During my unplanned trip to Hawaii last December, I had the opportunity to visit my amazingly inspiring friend, Stephanie Arne – who happens to be the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Honolulu Zoo on the island of O’ahu. During my stay I was very lucky to accompany to her work on a few different occasions While she was generally busy out in the community teaching classes all about the environment and conservation and fun animal facts – I had the privilege of wandering around the quaint Honolulu Zoo – right in the heart of Waikiki.
While many scoff at the idea of zoos – they don’t believe animals should be kept in captivity, behind bars or in cages – I see zoos as a wonderful place where children of all ages get the opportunity to see various species that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to see – unless they make the trek to Africa, or other native lands where these animals are indigenous to. Zoos are where children can learn about the importance of conservation, and where they have the opportunity to fall in love with animals. It is always the goal that early and frequent visits to zoos and exposure to these beautiful animals of the world will encourage youngsters to want to do something to help. If the seed is planted early enough -who knows what can happen in the future.
It is also important to note that most zoos nowadays are no longer like the ones from the past – where animals are literally behind bars, in cages much too small for them. Nowadays, zoos – like the Honolulu Zoo and Sydney’s Taronga Zoo- pride themselves on having large, spacious enclosures that are designed to resemble their native habitats so the animals will feel right at home. Zoos also invest a lot of time in behaviour enrichment – so that the animals don’t get bored and are still able to get some sort of stimulation in their day – whether its through interacting with zoo keepers, or having a vast array of different toys.
The Honolulu Zoo is a wonderful zoo that is not only extremely convenient to get to- right on the same street as the main tourist hub- but it’s extremely affordable. A day at the Honolulu Zoo will only set you back $14USD for adults (13+) and $8 for children aged 3-12. They have an excellent variety of animals on display – everything from lions to African wild dogs to elephants to Rusty and Violet, the resident orang utans. So if you’re not too busy learning to surf, or cage diving with sharks – be sure to pop into the Honolulu Zoo for a few hours, and take a walk on the wild side! For more information be sure to check out the Honolulu Zoo website.