You know the islands where Charles Darwin studied finches and eventually went on to develop his theory of evolution? Well, Hawai‘i is the Galapagos Islands on steroids.
The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated group of islands in the world. That explains the long flight it took to get here. Think of how difficult it would be to get here without a plane or a boat. It’s a long way to swim or fly.
But plants and animals did manage to make it to the Hawaiian Islands on their own millions of years ago. And over time, separated from other species on the mainland and elsewhere, Hawai‘i’s flora and fauna evolved and created a new ecosystem—an ecosystem so unique that some species found here aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Some aren’t even found miles away from where they first originated.
Interested in checking out some of Hawai‘i’s evolutionary handy work? Head to the Honolulu Zoo, where native birds and plants can be found. View and learn about nene (the Hawaiian goose and state bird), kaloa (the Hawaiian duck) and ‘io (the Hawaiian hawk), all of which are endangered.
Also, take gander at a life-sized sculpture of the three-foot tall moa-nalo, a flightless fowl that used to roam Hawai‘i before predators were introduced. The sculpture is a re-creation based on fossils found buried in cave on Kaua‘i.
Entrance to Honolulu Zoo is $14 for adults; $6 for children under 13; $8 for kama‘aina and military (ID required); $4 for kama‘aina and military children under 13. Children 2 and under get in free. Honolulu Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; the ticket office closes at 4:30 p.m.
151 Kapahulu Ave. [C:12 Waikiki Map]