Category Archives: Hawaii Attractions

Interesting inhabitants at the Honolulu Zoo

Here is a small sample of some of the interesting inhabitants you can see at the Honolulu Zoo:

White-handed GibbonsWhite-handed gibbons

Also known as the Lar gibbon, white-handed gibbons share their range in southeastern Asia with the siamang. Like other gibbons, white handed gibbons move through the trees by brachiation, swinging hand over hand through the upper canopy of the forest. Mainly frugivores, white-handed gibbons prefer fruits high in sugar such as figs. They also feed on insects and flowers.

Aldabra Tortoise

Aldabra tortoise

Aldabra tortoise are second in size to the Galapagos tortoise. Males’ shell length grows to 42 inches and their weight to over 550 pounds. They have longer, thicker tails than females. Females have a more domed shell, growing to 34 inches and weighing up to 370 pounds. Their lifespan is believed to be 200 years.

Elephants

ElephantsAfrican and Indian elephants are the only proboscideans alive today, but there were over 350 different species in the order that are now extinct. The closest living relatives of today’s elephants are in the rock hyrax and sea cow. The roots from which the elephants are believed to have evolved 50-60 million years ago was a mammal about the size of a very large rabbit. Fossil remains discovered in Morocco in 2009 including a skull with front incisors which jutted out of its mouth to form the forerunner of the modern tusks.

Giraffe

GiraffeExperts believe that the giraffe’s long neck evolved to allow them to browse vegetation beyond the reach of other grassland herbivores. Males have longer necks than females, and each takes a different stance while feeding. Females tip their hands downward to browse on smaller trees, while males reach upward toward the tops of taller ones. This lessens their competing for the same levels and branches.

Plains Zebra

Plains ZebraMales are very protective of their harems, the primary social units of the plains zebra. A harem is made up of a dominant male and 1-6 adult females and their offspring. When a lion is spotted nearby, the group will form a semicircle facing the predator and watch it intently. If it moves in closer the group flees while the stallion takes up a defensive position to the rear. He will often aggressively attack the predator to protect the herd.

Ostrich

OstrichExcellent eyesight and acute hearing allow ostriches to be sentinels for other African grazing mammals. Their long legs give them running speed up to 30 mph (48 kmh) and enable them to roam great distances in search of food and water. Male ostriches court up to five females, all of which lay their eggs in the same nest producing a clutch of between 15-50 eggs. Males incubate the completed clutch with some assistance from the dominant hen.

Slender-tailed Meerkat

Slender-tailed MeerkatThese extremely social animals live in troops of 10-30 individuals in the deserts and grasslands of southern Africa. All of the meerkats in the troops participate in gathering food, keeping a look out for predators and taking care of the young. Meerkats are diurnal, leaving the safety of the burrow to forage during the day, turning over stones or rooting in crevices for food. One or more meerkats will act as sentinels while the rest of the troop is busy. The sentinel stands on a higher point to scan the surroundings for predators like eagles, hawks and jackals. A sentinel who senses danger will let out a shrill alarm bark that sends the troop scrambling for cover. Different calls are given for aerial or land-based predators.

Honolulu Zoo Photo Gallery

Entrance to Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo

White-handed Gibbon

Aldabra-Tortoise

Elephant

Elephant

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffe

Ostrich

Slender-tailed Meerkat

Peacock

Four islands, four waterfalls

Some of the prettiest and most popular natural attractions in Hawaii are the Hawaii’s waterfalls. Here is one on each of the four major islands that anybody can visit. No strenuous hike or helicopter ride is necessary to see these gorgeous cascades.

