6 Top Oahu Animal Attractions

Hawaii is famous for its sandy beaches and lavish resorts, but it is also home to a completely isolated ecosystem. Most of Hawaii's animals can be found in the sea rather than on land but there are some places you can go to check out a more diversified animal population.

This unique natural ecosystem coupled with the imported animal populations makes Hawaii a terrific destination for both the casual tourist and nature lover alike. Here are six top Oahu animal attractions.

Honolulu Zoo

Image via Flickr by A Swell Buddy
Of course getting out into nature is the best way to enjoy the island but aside from a mongoose, wild boar, or some excellent birds there aren't many animals to be found on land.

The Honolulu Zoo is a modern zoo with numerous exhibits that are designed with the well being of animals in mind. The zoo is located in Kapi'olani Park on the east end of Waikiki, and it's the largest zoo around. The location places it with the backdrop of the beautiful Waikiki beach.  The zoo also has a wide range of tours that allow you to get the most out of your visit, but in my opinion just taking your time in the perfect Hawaii climate is best.

Horseback Riding at Happy Trails Ranch
There is no better way to experience all the natural beauty Hawaii has to offer than by taking a leisurely horseback ride through the rugged countryside. Happy Trails Ranch offers small riding groups on the North Shore, an hour and a half drive from Waikiki. The ride traverses through lush green land, tropical orchards, and sunny forests.  It is an amazingly beautiful area of the island!

Waikiki Aquarium
The Waikiki Aquarium is itself a living, breathing ecosystem, with over 3,000 living beings and more than 500 species. The aquarium also has a fitting location, right along the coast and the living reef on the Waikiki beach. The aquarium features mostly native fish, coral, and other sea creatures.

Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary
Image via Flickr by sonstroem
Oahu is home to wetlands, from Mauka to Makai. The Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many native wetland bird species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This sanctuary is home to the Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Loon, Hawaiian Gallinule (Moorhen), as well as dozens of other bird species.

Submarine Tour with Atlantis
A submarine tour is one of the most relaxing ways to come face-to-face with underwater sea life, and the technology is constantly improving. Atlantis offers a state-of-the-art submarine that takes visitors outside of the classroom and into the deep blue sea. It's a great alternative to scuba diving!  It's not exactly the same but I know scuba is not for everyone.

With Atlantis you will witness a myriad of sea creatures, from sharks to starfish, all from the comfort of an air-conditioned submarine. This is a major attraction in Hawaii, and as so many of the great oportunites for tours are in Waikiki finding a place to stay nearby is important.  I find it is much easier using a site like Gogobot to find hotels in the area. Search engines always make the task easier!

Shark Adventure Oahu North Shore

Shark Adventure is the safest way to get up close and personal with these ancient predators of the deep. This isn't like watching Shark Week at home. Instead, you will be just inches away from the Galpagos sharks. I used to fear sharks especially since I spend so much time in the warm water.  These sharks were so calm and almost peaceful though so it really helped to alleviate my fears all around.

This is a thrilling experience located three miles off of Oahu's North Shore. You are guaranteed to encounter a shark or your money back. This is truly a magnificent experience that will give you a new appreciation and respect for the vicious denizens of the deep.  But a quick tip: be sure to take something for sea sickness if you are prone to it as the waters can be pretty choppy!


Any of these six choices is a surefire way to make the most of your time in Hawaii. Whether you are an animal lover, or just want to experience Hawaii to the fullest, these excursions are a great choice for you.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Sharing is Caring

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

41 comments:

  1. What a staycation your family had...including the dolphins and the lagoon! Always good to throw in some fun days to one's week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love that the Hilton Waikoloa is a staycation for you and your family - how lucky! I've stayed at the resort and it is quite lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was looking at this resort for my next trip to Hawaii and now I'll have to put it at the top of the list

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree and the more fun days the better!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ha, I guess that is pretty cool! Not much that is too bad about living in Hawaii!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh yes, it is well wrth a couple nights. Not sure i'd want to stay there a whole week but a couple of nights would be lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  7. We have not yet made it to Hawaii, but would love drive the island backroads. We don't often do the all-inclusive resort thing, but occasionally it is nice to check-in, relax, and enjoy it for what it is. And where better to do it, than Hawaii?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Family travel can be so rewarding, especially when the children are aware of their surroundings and contribute to the trip. Reads like a great trip!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Michele TravelwithMrsTFebruary 15, 2015 at 6:14 AM

