Before our trip to Hanauma Bay State Park, we wanted to make sure we visited Waikīkī Aquarium. Waikīkī Aquarium is a wonderful place to allow kids the opportunity to learn about some of the marine life they might see while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, and about the fragile ecosystem that lies beneath its waters.
We began our tour of the aquarium outside of the building where we watched Hawaiian Monk Seals as they were served their breakfast. We also enjoyed viewing the coral and clam farms,
and spent a little time at the "Edge of the Reef" exhibit interacting with some of the marine life often found in Hawaii's tide pools.
Inside the building, we used our audio tour wands to tour the various exhibits. The wands are like bulky old cell phones and you just push the numbers on the devices that match the numbers above the tanks, press them to your ears and enjoy! My kids liked the fact that they could spend as much time learning about whichever tank they chose. Yes, we all enjoy taking control around here!
The inside exhibit areas are lowly lit with tanks brightly illuminated to bring out the vivid colors of the marine life.
We had to watch our kids carefully. With dark corridors and freedom to explore with their own devices, my husband and I each chose a kid and followed along behind. We saw several parents wandering around looking for their kids and, in turn, kids looking for their parents.
Waikīkī Aquarium is small, but it's a must see it if you aren't familiar with tropical ecosystems or are planning a trip with kids to Hanauma Bay. Education is key when visiting fragile environments -- make sure you and your kids are informed!
Price: $5-$12, audio wand included, under 3 free
What to see: giant clams, green sea turtles, corals, monk seals, tropical fish, sea jellies, and exhibits on tropical ecosystems and marine conservation