Driving through Honolulu coming into the bustling Waikiki Beach is not what you might think of when booking your trip to go relax in Hawaii. The streets in Waikiki are full of vehicles and people. The streets are lined with all the shopping one could ever want. As you come to the beach you have towering buildings on the left of you and a beautiful beach on the right filled with people. The light colored sand and blue water is very mesmerizing, but then you look and there are just so many people!
As you continue along Kalakaua Ave you realize you really are not in a tranquil Hawaiian retreat. But you are still in Hawaii, so on we pushed. We were searching out the Honolulu Zoo. I had been reaching out to the Zoo Director for a week or two to see if it would be possible on our visit to get a more exclusive back scenes peek of the birds in order to really grasp some great pictures and videos of them. Unfortunately they were not able to accommodate us in this manor. We didn't let this deter us, we ended up buying a season pass because it ended up being cheaper than a daily pass for my family of 6. Keep that in mind if you are going to visit that it might just make sense to get a season pass if there are several of you in your family and you can visit a few times while in Honolulu if you are staying there in Waikiki.
You will know that you have arrived to the zoo when you hit a fork in Kalakaua Ave. It turns into a one way road that circles the whole block the zoo is on. Parking is horrible with most of it being paid only parking through meters on the street. While on this trip I can say we spent way too much time just trying to find a parking spot. Finally after about 45 min circling the block, I turned into a "closed" parking lot that had been closed for an upcoming event later that evening. I started to talk with the lot "security", in order to see if I could get some help from her as to where to find a spot to park so that we could visit the zoo for a couple hours. After a few mins talking, she must have taken pity on us and told us to wait right there. She walked to her car and came back with a parking pass. She said "I am not supposed to do this, but if you are asked, just say you are my long lost cousin from New Zealand......" This was funny because she was an island girl of island decent. We both shared a laugh and I thanked her and parked.
Once we got through the front gates of the zoo, there is immediately a waterfowl display area. This area has a large pond in the middle of it with a small 4 foot tall fence and lots of vegetation surrounding it. There were several types of ducks in there including wood ducks and hooded ducks. Unfortunately because of the dense vegetation, it was not easy to get a good look at the different fowl in this area.
We continued to walk and we quickly came to some aviaries for birds. They had some bird of paradise which were amazing. One of the males was on display singing and flashing his feathers. It was very cool. I had only seen these types of birds on nature shows. In addition I quickly found a pheasant, or so I thought. This was a Green Naped Pheasant Pigeon. Not a pheasant at all, but a species of pigeon, but is a large terrestrial pigeon that spends most of its time on the ground from New Guinea.
I continued my search and along the same area, found more aviaries. One of the most beautiful pheasants was in this section. This is a Palawan Peacock Pheasant. If you haven't seen one of these before, they have eyes on their tails like peacocks do, but they are a smaller bird, not as large as a peacock. They are truly this vibrant blue as shown in the picture to the right. Unique and incredible birds.
The aviaries were very nicely landscaped which was great for the birds to feel like they were in a more natural environment. The tough thing for a photographer like myself is that the wire is so fine that it is very tough to get a good picture of the birds. Due to this great landscaping, I came up to another aviary and the hen was setting on a nest! This doesn't happen as easily in captivity as it does in the wild. It was a pair of Great Arugus Pheasants. They had separated the male and female into different pens since she was on a clutch of eggs. I hope she is able to hatch out her babies and they make it to adulthood. I was only able to get one poor image with my phone camera through the wire of the cage of the male, but these birds are incredible. Please check out the pictures and videos on our Instagram page of these birds displaying for their mates.
In addition to these two pheasants, I also saw a female Crested Wood Partridge. But other than this, there weren't any other notable game birds. They had many beautiful song birds and parrots, even some Horn bills. I am surprised that these zoos don't have more game birds though. The many colors and variation that exist would allow for amazing shows for the patrons. They are great to go on the bottom of aviaries with song birds or parrots and they will live in harmony. I rarely see quail when visiting zoos. My goal is to help these birds be more recognized not only through our various pages, but also at zoo's where people might be able to see them in person!
As we continued to walk around the beautiful zoo to see the many other animals, you almost forgot you were in the middle of a bustling city with cars driving around the whole zoo exterior walls and just a stones throw away from skyscraper buildings. We enjoyed the many animals that the zoo had. As we walked around I started to hear a familiar call. I quickly moved past some of the exhibits to chase down some male peafowl that they zoo had loose. In total I saw 2 males and 1 female peafowl. There were also a couple of Crested Cranes. These birds are very amazing with their yellow tufted crown.
All in all we really enjoyed our time at the Honolulu Zoo. They had a great variety of animals, amazing landscaping with huge trees and tropical flowers that helped keep your attention away from the fact that you were in the city. It reminded me of the Houston, Texas Zoo in that aspect of being in the city. I would recommend a visit if you every find yourself in Waikiki. Hopefully next time we are in Waikiki, the zoo will be able to give us a more in depth back stage view of the birds so that we can get some more videos and pictures of the many amazing animals there.