Happy New Year, friends, and cheers to the first post of 2023! We’re in a season of waiting here in South Korea, so it felt like the perfect time to continue sharing some of our Hawaii adventures from December – especially since it is so dang cold here right now. Hawaii honestly feels like a dream at this point. It was the absolute best spontaneous dream of a trip though, and going back through my photos has helped me relive those special days with our friends, the Brintons, as well. Today, I’m sharing a little bit about our visit to Wahiawa Botanical Garden with kids…and why it’s the perfect family excursion.
Exploring Wahiawa Botanical Garden with Kids
This Hawaii noob landed on the island not knowing that botanical gardens are, like, really a thing in Hawaii. There are actually five separate distinct botanical gardens on Oahu alone, and Wahiawa is one of 33 in all of Hawaii. Located on Oahu, it’s a 27-acre garden, forest, and ravine dating back to the early 1930s. Today, it’s a thriving oasis nestled between the Wai’anae and Ko’olau mountains and smack dab in the middle of an otherwise urban jungle.
We’re a big hiking family, and after hiking Kolekole Trail (which was ultra windy), we decided to make our way to Wahiawa Botanical Garden to explore even more outdoors with the kids. Humid but shady, it was sheltered from the bulk of the wind, and it was perfect to be able to do our own little self-guided tour and explore at our own pace.
Wahiawa Botanical Gardens Oahu
The garden, itself, is somewhat deceiving. There’s a petite little parking lot at the entrance and an inconspicuous gate around the edge. Once you get past the entrance and admission area though, it’s like entering a completely different world. Lush with palms, bananas, hoop pines, eucalyptus, bamboo, and everything in between, it kind of felt like we were entering the jungle areas of Nelspruit, South Africa.
We followed along the accessible concrete baths, then made our way down towards the gulch and stream area. It was humid but not too hot, and the kids loved trying to spot the songbirds in the canopies above us. Spoiler alert though: they didn’t spot a single bird. I think they’re sneaky with as many visitors as they have! While not a hike, the kids loved that it almost felt like a hike as we wound our way through lush gardens that felt as far from the city as possible…even though the city was just beyond the gates.
Wahiawa Botanical Garden Cost & Tips for Visiting
Price: Admission to the garden is actually free, but parking is not plentiful right in front.
Accessibility: Generally considered easy, the Wahiawa Botanical Garden Loop trail runs through the grounds and is partially paved, making much of the upper areas of the gardens wheelchair accessible. The gulch areas aren’t as accessible and do require a little bit of maneuvering.
Hours: Wahiawa Botanical Garden is open from 9 AM to 4 PM daily and closed on major holidays.
For Photographers/Weddings: To maintain an overall tranquil atmosphere, photographers are required to have permits to shoot weddings and clients at the botanical gardens in Hawaii. I was shooting for fun, so I didn’t need a permit, but to obtain a permit, check out the Honolulu government site for permit applications and information.