Waimea Falls, Oahu

waimeafallsYou may already know Manoa Falls, Oahu’s most popular waterfall, which is located just a few minutes from Waikiki. Another equally beautiful waterfall on the island’s north shore is Waimea Falls, a 45-foot cascade. It also requires a short half-hour hike to get to it, but it’s an easy stroll through a lush botanical garden. Along the way, you’ll see a variety of tropical plants and trees, and there are several benches and picnic tables where you can relax and enjoy the views. The valley is a sanctuary for rare birds and plants that are endemic to Hawaii, and it also features several reconstructed archaeological sites. So a visit to Waimea Valley is a great combination of learning about Hawaii’s native species, as well as its history and culture.

Wailua Falls, Maui

wailua_fallsMost of the waterfalls on Maui are located on the lush north shore of the island, along the popular Road to Hana. An easily accessible waterfall is Wailua Falls. No hike is necessary to see this one. Just drive up to it, get out of the car and have your camera ready. Wailua Falls is a pretty 80-foot cascade surrounded by lush vegetation. Keep an eye out for mile marker #45 and find a parking spot next to the road.

Opaeka’a Falls, Kauai

opaekaa_fallsKauai also has its share of beautiful waterfalls. Some require a tedious hike to get to them; others can only be seen from a helicopter. Opaeka’a Falls, however, can be seen from a convenient lookout point right next to Kuamo’o Road near Wailua on the island’s east shore, making it one of the island’s most accessible major waterfalls, 151 feet tall. And just across the street a few hundred yards down the road is another scenic lookout to Wailua River, the only navigable river in Hawaii. If you have some time you can take a boat tour up this river to Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lava cave.

Rainbow Falls, Big Island

rainbow_fallsThe Hawaiian name of this beautiful waterfall is Waianuenue, meaning “rainbow seen in water.” Rainbow Falls is located near Hilo and is part of the Wailuku River State Park. The lookout point offers a terrific view of the 80-foot plunge waterfall. Rainbow Falls is especially impressive when heavy rains fill the Wailuku River. With a bit of luck you can see first-hand how the waterfall got its name. On sunny mornings a rainbow appears in the waterfall’s spray.

Top scenic Oahu lookouts

Some of the best Oahu lookouts are within easy reach from Waikiki. Here are some to put on your to-do list for your next island excursion.

Diamond Head Lookout

No other landmdiamondheadark on the island of Oahu is more popular than Diamond Head. Located at the east end of Waikiki, this volcanic cinder cone has decorated many postcards and wallpapers. One of the best lookout points is located at the top of Diamond Head, accessible on foot via a hiking trail (it takes about 30-40 minutes to hike up to the viewing platform). Even though there isn’t much shade and it can get hot, the view is very much worth it. From up here you can see a large stretch of Oahu’s south shore, all the way from Pearl Harbor in the west to Kahala in the east, with downtown Honolulu and Waikiki in the middle.

Ever wondered where Diamond Head got its name from? It was back in 1825 when British sailors approaching Oahu noticed small sparkling calcite crystals around the crater and in the beach sand, so they named the crater Diamond Hill. This name was later changed to Diamond Head.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

 

pali_lookoutLocated at the top of the 1,200-foot-high pali (meaning “cliff” in Hawaiian) between Honolulu and Oahu’s windwardcoast, the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout offers magnificent views of a large stretch of Oahu’s east shore, including the towns of Kailua and Kaneohe and the green peaks of the Ko’olau Mountains.

This lookout is also an important historical location. In an effort to reunite all the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha the Great fought his last battle here in 1795. His army of 10,000 soldiers forced several hundred of rival chief Kalanikupule’s soldiers off these cliffs. Legend has it that on certain nights, one can still hear the screams of the warriors.

Makapu’u Lookout

makapuu_lookoutThis lookout is easily accessible from the road. Located along Kalanianaole Highway near Oahu’s southeastern tip, Makapu’u Point overlooks the steep sea cliffs, Makapu’u Beach and two small islands, called Rabbit Island (also known as Manana Island) and Kaohikaipu Island.

