Oahu is a most fitting location for botanical gardens. The island is home to myriad flower species, a major highlight of any visit and a feature impossible to miss. Painting an island palette with every hue imaginable, Oahu's flowers are an integral local element adding to a true Hawaiian experience. The flower lei, one of the most recognizable cultural symbols of Hawaii, is famous for its scent and vibrancy, and it is created from a variety of special island blooms. Plant life abounds in all the natural areas as well as throughout more than two dozen Oahu botanical gardens. With most Oahu gardens offering free admission, garden tours are one of the most popular Oahu attractions.
Some of the top Oahu botanical gardens are located in Honolulu, the island's capital. Offering a slew of things to do and sights to see, this is one of the Hawaiian islands' busiest cities, which often becomes extremely crowded at peak tourist periods. Tours of any of the Honolulu botanical gardens provide an ideal way to soak up some peace and quiet and see the most beautiful flowers in some of the island's most serene settings.
Foster Botanical Garden is famous for its collection of palms, Lyon and hybrid orchids, trees, and a prehistoric glade. Located in the heart of the city, this is one of the prize Honolulu botanical gardens—and the oldest—and a popular stop for both visitors and locals. First planted in the mid-1800s by Doctor William Hillebrand, these Oahu gardens comprise fourteen sweeping acres and mark the start of the Oahu botanical gardens heritage. Foster Garden is within walking distance of Honolulu's Chinatown, where visitors can head for a bite to eat and some more sightseeing.
Two of Oahu's botanical gardens are quite easy to get to and are conveniently located near Chinatown in Honolulu. One is the Foster Botanical Garden, which attracts thousands of visitors a year. The other, just to the north, is the Liliuokalani Botanical Garden, named for Hawaii's last queen. This garden also features a stream, a small waterfall, and nice picnic facilities.
Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden is also part of the collection of top Oahu botanical gardens. Located on 400 acres on the windward side in Kaneohe, these lush gardens can be explored either by foot or by car. Established in 1982, major features include clusters of plants from a wide range of tropical areas around the world. Conservation plays a major role at these Oahu gardens, where sustaining native plants is of the utmost importance. Expect your eyes to be dazzled by an intensity of bright colors from garden highlights such as aroids and palms, heliconias, and ethnobotanical exhibits. Enjoy camping at the on-site campgrounds or picnic in the provided areas.
Additional Honolulu botanical gardens include the Koko Crater Botanical Garden and the Wahiawa Botanical Garden, a heavily treed, tropical ravine spanning more than 27 acres that is situated between the Koolau and Waianae mountain ranges in the center of the island. The Koko Crater Oahu gardens are only partially developed, with plans in action to create a periscope, a special environmental arrangement to decrease water usage by using sustainable growing methods. This design will allow plant life to thrive in otherwise arid conditions.
Liliuokalani Botanical Garden is the smallest of the Honolulu gardens and once belonged to Queen Liliuokalani herself. Plants on almost eight acres were left to the people and city of Honolulu as a gift from the queen, and the garden only features plants native to Hawaii, as well as waterfalls and a stream. If you do happen to miss out on an Oahu botanical gardens tour during your vacation, your last chance is a look around the gardens at Honolulu International Airport.