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.
|Image via Flickr by A Swell Buddy|
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!
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|
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.