he island's capital city is by far the busiest city on Oahu, but for good reason. Honolulu is brimming with key attractions and offers abundant amenities and services for both locals and tourists. Tours of Honolulu are extremely popular and can easily be done without a guide. Some of the best city adventures include visits to the Honolulu Zoo and a tour through the Waikiki Aquarium. Waikiki Beach draws thousands of perennial visitors while at Diamond Head Crater, a moderately strenuous hike pays off with exceptional, panoramic views.
Another of the top attractions is famous for scores of stunning island blooms—Oahu's Lyon Arboretum, which is located at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Honolulu arboretum comprises a vast rain forest area thriving with more than 7,000 plants easily seen along any of the hiking trails crossing the area. Most visitors can't help but be intrigued by the many species of exotic flora evident throughout Oahu and the islands of Maui, Kauai, and Big Island. Lyon Arboretum offers an opportunity to understand more about native plants. World renowned for tropical blossoms, the famous Hawaiian lei is made from some of the very flowers seen at the Lyon Arboretum Honolulu.
Along with native flower species, visitors can also see a variety of the island's tropical plants and trees in a natural setting. Exhibited throughout a charming public garden setting, the Lyon Arboretum is enveloped by the verdant Manoa Valley. Visitors are surrounded by thick forests while strolling along the stone road where only natural sounds of the wind and the birds are audible. With almost 200 acres to explore and many special gardens to see, it's hardly noticeable that Lyon Arboretum Honolulu is a public garden as it sits immersed in silence.
There are many species of annual blooms at the Honolulu Arboretum that are mainstays on every tour, more than 200 that are native to the Hawaiian islands. Combined, there are about 7,500 plant varieties from Asia and the Pacific Basin. Another of the most popular and magnificent plant species at Lyon Arboretum is the heliconia, of which there are more than twenty varieties. Complimentary maps at the Honolulu arboretum offer information about the trails, plants varieties, and specific gardens, as well as details about the garden's birds. At the visitors center, guests can purchase drinks, snacks, books, and souvenirs.
There are two ways to tour the Lyon Arboretum Honolulu. Self-guided tours are possible Monday through Friday between 9 am and 4 pm and on Saturdays until 3 pm. Guided tours are available on a daily basis, Monday through Friday at 10am, for a nominal fee, but be sure to reserve a spot a day in advance. When driving rental cars to the arboretum in Oahu, follow University Road to Oahu Avenue and make a right on Manoa Road after the UH Campus. From there, signs direct traffic to the facility.
A visit to the arboretum can take anywhere from one hour to half a day or more for those wanting to explore the site in more depth. If you're planning on heading over for a short visit, there are many other things to do in Oahu within the vicinity. Scenic Puu Ulalakaa State Park is nearby, and Manoa Falls can be accessed via a 1.5-mile hike from the arboretum. For a splash in the warm waters visit Waikiki Beach, and continue a tour through the nearby aquarium to see many of Oahu's marine species.