrines 2nd & 4th sunday in kalaheo.

FREE | Lawai International Center (GPS address only), 3381 Wawae Road, Kalaheo, HI 96741

Monday, April 15, 2024

Hawai'i: guided nature walk through the rain forest.

9:30 pm to 10:30 pm | FREE | Volcano Art Center, 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, Volcano, HI 96785

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Thursday, april 18, 2024, oʻahu: film explores john sargent's controversial fashion paintings at homa.

$15.00 | Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814

Oʻahu: FREE Kamaʻāina admission to Waimea Valley every Thursday in Haleʻiwa

12:00 pm to 3:00 pm | FREE | Oʻahu: Waimea Valley (Haleʻiwa)

Friday, April 19, 2024

Oʻahu: wayfinder planetarium adventure at bishop museum.

10:30 am to 2:30 pm | $60.00 | Bishop Museum (Oʻahu)

O'ahu: 3rd Friday "Tempo" art & music at Capitol Modern (aka HiSAM)

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm | FREE | O’ahu: Capitol Modern ( aka HiSAM )

Oʻahu: free 3rd Friday live performances at Capitol Modern

Oʻahu: total eclipse of the sun program at bishop.

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm | $10.00 | Bishop Museum (Oʻahu)

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Free entrance day in hawaii national parks (national park week).

FREE | multiple locations

Oʻahu: 2024 Science & Sustainability Festival at Bishop

9:00 am to 3:00 pm | $5.00-28.95 | Bishop Museum (Oʻahu)

Oʻahu: 3rd Sunday family day free kama‘āina admission to HoMA

10:00 am to 6:00 pm | FREE | Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA), 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Monday, april 22, 2024, wednesday, april 24, 2024, thursday, april 25, 2024, friday, april 26, 2024, saturday, april 27, 2024, sunday, april 28, 2024, monday, april 29, 2024, wednesday, may 1, 2024, thursday, may 2, 2024, friday, may 3, 2024, big isle: 1st friday tour of the rugged forest preserve in waikoloa.

Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve, Quarry Rd, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738

O'ahu: 1st Friday free, family-friendly art & music at Capitol Modern (aka HiSAM)

Saturday, may 4, 2024, sunday, may 5, 2024, monday, may 6, 2024, wednesday, may 8, 2024, thursday, may 9, 2024, friday, may 10, 2024, saturday, may 11, 2024, sunday, may 12, 2024, monday, may 13, 2024, wednesday, may 15, 2024, thursday, may 16, 2024, friday, may 17, 2024, saturday, may 18, 2024, sunday, may 19, 2024, monday, may 20, 2024, wednesday, may 22, 2024, thursday, may 23, 2024, friday, may 24, 2024, saturday, may 25, 2024, sunday, may 26, 2024, monday, may 27, 2024, wednesday, may 29, 2024, thursday, may 30, 2024, friday, may 31, 2024, saturday, june 1, 2024, sunday, june 2, 2024, monday, june 3, 2024, wednesday, june 5, 2024, thursday, june 6, 2024, friday, june 7, 2024, saturday, june 8, 2024, sunday, june 9, 2024, monday, june 10, 2024, wednesday, june 12, 2024, thursday, june 13, 2024, friday, june 14, 2024, saturday, june 15, 2024, sunday, june 16, 2024, monday, june 17, 2024, wednesday, june 19, 2024, free entrance day in hawaii national parks (juneteenth), thursday, june 20, 2024, friday, june 21, 2024, saturday, june 22, 2024, sunday, june 23, 2024, monday, june 24, 2024, wednesday, june 26, 2024, thursday, june 27, 2024, friday, june 28, 2024, saturday, june 29, 2024, sunday, june 30, 2024, monday, july 1, 2024, wednesday, july 3, 2024, thursday, july 4, 2024, friday, july 5, 2024, saturday, july 6, 2024, sunday, july 7, 2024, monday, july 8, 2024, wednesday, july 10, 2024, honolulu zoo (151 kapahulu ave).

151 Kapahulu Ave Honolulu , HI 96815

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Honolulu Zoo Information and Fun Facts

honolulu zoo private tour

There are many attractions one can check out when they visit Honolulu. One that is definitely worthy of consideration is the Honolulu Zoo, which is a very popular attraction. Let’s explore some information about the Honolulu Zoo! You will learn about the history, the attractions, and some general information you need to know before you visit.

