If you want a break from the busy and expensive tourist-driven sites in Hawaii, then you can visit one of the beautiful Hawaiian botanical gardens on Oahu. They are full of tropical flowers and some exceptional exotic trees. It is a good break from the beach and shady enough for midday. These gardens are a perfect way to see Hawaii in all its glory. Here are some of the best Botanical Gardens on Oahu.
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
This is by far an attractive place to picnic and relax. It is in the most idealistic location, just under the Ko’olau Mountains on Oahu, and covers 400 acres. It is truly a nature-lover’s paradise. Children are welcome, and they can learn about all the where the plants originated. They will especially enjoy the ducks that swim in the lake at the bottom of the hill. Bring sunscreen and bug spray, water to drink and bread for the ducks. The park is divided into geographic areas representing plants from Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and other countries. Check the weather first. It is best on an overcast day, but not heavy rain. Restrooms are available as well as picnic areas. Bamboo pole fishing is available on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm (catch and release). Be aware that closing time is 4:00 pm so, plan ahead. The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens will be an enjoyable and memorable experience. Plenty of free parking!
Foster Botanical Garden
This garden covers fourteen acres and has over 10,000 species of rare tropical plants. It was started when Queen Kalama leased a small parcel of land to a German botanist named William Hillebrand in 1853. These rare botanical creations come from all over the world. It smells divine due to the many tropical flowers and trees. There are some amazingly tall trees in this garden. A pamphlet and map is available at the entrance. It is located in Honolulu, but is shielded from the busy city noises by the large plants. One of the world’s rarest and largest flowers is available for viewing. It is called the Amorphophallus Titanum otherwise known as the Corpse flower, and it has a pungent smell when blooming (hence the name). I would recommend walking shoes and bug spray. The Foster Botanical Garden is well kept and workers are very helpful. There are benches to rest along the pathways. There is an orchid greenhouse baring some beauties. It is located next to the Kuan Yin Temple. Cost: $5 Adults, $3 Residents, $1 Children 6-12, Children under 5 free.
Halawa Xeriscape Garden
This is a specialized garden which raises plants requiring little water (xeric). It features plants from around the world, especially dry tropics since it is located on the drier side of the island of Oahu. Featured are many different types of irrigation systems. Pineapple is a crop which grows well in dryer climates, and can be found in the Bromeliad Section. The Halawa Xeriscape Garden is divided into several sections. The Hawaiian Garden showcases plants adapted to hot, dry conditions. This is a true hidden gem on the Leeward Side of Oahu. Cost: Free