Hanauma Bay Lookout

hanauma_bayHanauma Bay is Oahu’s prime snorkeling destination, home to a spectacular reef and more than 450 kinds of tropical fish, many of which can only be found in Hawaii. But before going down to the beach, spend some time at the bay’s two great lookout points, one located near the entrance and the other one behind the restaurant to the east. Tip: Wear polarized sunglasses to better see the outline of the bay’s coral reef.

Halona Blowhole Lookout

blowholeThis popular attraction is located along Kalanianaole Highway on Oahu’s southeastern shore. The entire area is very scenic with steep sea cliffs and views of small bays along the rocky shore. The blowhole is an underwater lava tube with an opening on the rocky shelf. When water from the ocean enters the tube, the pressure in it increases and the water shoots up into the air above the rocky shelf, sometimes up to 30 feet. This natural phenomenon can best be observed when the surf is up. The higher the waves, the more action at the blowhole. To the west of the blowhole is Halona Beach Cove, also known as Eternity Beach. This little beach was made popular in the 1953 movie From Here to Eternity.

Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park

tantalusAlso known as Mt. Tantalus, the summit of Pu’u Ualaka’a offers fantastic views of Honolulu and Waikiki. Come during the day to enjoy a picnic here, or watch the sunset and city lights in the evening. The state park is accessible via Round Top Drive, which loops around Tantalus.

Hawaii Banyan Trees

Hawaii has an amazing number of large banyan (ficus) trees. People who see a banyan for the first time often look at it in awe. The amazing thing about banyans is that they grow upwards as well as sideways by dropping aerial roots to the ground from the undersides of their branches. When these roots reach the ground, they thicken and form a new trunk. For a fully grown banyan tree with many branches and trunks it is often difficult to tell which one is the main trunk or the core.

Ala Moana Beach Park, Oahu

Banyan tree near Ali’iolani Hale in Honolulu, Oahu

Lahaina Banyan Tree, Maui

Nuuanu Valley Park, Oahu


Queen Liliuokalani Gardens, Big Island

Ala Moana Beach Park, Oahu

Reeds Bbay Beach Park, Big Island

Waikiki, Oahu

10 Picture-Perfect Beaches in Hawaii

Many people visit Hawaii for the Islands’ great beaches. Each Hawaiian island is unique and so are the beaches. Here is a list of some of our favorite beaches in Hawaii.

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Waimea Bay, Oahu

Sunset Beach, Oahu

Kailua Beach, Oahu

Kahana Beach, Maui

Mauna Kea Beach, Big Island

Tunnels Beach, Kauai

Kepuhi Beach, Molokai

Most Commonly Seen Birds in Hawaii

Here is a collection of some of the most commonly seen birds in Hawaii. Especially the Zebra Doves seem to be everywhere. The Hawaiian Stilt and the Nene (Hawaiian Goose) are native to Hawaii. The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii. Areas where they can be spotted include Maui (Haleakala National Park), on the Big Island (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Mauna Loa), on Kauai (Koke’e State Park and Kilauea Point) and on Molokai.

House Finch

Mynah

Black Crowned Night Hero

Cattle Egret

Grey Francolin

Hawaiian Goose Nene

Hawaiian Stilt

Northern Cardinal

Red-Crested Cardinal

Rock Dove

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Zebra Dove

Waikiki Attractions

Waikiki is the most popular tourist area in Hawaii and therefore the most crowded. But if you don’t mind crowds, there are quite a few interesting things to do.

Waikiki Beach is divided into several beach areas (Kuhio Beach, Queen’s Beach, Sans Souci Beach and Kaimana Beach). Some areas along Waikiki Beach offer good swimming conditions, while others are more suitable for snorkeling, bodyboarding and surfing. There are also three sheltered lagoons, which are ideal for novice swimmers and children.

Located along Waikiki Beach are many hotels, restaurants and shops. Entertainment venues include free outdoor hula performances and several festivals and parades throughout the year.

A few interesting attractions besides the beach that you can visit in Waikiki are: