Hawaii is one of the most popular touristic areas on the planet. Blessed with incredible weather, beautiful scenery, friendly people, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere for all to enjoy at any time of year, the Aloha State is a magical place to visit. Of all the Hawaiian Islands, O'ahu is typically seen as the best one to visit due to the fact that it hosts the majority of the state's population, as well as the state capital city of Honolulu. O'ahu, also known as 'The Gathering Place' has a lot of gorgeous scenery to see, and one of the best ways to appreciate is via a good, old-fashioned trolley tour. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Waikiki Trolley Rides

Waikiki Trolley Rides
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Waikiki Trolley, an O'ahu-based transportation company, has been operating trolley tours of Hawaii for many years now. The company first got started in 1986 and had just two buses to its name, but has grown and evolved over the years to a point where it can now boast of more than 50 individual trolleys and multiple routes and tours all around O'ahu. Despite its name, Waikiki Trolley doesn't just operate in Waikiki; it also runs tours through Honolulu and the eastern part of O'ahu, with a total of five different lines.

Riding with Waikiki Trolley

Waikiki Trolley is one of the best travel companies operating on O'ahu and offers a wonderful way to explore the island, soaking up some Hawaiian culture along the way. The best part about Waikiki Trolley is the variety; each of the five lines has a theme, ensuring that there's an option to suit everyone. The Purple Line, for example, visits Pearl Harbor and is focused on key historical locations, while the Pink Line is all about shopping, taking you to the best shopping areas in Waikiki. No matter what kind of experience you're looking for, Waikiki Trolley can make it happen.

All tickets can be purchased in advance online and another cool feature of Waikiki Trolley is the option to purchase multi-day passes for discounted trolley tours of O'ahu. If you happen to be staying in the Waikiki area for a week, for example, you could invest in a 7-day Waikiki Trolley pass for the affordable online exclusive price of just $63. This pass provides unlimited rides and full access to all five of the Waikiki Trolley lines over the course of a 7-day period, letting you get the full Waikiki Trolley experience and see all there is to see for an incredible price. 1-day and 4-day passes are available too, as well as low cost single line passes offering access to just one of the Waikiki Trolley Lines.

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2.Waikiki Trolley Lines

Waikiki Trolley Lines
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As previously mentioned, Waikiki Trolley operates on five distinct lines all around Waikiki and the surrounding areas. Read on to learn all about each of these lines and choose which one you’d like to try first.

- Red Line - Downtown Honolulu Sightseeing Tour

The Red Line from Waikiki Trolley is focused in the Hawaiian capital city of Honolulu. On this trolley tour, you'll be able to see and experience the many sights and sounds of the Aloha State's liveliest location. You'll learn more about the history and stories of this beautiful city, checking out various key locations like Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, as well as passing by major landmarks like Punchbowl Crater and Iolani Palace. The Red Line tour begins at 8.45 each morning at T Galleria Hawaii, but can also be caught a little earlier at the Trump Hotel and Ilikai Hotel.

- Purple Line - Pearl Harbor

The Purple Line is dedicated to history, stopping off at one of the most tragically important locations in Hawaii's history: Pearl Harbor. This famous location was attacked by the Japanese during World War II in a moment that represented a key turning point in the global conflict, triggering America's entry into the war. A visit to Pearl Harbor is a special and significant experience for any American, with the site attracting many international tourists too. The first Purple Line tour leaves from T Galleria at 7am, with more tours running every hour and ten minutes after that. This Waikiki Trolley tour also calls at Pier 38 and Aloha Stadium.

- Pink Line - Waikiki Shopping

The Pink Line is the Waikiki Trolley tour to take if you're looking to spend some cash on the things you love. This is the major shopping line for Waikiki Trolley, visiting the Ala Moana Center, which is the biggest mall in all of Hawaii, covering several million square feet in total. You can buy almost anything imaginable in this mall, from home goods to attire, jewelry, books, gifts, souvenirs, and so much more. The mall is also equipped with many eateries and bars, and the Pink Line tour from Waikiki Trolley also calls at other shopping areas like the Royal Hawaiian Center and DFS Galleria. This tour starts at 8.50 am and runs every 10 minutes, taking just 20-25 minutes to get to the Ala Moana Center from T Galleria.

- Blue Line - Panoramic Coastline

The Blue Line is the one to take if you'd like to see the beautiful landscapes and ocean views that Hawaii is famous for. This tour runs along some of the prettiest part of O'ahu's coastline, blowing passengers away with awe-inspiring views in every direction. Cliffs and lush vegetation will be on one side of you, with sparkling turquoise waters on the other. You might even spot some whales or dolphins along the way! This is one of the longest tours from Waikiki Trolley, running for two and a half hours in total. The first tour leaves from T Galleria at 8.42 in the morning, and two more tours leave each day at 11 am and 1.30 pm.

- Green Line - Diamond Head

Last but not least, we come to the Green Line, also known as the Scenic Diamond Head Line. This is a sightseeing tour from Waikiki Trolley that will hold a lot of appeal for tourists in the area. It takes in the beauty and magic of Diamond Head, the most famous landmark in all of Hawai, as well as visiting several super family attractions along the way like the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. Whether you're looking for a scenic hike or some animal encounters, this is a great line to choose and the first tour leaves from T Galleria at 7.35 am, with additional trolleys leaving every 35 minutes after that. The full tour takes just over an hour.

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5 Best Waikiki Trolley Rides

More Ideas: Queen Emma Summer Palace

Located near downtown Honolulu, Hawaii, the Queen Emma Summer Palace, also known as Hanaiakamalama, is a living history museum preserving the summer retreat home of King Kamehameha IV and his wife, Queen Emma Kaleleonalani Rooke. Emma Kalanikaumaka'amano Kaleleonalani Na'ea Rooke was born on January 2, 1836, the daughter of High Chief George Na'ea and High Chiefess Fanny Kekelaokalani Young.


According to Hawaiian tradition, she was adopted into the family of her maternal aunt, Grace Kama'iku'i Young Rooke, and educated by American missionaries at the Royal School of Hawaii. In 1856, she married Alexander ?Iolani Liholiho, who assumed the throne as Hawaii’s fourth monarch under the title of Kamehameha IV. Following her husband’s death in 1862, Queen Emma ran against David Kalakaua in the 1874 royal election, but despite her popular support, she was defeated on a 39-6 vote in Hawaii’s Legislative Assembly and retired from public service shortly thereafter.

The frame for Emma’s summer estate was constructed in Boston in 1848 and assembled on property owned by the Kingdom of Hawai’i in Oahu’s Nu?uanu Valley, a long-established site for Hawaiian royalty property. The estate was purchased by Emma’s uncle, Keoni Ana, in 1850, and presented as a gift to Emma in 1857. From 1857 until her death in 1885, the estate served as a retreat home for Emma and her family. Following her death, the estate was purchased by the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and in 1911, it was transferred to the control of the City and County of Honolulu for use as a public park. The estate was nearly lost in 1915 as part of plans to build a baseball stadium in Honolulu, but was subsequently purchased by the Daughters of Hawai’i, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional Hawaiian culture. In 1973, the estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ensuring its permanent preservation as a Hawaiian landmark.

Permanent Attractions

Today, the estate and its grounds are operated as a living history museum by the Daughters of Hawai’i, which also maintains and operates the nearby Hulihe‘e Palace. The 2.16-acre homestead is a one-story Greek Revival estate with colonial-style Doric pillars, surrounded by gardens landscaped with native Hawaiian plants. Guided tours of the facility for small groups and organizations may be scheduled privately in advance by contacting the Daughters of Hawai’i. A small gift shop on site also sells handcrafted items by local artisans and publications by the Daughters of Hawai’i.

