Waikiki Aquarium, where “There’s Magic in the Water”

Did you know that the Waikiki Aquarium was founded in 1904 and is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States? (The first is the National Aquarium originally built in Massachusetts that relocated to Washington, D.C., the second is the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.) The Waikiki Aquarium has been part of the University of Hawaii system since 1919. It is located on the shoreline of Waikiki built beside a living coral reef overlooking Diamond Head. It is home to over 2,500 marine creatures that live in Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. Over 350,000 people visit this wonderful attraction each year. You can see reef sharks, sea dragons, the Hawaiian monk seal, living corals, sea jellies, the very rare chambered nautilus and our colorful native fishes.

So why visit the Waikiki Aquarium? There are so many reasons to, let me explain. There is so much to see and learn for a minimal admission charge ($9 for adults, discounts for seniors, children, military and Hawaii residents.) There is great value to this Hawaii attraction and it's a great way to spend a few hours with friends and family. It is easy to walk to this quiet part of Waikiki from the hotels. There is also free parking for Hawaii residents. The admission includes a self-guided audio tour. There is a wonderful gift shop full of items related to our ocean.

Many of my articles are related in some way to preserving the natural resources of Hawaii and understanding the importance of our culture. Well, this article is no different. The Waikiki Aquarium is designated a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center of the Coastal America Partnership Federal Program. This means that the facility is committed to the preservation of our marine creatures. Their mission is “to inspire and promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life.”

I was fortunate enough to be invited by my friend Brian Okamura, a volunteer for the past eleven years. Friday mornings are usually scheduled with visits from the various schools in Hawaii. And each grade level is assigned a specific theme. The day that I visited was for the 4th graders of St. Anne’s, their theme being “Hawaii and the Sea,” and 5th graders from Punahou, their theme being “the Coral Reef Food Web.” There are over 200 volunteers who come out to take the students on a 45 minute guided tour. I learned so much by listening to Brian. He really connects with the students and makes the lecture very fun and interesting. I believe he truly loves the ocean and he is a big kid in a man’s body.


Brian with Punahou 5th graders

The Waikiki Aquarium also conducts various classes and activities such as Exploring the Reef at Night, Ocean Art! Holiday-Themed Ocean Crafts, Aquarium After Dark and for the little ones, Marine Munchies, Small Fry and Afterschool at the Aquarium. There is also an oceanside stage and lawn area for special events and functions. As a matter of fact they will be having their Annual Valentine”s Day “Seaduction” Dinner celebration in February 2010. What a creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart!

Please enjoy the pictures that I took and if you haven’t been there ever or if you haven’t been there for a while, hele on down and have a joyful time!

Corals are Alive

Giant Clam

Beautiful fish

I found Nemo!

Chambered Nautilus

Smart Octopus



Can you find the flounder?

Moon Jellyfish


Hunters of the Reef


Hawaiian Fishpond

Puffer fish


Spiny Lobster

Sea Dragon

The Edge of the Reef

Clam Farm

Moi Cultivation

Oceanside stage and lawn

Honolulu Festival

Waikiki Aquarium

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