Located next to Diamond Head State Monument, the Honolulu Zoo is one of the top tourist attractions on Oahu. Home to over 900 different types of tropical animals, the Honolulu Zoo was previously known as Queen Kapiolani Park, and prior to its opening in 1877 was mostly lagoons and ponds. The once unpromising land was then developed to display the King’s bird collection, and a horse racing track! When the city of Honolulu took control of the park in 1914 they appointed the parks first Director, Ben Hollinger, and he began collecting animals, starting with a monkey, a bear and an African elephant. Fast forward 20 years and the bird collection had gained such a world-wide reputation that the park decided to add three large aviaries. In 1947 the Honolulu Zoo was created, a 42.5 acre designation within Kapiolani Park. The park itself has been evolving since its opening, growing to add more staff and animals. Ken Redman was named Director in 1993, and took care of the zoo until he retired in 2008. In his time he rewrote the Honolulu Zoo mission statement; “The mission of the Honolulu Zoo is to inspire stewardship of our living world by providing meaningful experiences to our guests. The Zoo emphasizes Pacific tropical island ecosystems and our traditional values of malama (caring) and ho`okipa (hospitality).” Check out more of their history here.
The Honolulu Zoo offers educational programs in the form of interactive children’s camps. The three camps are categorized by age, and offer an appropriate and immersive hands on environment, perfect for children within their age group. Camp Menehune is designed for children ages 4-5, and introduces them to the animal kingdom with engaging activities and entertaining lessons. Camp `Imi Loa is perfect for children ages 6-8, and provides your child an age appropriate, fascinating and engaging educational experience. Tactile biofacts, crafting activities, songs, and stories, just to name a few! Camp Wildlife Koa, for ages 9-11, gives an educational experience on endangered and extinct animals. This includes why they became compromised, and how we can help prevent this from happening to more wildlife in the future.
Art on the Zoo Fence is a long standing Honolulu Zoo activity. Local artists showcase their work by setting up displays along the zoo fence on Monsarrat Ave, every Saturday and Sunday. This allows the artists a platform to show their work, and provides tourists and locals the chance to take in some Hawaiian culture, buy art, and even meet the artist! Art on the Zoo Fence has been growing since 1953.