Facts About the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo covers 42 acres, and is located in Honolulu Hawaii. The zoo is contained within the Queen Kapi ‘olani Park. It was officially opened in 1877, and was called the Queen Kapiolani Park. It didn’t officially become the Honolulu Zoo until 1947. The park was first opened to display King David Kalakaua’s bird collection, and also a horse racing track. It is the only zoo in the USA that was established by sovereign Monarch grants.

The city of Honolulu took responsibility for the zoo in 1914, which is when Ben Hollinger, the park director, started to collect new animals to display. Some of the first animals he collected were a bear, monkey, and an African elephant. The zoo now has over 1,230 animals in custom designed habitats. The zoo regularly sees over 600,000 people each year. Wow!

During the Great Depression, the Honolulu zoo faced financial struggles and was nearly shutdown due to lack of finances. Despite these financial hurdles, the zoo still decided to press on and expand on the amount of animals they acquired. Some of the animals they acquired during this period are a camel, several birds, an elephant, a tortoise, and spider monkeys.

In 1974, the Honolulu Zoo decided to revive their zoo when they accepted donations of a chimpanzee, a dear, an elephant, and a camel. The new designs of the zoo were largely influenced by the San Diego Zoo exhibits. The zoo was also able to get their master plan approved by the city and county of Honolulu, which determined the boundaries of the Honolulu Zoo. In the 1990s the zoo experienced another boost of enthusiasm when they redesigned their exhibits to display a more natural setting for all the animals they have on hand. The new exhibits were organized into zones, such as the American and Asian Tropical Forest, the African Savanna, and the Pacific Islands.

Admission Details

Honolulu Zoo is open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. They are open every day of the calendar year, except for Christmas. The general admission for children ages 3 to 12 is $6.00, and anyone over the age of 12 will be $14 for admission. The zoo also has special military discounts and admission price for children 3 to 12 years is $4 and $8 for anyone over 12 years old.

The Honolulu Zoo is not massive, but they do have have quality exhibits that rival other larger zoos. This makes for a very exciting and fulfilling experience. You’ll be able to view over 1,230 animals and experience the tropical zones of their new exhibits. You can learn more about the Honolulu Zoo by visiting their website!

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  5. Honolulu Zoo

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  6. Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Honolulu Zoo (2023)

    honolulu zoo private tour

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  1. Tours Honolulu Zoo

    Come visit the Honolulu Zoo! We are located between the slopes of Diamond Head and Waikiki at the corner of Kapahulu Avenue and Kalakaua Avenue. ... Visit Honolulu Zoo; Tours; Guest Services; Zoo Map; Plan Your Event; Group Field Trips; Membership. Become a Member; Membership Gift Certificates; Renew Your Membership; Education. Zoo to You ...

  2. Honolulu Zoo

    The Honolulu Zoo you will find in Queen Kapiolani Park on 42 acres. It is the only zoo in the United States that was founded on a grant from the monarch. ... DanielsHawaii provides Private Tours and Semi-Private Small Group Tours in Hawaii. Our experienced Tourguides will show you the REAL Hawaii. NaVIGATION. Tours by Island ; Hawaii Private Tours;

  3. Twilight Tours

    The Twilight Tours is a small private tour of the Honolulu Zoo. It lasts about 2 hours. You can book it online at the Honolulu Zoo website. The tours run every Friday/Saturday, but the schedule does change depending on the time of the year, so make sure to check the Honolulu Zoo's website for the Twilight Tour Schedule.

  4. Honolulu Zoo, Oahu

    Honolulu Zoo Tours and Tickets. 336 reviews. The shriek of the Honolulu Zoo's population of endangered white-handed gibbons is a familiar morning sound to Waikiki's regular surfing contingent. The sprawling 42-acre (17-hectare) zoo, located in Kapiolani Park, near Waikiki Beach, is home to more than 900 species, including many animals (and ...

  5. We Tried It: Twilight Tours at the Honolulu Zoo

    Twilight Tours at the Honolulu Zoo. Hours: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night starting May 22, 2021. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday October through March. Kama'āina ...

  6. Honolulu Zoo: Hawaii Indigenous Species

    Your kokua is greatly appreciated. If you have further questions, please contact us at: [email protected] or by calling (808) 926-3191 ext. 153. Mahalo nui loa! Become A Member. Membership Gift Certificate. Renew Your Membership.

