A visit to WAIKIKI AQUARIUM (waikikiaquarium.org) is the ultimate dry-snorkeling experience. Located next to a living reef across from KAPI’OLANI PARK, the aquarium houses a lot more than reef fish- some 500 species of marine life, as well as a coral farm, also reside here.
Check out the pulsating sea jellies that are so clear, you can see what they’ve been eating; look a shark in the eye at the 35,000-gallon tank that houses Hawaiian sharks; or behold an endangered Hawaiian monk seal weighing in at nearly 600 pounds!
You also can expect to be introduced to the only chambered nautilus born in captivity: the spiral-shelled cephalopod mollusk- the last of a species that dates back 500 million years-is sometimes referred to as a living fossil. An ancient relative of the octopus, the nautilus lives in a shell with rainbow-colored chambers. Look for this treasure in the Jet Set exhibit.
The aquarium’s AMAZING ADAPTATIONS gallery is home to seahorses, weedy sea dragons, pipefish and other rare exotic creatures. Amazing Adaptations boasts two seahorse nurseries and nine displays of rare syngnathid (“fused jaw”) species. THE LIVING REEF allows visitors the chance to see the range of coral life from the Pacific Ocean.
for its innovative research and husbandry techniques. The aquarium is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. every day except Honolulu Marathon Sunday in December and Christmas Day. There are modified hours on Thanksgiving Day (9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) and New Year’s Day (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) There is a small admission fee. Face masks are required (some are available for purchase at the gift shop, if guests come unprepared); social distancing protocols are in place, which includes the removal of some previous exhibits to make more space for guests; and limited, timed ticket procedures are in place to reduce visitor density.
WAIKIKI AQUARIUM (808) 923-9741