Waikiki Aquarium

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The Waikiki Aquarium is a marine science institution in the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii. Founded in 1904, this marine aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. Since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium has been an institution of the University of Hawaii System.

Built near a living coral reef on the Waikiki shoreline, the Waikiki Aquarium is home to more than 3,055 organisms of 464 species of marine plants and animals. Each year, over 350,000 people visit. The Waikiki Aquarium was designated a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center of the Coastal America Partnership federal program.


The Waikiki Aquarium was established on March 19, 1904 by the Honolulu Rapid Transit Authority, a forerunner of the present-day TheBus. It was hoped that the aquarium would entice travelers to ride the trolley all the way to the end of the line at Queen Kapiolani Park. It was built on land donated by James Bicknell Castle with funds from Charles Montague Cooke and his wife Anna Rice Cooke.

William Jennings Bryan and Jack London traveled to Honolulu to see the Waikiki Aquarium first hand. Biologist David Starr Jordan said the Waikiki Aquarium had the finest collection of fishes in the world.


The Hawaiian butterflyfish is named Chaetodon tinkeri in honor of Spencer Tinker who became the Aquarium's second director in 1940.

The aquarium's live fish gathering has a...
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