  7. Honolulu Zoo: Fun For the Whole Family

    Try a private morning safari or twilight tours for a memorable experience if time permits. If you can't go to the zoo in person, you can still experience it online. Honolulu Zoo offers virtual activities such as short videos, virtual tours, and live webcams. You can also have a Zoom chat with a zookeeper to discover more about the animals.

  8. Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Honolulu Zoo

    Tips for Visiting the Honolulu Zoo. Here are just a few tips to make the most out of your visit to the Hawaii zoo: Bring and apply sunscreen: We forgot and got a little burned during the few hours we were there! Bring bug spray: Because there is a lot of wildlife, lakes, and grassy areas, there are also a lot of bugs.

  9. Honolulu Zoo Information, Photos & More

    The Honolulu Zoo is 42 acres in size and is home to 905 species of animals from various tropical ecosystems. 1,230 animals are featured in total, housed in uniquely-designed habitats. ... Our Oahu Tour Recommendations. Oahu is the perfect place for a Hawaiian vacation. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie looking for a thrill, a history buff ...

  10. Oʻahu: All about visiting the Honolulu Zoo

    More info: Tours Honolulu Zoo. Wildest Show summer concert series. Summer is wilder at the Honolulu Zoo Society's annual Wildest Show summer concert series. These after-hours concert features live local entertainment from Na Hoku award-winning musical artists and popular Hawaiʻi performers live on the Zoo's Great Lawn.

  11. Our Family Guide: Twilight Tours at the Honolulu Zoo

    Twilight Tours at the Honolulu Zoo. 151 Kapahulu Ave. honoluluzoo.org. (808) 926-3191. Hours: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Saturday from October through March. And 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Saturday from ...

  12. Honolulu Zoo

    Closed now. 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. Write a review. About. From pink flamingos to African giraffes, the Honolulu Zoo is home to a little bit of everything from the animal kingdom. Its animal population includes more than 64 reptile, 38 mammal and 160 bird species. The 42-acre facility is organized into three tropical ecological zones: Tropical ...

  13. Oahu Private Full-Day Tour Around the Island 2023

    From. $177.00. Full-Day Oahu Island Small-Group Tour. 79. 6 hours 30 minutes Free Cancellation. From. $139.00. Full-Day Private Pearl Harbor and North Shore tours up to 6 (Se habla Español) 5.

  14. Honolulu Zoo

    From pink flamingos to African giraffes, the Honolulu Zoo is home to a little bit of everything from the animal kingdom. Its animal population includes more than 64 reptile, 38 mammal and 160 bird species. ... and vegan cooking class Victoria Bites & Sights All-Inclusive Minneapolis Craft Brewery Tour Tour at Villa La Ripa Kochi Private Tour: ...

  15. Oahu Private Island CIrcle Tour 2023

    Oahu Circle Island Tour with Byodo-In Temple Admission. 94. from $129.00. Honolulu, Oahu. Private Circle Island Tour With Beaches and Local Food. 133. from $223.95. Price varies by group size. Honolulu, Oahu.

  16. THE 10 BEST Honolulu Private Tours (Updated 2024)

    The HALF DAY ISLAND TOUR is a 4 hour Half Day Sightseeing Adventure that takes you to some of Oahu's most popular landmarks…. Free cancellation. from. $190. per adult. 6. Custom Island Tour - for 4 to 5 people - up to 8 hours - Private tour of Oahu. 109. Full-day Tours.

  17. Oahu Circle Island Private Family Tour with Wi-Fi 2024

    Private luxury Dole, Northshore, Waikiki Oahu tour. 8. from $239.00. Oahu, Hawaii. GPS Driving Tour From Pearl Harbor through Historic Honolulu. from $14.99. Per group. Honolulu, Oahu. Real Hawaii Circle Island Tour.

  18. Honolulu Zoo Information and Fun Facts

    The Honolulu Zoo covers 42 acres, and is located in Honolulu Hawaii. The zoo is contained within the Queen Kapi 'olani Park. It was officially opened in 1877, and was called the Queen Kapiolani Park. It didn't officially become the Honolulu Zoo until 1947. The park was first opened to display King David Kalakaua's bird collection, and ...