    Sounds like a wonderful stay! Have never stayed on Hawaii, only Maui. Loved the cute video. What camera did you use?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am quite surprised that the Hilton group have chosen to have captive dolphins. I am not an animal rights activist in any way, but seems a little wrong to me.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kate-Frankie BrennanFebruary 15, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    The hotel looks gorgeous and I could definitely get used to that kind of breakfast! I'm not sure I agreed with them keeping dolphins and I've not stayed in places for these reasons in the past. It does look like a beautiful location and I'd love to visit Hawaii. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  12. This Hilton resort looks amazing, especially for families with kids! Just that giant slide alone would make my daughter and husband so happy. The Saltwater lagoon looks incredible. Sometimes, it's just magical to have a staycation.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yeah we never do either but every now and again it is wonderful! Like a real vacation:) If you like driving back roads then when you come to Hawaii be sure to hit the Big Island. So many different landscapes and such a lot of area to cover.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It really was. I wouldn't have had any fun at all if the kids weren't with me!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Its a great island but you need loads of time to really explore it all, that's why we've stayed on a bit! The video was actually just my iphone, I have it in a lifeproof case and it works great! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I agree with you and I addressed it in the post. Not my thing at all and that is why I didn't get involved but I did want to check it out and honestly it was probably the best way it could be done. But I wish it was never done at all!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yeah I agree about the dolphins. It is on the resort property but NOT run by the Hilton at all. I wish it never happened but if it does then this was honestly the best way it could be done.

    ReplyDelete
  18. The slide was the high point for sure. There were actually 2!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Many thanks for these information! Would you recommend to travel to the caribean coast in August? Or is the pacific side calmer?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Muriel, I would definitely recommend the Caribbean coast for August. Basically it is always more calm than the Pacific. There are spots that are fine on both coats calmness wise but if you have the time el Caribe is the best!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't have any kids, but most of those things look pretty good to me anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looks like a great list of activities, particularly the Penang Nat'l Park. Good tips on bringing your own food and drinks!

    ReplyDelete
  23. No kids, but Orangutan Island sounds awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Some interesting spots even without kids, those snakes are beautiful

    ReplyDelete
  25. Had no idea Malaysia was such a fab place for travel with kids - my sister is looking for her next family vacation spot from Australia, so I'll definitely recommend this!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love all the nature parks you list in your post. I don't travel with kids but I know I'd love the butterfly park and Orangutang Island.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is such a useful post for when we head to Penang again. My fiancee's family is from Kuching, but we have been planning a trip to Penang for our next visit!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yes, I enjoyed all of it myself! Especially those Hard Rock slides:)

    ReplyDelete
  29. It really was. Such a good example of responsibly caring for animals. And we could have watched the babies fr weeks!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes no doubt about it, Penang can work for singles and families alike.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Yes please do! We spent a good bit of time there and were also surprised with how much there was to do. As a bonus the food is amazing and everyone speaks English so that helps with ease as well.

    ReplyDelete
  32. We almost passed up the butterfly place thinking we'd seen plenty of those before but were so glad we went because it really is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh great! I am happy to answer any questions, we spent a lot of time there and got quite comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  34. There really are lots of things and that isn;t even mentioning Georgetown much or the beaches!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yes I always think that's a good thing to mention. I try to add the answers to the things I have questions of before heading out to an activity!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Buddy The Traveling MonkeyFebruary 22, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    So many things to do! Adventure Zone and monkey beach are at the top of my list! :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Money beach was probably my favorite but I think the kids would say Adventure zone for sure. Although Hard Rock is hard to beat during Penang heat.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I still need to get to Penang. And I know there's more to the place than sunsets, but that sunset in your first picture is still pretty stunning :P

    ReplyDelete
  39. Yes, definitely more to it but you can't beat a great sunset and Penang has them constantly. If you get there try and stay in an ocean facing place as high up as you can get!

    ReplyDelete