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BOO IN THE ZOO!

Boo in the Zoo is a family friendly and not so scary event for kids of all ages. Dress in your best costume and come say Boo at the Honolulu Zoo!
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It continues to pour so they asked for more...

The Zoo staff have been so happy with our all-volunteer-constructed rain shelters that they asked for 10 more units!
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HELP OUR RINGED-TAILED LEMURS...

... and get a lemur of your own!
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Sacred Ibis

Honolulu Zoo Beginnings

Like other oceanic islands, Hawaiʻi has birds to thank, in large part, for the introduction and dispersal of seeds that grew to create our diverse island ecosystems. In response to this diversity, one common finch-like ancestor evolved into dozens of colorful honeycreepers especially suited for Hawaiʻi’s forests.

Originally, this site was mostly marshland covered with lagoons. The native Hawaiians developed the area into an ahupuaʻa - a wedge of land extending from the mountain to the sea - following the natural boundaries of the watershed. Each ahupuaʻa contained the resources the human community needed, from fish and salt, to fertile land for farming taro or sweet potato, to koa and other trees growing in upslope areas. In 1877, the marshes, ponds and lagoons in this ahupuaʻa were drained and became part of Queen Kapiʻolani Park. This was to honor Julia Kapiʻolani, Queen Consort of David Kalakaua, King of Hawaiʻi. It was then used to house their personal collection of exotic birds. The Zoo’s earliest history was that of a bird park.

So, as a nod to our past, and to acknowledge the important role birds have played in the development of Hawaiʻi’s unique ecosystems, the Honolulu Zoo features a wide variety of exotic birds.

Synopsis of The
Honolulu Zoo's History

1876

King David Kalakaua transferred a 300 acre parcel of land from the Leahi Crown Holdings to the Kapiʻolani Park Association.

1877

Queen Kapiʻolani Park officially opened. The park also housed an annual horse race, which was held on King Kamehameha Day.

1914

The City and County of Honolulu assumed administration of the park.

1914-1916

Ben Hollinger, Administrator of Parks & Recreation, began collecting animals for exhibition at Kapiʻolani Park.

1916

An African elephant, Daisy, was purchased and housed in the park. Daisy's career ended tragically in 1933 when, for unexplained reasons, she killed her keeper, George Conrad. Daisy was destroyed by police marksmen.

1929

Six Galapagos tortoises arrived from Panama, on loan from the New York Zoological Society.

1935

Construction for new aviaries to house rare and native exotic birds was completed. E.H. Lewis arrived to oversee project.

1947

The City approved a Master Plan for Kapiʻolani Park, designating 42 acres as the Honolulu Zoo. Paul Breeze was appointed the first Zoo Director.

1952

The Zoo's design was reviewed and it took on its present shape in Kapiʻolani Park.

1965

Jack Throp was appointed the second director of the Zoo and staff increased to twenty-eight employees.

1969

Zoo Hui was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to support the Honolulu Zoo and its mission. The Zoo Hui has grown in size, involvement, and fundraising capacity and is now known as the Honolulu Zoological Society -- responsible for the zoo’s education, volunteer, membership, conservation, and research programs, while also supporting facility improvements, zoo staff training, animal enrichment and other key areas.

1979

Former Zoo Curator, Jerome Marr, takes over the Directorship of the Zoo.

1982

Mari, an Asian Elephant, arrives as a gift arranged by Honolulu’s Indian Consul, Sheila Watamull, and India’s Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.

1982-84

The Zoo initiated and completed the design of a new Master Plan. Three biomes were planned: the African Savanna, the Tropical Forest and Islands.

1986

Honolulu Zoo receives its first accreditation by the American Zoo Association (AZA).

1988

Newly renovated Children’s Zoo was dedicated and opened.

1990-94

Zoo completed the first phase of its second Master Plan, the African Savanna. Savanna Phase I opened in 1992 and Phase II opened in 1994.

1992

Three year old Asian elephant, Vaigai, arrives.

1993

Ken Redman, former curator from Sedgwick County Zoo, was selected 5th Director of the Honolulu Zoo.

1997

The Zoo transferred from Parks and Recreation to newly created Department of Enterprise Services.

2001

The Gharial Exhibit was completed.

2004

The Komodo Dragon Exhibit was completed.

2005

The new Vet Clinic was completed.

2006

New Keiki Zoo and Orangutan Exhibit was completed.

2009

Stephen Walker, former Director of the Tulsa Oklahoma Zoo, was selected as the 6th Zoo Director.

2011

Manuel Mollinedo, former director of the San Francisco Zoo became the 8th Zoo Director.

Currently there are 73 employees (contract, part-time and full-time staff) working at the Zoo.

2013

Dr. Jeff Mahon was named Director of the Honolulu Zoo. His work experience includes various underwater facilities and aquariums around the world, the most recent was at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center as the Director of Exhibits and Animal Husbandry.

2014

Jeffrey Wilkinson became the new Administrator for the Honolulu Zoo, replacing Dr. Jeff Mahon. Wilkinson, a Punahou graduate, returned to Honolulu after 20 years on the mainland, where he served in leadership positions with for-profit, nonprofit and educational institutions. In total, he has more than 20 years of experience as a top level executive.