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Waikiki Aquarium


Waikiki Aquarium

Jellyfish in the South Pacific Marine Communities Display at the Waikiki Aquarium

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

Founded in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States.

A part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa since 1919, it is located next to a living reef on the Waikiki shoreline.

Exhibits, programs, and research focus on the aquatic life of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific, with roughly 320,000 people visiting the Aquarium each year. Over 3,000 organisms are on exhibit representing more than 500 species of aquatic animals and plants.

Waikiki Aquarium Facts:

Waikiki Aquarium
2777 Kalakaua Avenue,
Honolulu, HI 96815-4027

(808) 923-9741

Web Site:

Dr. Andrew Rossiter

35 full-time, 36 part-time, 33 affiliate staff

9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily (except Honolulu Marathon Sunday and Christmas Day)

$9 for visitors; $6 for local residents, active duty military with ID, students with ID and senior citizens; $4 for youths ages 13-17 and persons with disabilities; $2 for juniors ages 5 - 12; and free for children 4 and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium members


Waikiki Aquarium exhibits focus on the diversity of aquatic, shoreline and coral reef habitats and living communities of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific. Among the highlights are:

Corals Are Alive! interactive exhibits showcasing corals, their biology and conservation

SeaVisions Theatre shows videos that illustrate shoreline conservation and how you can be a responsible reef visitor

South Pacific Marine Communities features South Pacific habitats and species, including colorful reef corals and fishes, giant clams, groupers and snappers and intriguing partnerships such as anemonefishes and their host sea anemones

Hawaiian Marine Communities recreates Hawaiian habitats from wave-swept surge zone to deep reef slopes, and from young to ancient reefs; celebrates distinctive reef life, including the longnose butterflyfish

Ocean Drifters Gallery features a 1,000-gallon moon jelly tank and a seasonally changing jelly wall that may contain white-spotted jellies, blue blubbers, sea nettles, box jellies and ctenophores

Hunters on the Reef 35,000-gallon exhibit is home to Hawaiian sharks and jacks; shark interpretive panels introduce shark biology, research, conservation and safety. New Spyball camera provides up close shark encounters in real time on a television screen

Edge of the Reef naturalistic shoreline exhibit offering opportunities for supervised observation and hands-on interactions with selected marine life

The Coral Farm exhibit and working research facility for propagation of reef corals

Giant Clams exhibit and working research facility for propagation of clams

Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat features the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal found only in the Hawaiian Islands

Aquaculture features moi, a popular food fish, whose numbers have declined in the wild

Coastal Gardens with native Hawaiian plants adapted for life close to the sea

Conservation & Research:

Since becoming the first marine field station in Hawaii in 1912 and a part of the University of Hawaii in 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium has been fostering awareness and promoting stewardship of the aquatic life of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific through research and conservation.

The 105-year-old facility boasts several ongoing research projects that have been designed to restore, protect and manage native Hawaiian species as well as other threatened or endangered species.

The aquarium's conservation and research programs include:

  • Husbandry, nutrition and behavior of aquatic and marine aquarium specimens
  • Husbandry and propagation of chambered nautilus
  • Spawning behavior, larval rearing, and propagation potential of selected reef fishes
  • Identification & treatment of diseases, parasite infections and other ailments of aquarium marine life
  • Coral husbandry, propagation and conservation
  • Hawaiian monk seal metabolic and bacteriological research
  • Giant clam husbandry and propagation
  • Sea jelly husbandry and propagation
  • Deep reef coral research
  • Archiving and husbandry of rare Hawaiian corals

Education Programs:

The Waikiki Aquarium offers numerous education programs, including:

  • Interpretive services: staff or volunteers enrich the visitor experience with explanations of the exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences
  • Self-tour opportunities for individuals and groups: interpretive graphics & exhibits, handouts are available.
  • School Program: presentations and docent-assisted tours for school groups, grades K - 6
  • Outreach and special request presentations for schools and community groups
  • Community Enrichment Program: year-round natural history field-trips, classes, and workshops for children, families, and adults
  • Information services: staff answer questions from visitors & community on marine and aquarium-science related topics

If You Go

The Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to visit when you have a few hours free in Waikiki. It also makes for a great day to visit the Waikiki Aquarium and then head across the street and just a short walk to the Honolulu Zoo.

Waikiki Aquarium Photos

We have put together a gallery of 20 photos of our visit to the Waikiki Aquarium. I hope you enjoy our Waikiki Aquarium Photo Gallery.

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