Waikiki Aquarium

Aquarium in Waikiki
Image by Ann Cecil / Getty Images

Located on Waikiki’s shoreline, this university-run aquarium recreates diverse tropical Pacific reef habitats. You’ll see rare fish species from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, as well as hypnotic moon jellies and flashlight fish that host bioluminescent bacteria. Especially hypnotizing are the Palauan chambered nautiluses with their unique spiral shells – in fact, this is the world’s first aquarium to breed these endangered creatures in captivity, a ground-breaking achievement. It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk southeast of the main Waikiki beach strip.

An outdoor pool is home to rare and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. A garden with native Hawaiian plants features a self-guided tour. Make reservations for special family-friendly events and fun educational programs for kids, such as a behind the scenes tour (adult/child $16/10, 3pm Wednesday). There's a nice lawn for picnics.