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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting to Know Hawaii: Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

The Need to Knows:
  • The Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden is located at 45-680 Luluku Road, Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744.  Check out the Google Maps location below:
  • Hours are from 9 AM to 4 PM, and admission to the garden is completely free, including parking.
  • Restrooms are located at the Visitor's Center near the garden's entrance and possibly elsewhere (I think close to the lake), but I'll have to double check.
  • I would highly recommend sunscreen and bug spray (the mosquitoes can be fierce!).
  • You can spend as much or as little time as you'd like here, it just depends on how much you're willing to explore.  Our visit probably lasted between 1 and 2 hours.
  • Camping is permitted and free, just be sure to notify the Visitor's Center so they can set you up with the appropriate pass for your car.
  • Alcohol is not permitted in the park, and neither are pets.
  • Catch and release fishing is permitted on (I think) weekends from 10AM to 2PM, but I'll double check that as well.
  • Free guided nature hikes are available on Saturdays at 10AM and on Sundays at 1PM -- call (808) 233-7323 to register.
  • If you'd like any more information, please check out their website here or contact the Honolulu Botanical Gardens division of the Department of Parks and Recreation at either hbg@honolulu.gov or (808) 522-7060.

On the road looking back towards Kaneohe Bay
The Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden is a lovely and huge botanical garden located on the windward side of Oahu in Kaneohe, originally built to provide flood protection for Kaneohe.  It's nestled at the foot of the gorgeous Ko'olau Mountain range and has sections representing plants from all over the world -- Philippines, Hawaii, Africa, Sri Lanka and India, Polynesia, Melanesia, Malaysia, and Tropical America.  The different sections are actually quite large, so I recommend driving to each one you'd like to explore.  Otherwise you're in for a pretty long walk!

Visitor's Center

The visitor's center (which is also a fabulous place to take some pictures of your group!) offers water fountains, restrooms, and some information on the different areas of the park to help get you started.  On this day we took a stroll around the visitor's center and to the lake to check out what the grounds had to offer.

Beautiful statue we saw at the Visitor's Center

The lake on the property where you can do catch and release fishing on the weekends

While you're walking around the grounds, be prepared for LOTS of different kinds of flowers and trees along with those amazing views of the Ko'olaus to attract your attention.  Here's a sampling (yes, this is seriously just a portion!) of what we saw below:

There's such an enormous amount of gorgeous nature to keep yourself occupied, and if that's your kind of thing you will be more than satisfied!  And then, of course, there are the ever-present Ko'olaus residing over it all.  The Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden arguably has some of the best views of the beautiful cliffs!

After visiting the lake, we hopped in the car and took a little drive down the road to see some of the other parts of the park.  We didn't have enough time to get out and explore each area though, so hopefully we will do more of that later.  There are definitely plenty of places to spread out and get some privacy though, which is awesome.

We had a great time exploring the little portion of the garden that we got to see, and hopefully we'll go back a few more times before we say goodbye to Oahu especially since the atmosphere was so relaxing.

Are you a fan of botanical gardens?  Do you have a favorite?

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