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Discovering the Wildlife of Hawaii with Kids

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and many families choose to vacation there to take in the natural beauty, explore the culture, and discover the rich wildlife. From the majestic humpback whales to the colorful rainbow-hued birds, there’s something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ways that families can discover Hawaii’s wildlife with their kids.

Where to Spot Wildlife

The first step to discovering Hawaii’s wildlife is knowing where to look. The best places to spot wildlife in Hawaii vary from island to island, but there are a few spots that are popular with tourists and locals alike. The beaches of Maui and Kauai are great for spotting whales, dolphins, and other aquatic creatures, while the rainforests of the Big Island are a great place to observe birds and other terrestrial wildlife. In addition, there are national parks and other protected areas throughout the islands that are excellent spots for wildlife-watching.

If your family has limited time, the best bet is to take a guided tour or hire a local guide who knows the area and can point out the best spots for wildlife-viewing. There are also a few boat tours that take visitors out to sea in search of whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures.

No matter where you go, it’s important to be respectful of the wildlife. Never feed or approach the animals, as this can disturb them and put them at risk. Instead, use binoculars or a telephoto lens to observe them from a safe distance.

Best Time to View Wildlife

The timing of your wildlife-viewing excursion is just as important as the location. Different species migrate at different times of the year, and some are only visible during certain times of the day. For example, whales migrate to Hawaii in the winter and can be seen from December to April. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, so if your family wants to spot whales, it’s best to plan a trip during those times.

Other species, such as dolphins, are more active during the summer and can be seen throughout the day. Birds are active year-round, but they are most visible during the early morning and late afternoon. For the best chance of seeing birds, plan your excursion for the early morning hours when they are most active.

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It’s also important to keep in mind the weather conditions when planning your wildlife-viewing trip. Rainy weather can make it difficult to spot animals, as they tend to hide from the rain. It’s best to plan your trips on days with clear skies and mild temperatures for the best chance of spotting wildlife.

Equipment Needed for Wildlife-Viewing

Once you know where and when to go, it’s time to prepare for your wildlife-viewing trip. The most important piece of equipment for wildlife-viewing is a pair of binoculars. Binoculars allow you to get a closer look at the animals from a safe distance. You can also use a telephoto lens if you have one, as this will allow you to zoom in on the animals and get a better view.

It’s also important to dress appropriately for your trip. Wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for the weather conditions and bring a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. You should also bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized. Finally, bring a camera or phone to take pictures of the animals you spot.

Educational Activities

One of the best ways to make your wildlife-viewing trip educational is to bring along some educational activities. There are a variety of books and other materials available that are tailored to the age of your children and provide fun, interactive activities related to wildlife. These activities can help your kids learn more about the animals they are seeing and understand their importance to the environment.

Another great educational activity is to take a guided tour with a local expert. A local guide can provide important information about the animals and their habitats, as well as point out interesting facts about the species. This can be a great way to spark your children’s interest in wildlife and develop a deeper appreciation for nature.

Wildlife-Friendly Accommodations

If your family is looking for a truly immersive wildlife experience, then consider staying in a wildlife-friendly accommodation. These accommodations are usually located close to nature and provide an up-close look at the local wildlife. Many of these accommodations also offer guided tours and other activities that allow visitors to get even closer to the wildlife.

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These accommodations are often located in remote areas, so it’s important to research the area before booking. Make sure that the accommodation is located in a safe area and that the staff are knowledgeable about the local wildlife and their habitats. This will ensure that your family has a safe and enjoyable experience.

Wildlife-Watching Safety Tips

Wildlife-watching is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to follow some basic safety tips to ensure that you and the wildlife remain safe. Always stay at least 50 feet away from the animals and never attempt to feed or approach them. Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for any signs of aggression from the animals.

It’s also important to be respectful of the wildlife and their habitats. Don’t litter or leave any trace of your visit, as this can disturb the animals and put them at risk. Finally, be sure to always follow the rules and regulations of the area you are visiting.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of species, some of which are endangered or threatened due to human activities. Thankfully, there are a number of organizations and initiatives in Hawaii that are working to protect these species and their habitats. These efforts include habitat restoration, public education campaigns, and species reintroduction programs.

If your family is interested in learning more about wildlife conservation in Hawaii, there are a number of organizations that offer educational programs and volunteer opportunities. These programs provide a great way for families to learn more about the local wildlife and make a positive impact on their conservation.

Wildlife-Viewing Tours

If your family is looking for a more structured way to observe wildlife in Hawaii, then consider taking a wildlife-viewing tour. These tours provide an up-close look at the local wildlife and are often led by experienced guides who can provide insights on the animals and their habitats. There are a variety of tours available, from boat tours to kayak tours, so you can find one that best suits your family’s needs.

Wildlife-viewing tours can be a great way to see the wildlife of Hawaii in a safe, controlled environment. Plus, the guides often provide interesting facts and stories about the animals, which can be a great way to engage your children in the experience.

Animal Encounters

For those who want to get even closer to the wildlife, there are a few animal encounters available in Hawaii. These encounters allow visitors to interact with certain species, such as dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays. These encounters are usually conducted in a safe, controlled environment and provide a unique and memorable experience.

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Before booking an animal encounter, be sure to research the company to ensure that it is reputable and follows ethical practices. It’s also important to make sure that the species you are interacting with are not endangered or threatened.


Hawaii is an incredible destination for families looking to observe and explore the natural wildlife. Whether you choose to go on a guided tour, stay in a wildlife-friendly accommodation, or take part in an animal encounter, there are plenty of ways to discover the wildlife of Hawaii with your kids. Just remember to be respectful of the wildlife and their habitats and always follow the rules and regulations of the area.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your family has a safe and enjoyable experience discovering the wildlife of Hawaii.