The estate has been preserved in its original condition as a royal residence, displaying many personal possessions that once belonged to Queen Emma, King Kamehameha, and their son, Prince Albert Edward Kamehameha. The house is divided into seven rooms, including an Entrance Hall displaying a royal coat of arms and several portraits of important Hawaiian royal and historical figures. The Front Bedroom, which formerly served as the estate’s dining room, contains a sleigh bed belonging to Queen Emma and a cradle and bathtub used by the young Prince Albert Edward. More of the Prince’s possessions, including a koa crib and a display cabinet containing an authentic velvet suit, can be seen in the Back Bedroom. The estate’s Parlor contains a baby grand piano owned by the queen, and a Cloak Room displays preserved royal feather cloaks. A Center Hall connects the estate’s main rooms and features artifacts such as a stereopticon given to the Queen by Napoleon III on an 1865 visit to France. The Edinburgh Room, added to the estate in 1869 in advance of a visit with the Duke of Edinburgh, contains rosewood furniture and a royal cabinet holding china given to the Queen as a present by Queen Victoria.

Ongoing Programs and Events

In addition to private tours, two areas of the estate’s grounds may be rented as private special events venues. The 50-seat, 1,400-square-foot Prince Albert Terrace is as a popular venue for weddings, surrounded by landscaped gardens overlooking Nu’uanu Park. Emmalani Hale serves as a conference center and event venue, featuring an open-air multipurpose space with seating for over 1,000, a pull-down projector screen, and a small kitchen facility for catering. Tables and chairs, bar service, and a small stage may be provided upon request with venue rental, although catering and valet parking services must be arranged by the renter.

A variety of cultural classes are held weekly at the estate, including ukulele, quilting, and hula lessons. The estate also serves as the meeting place for rehearsals for the Emmalani Serenaders, a community choral group for vocalists of all ages and skill levels. Periodic special events are held at the estate and the nearby Hulihe‘e Palace commemorating important Hawaiian public days and historic royal family member birthdays.

2913 Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817, Phone: 808-595-3167

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More Ideas: Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo is an island attraction that is sure to inspire and educate visitors of all ages. Spanning 300 acres of land, exhibits here teach visitors about the animals and the environment of the Pacific tropical ecosystem. The zoo aims to promote traditional Hawaiian values of hospitality and caring. This important institution plays a key role in conservation and repopulation efforts for endangered species. Due to their efforts in this regard, visitors are given a rare and unique opportunity to observe many mammalian, avian, and reptilian species that are on the brink of extinction. Further, guest can get an inside look at the distinct ecological landscape of the Hawaiian islands through the native species on display.


Back in 1877, when Hawaii was still a monarchy, King David Kalakaua created the Kapiolani Regional Park, which was the precursor to the Honolulu Zoo. Originally, it only displayed the king’s private collection of birds and a horse racing track. Later in 1914, and under the direction of the first park director, Ben Hollinger, the institution started to collect other animals to display to the people of Hawaii. Though Hollinger managed to acquire a monkey, a bear, and an African elephant, the institution was mainly known for its birds-of-paradise collection. The modern version of Honolulu Zoo as visitors see it today didn’t emerge until 1984, when the zoo grounds were organized according to ecological zones rather than taxonomic groupings of animals. Currently, the zoo displays animals from three ecological zones: Pacific islands, African savannah, and Asian and American tropical forests.



Perhaps no other animal is as emblematic of the continent of Africa as the zebra. These social animals are well known for their herd mentality. To keep an eye out for predators, zebras take turns sleeping, signaling safety with a neighing vocalization. The zebra’s ears are a good indication of its mood. Calm moods are indicated with erect ears, while anger is shown with pulled back ears, and forward facing ears indicate fear.


Arriving at Honolulu Zoo by way of a gift exchange with Asa Zoo in Hiroshima, Honolulu’s sister city, the three giant young salamanders in residence attract much attention from visitors. Maru, Panda, and Peace are all known to have distinct personalities. This is especially astonishing given that these creatures have poor vision and are nocturnal by nature. Despite this, their singular behavior continues to draw crowds.


Those interested in record-breaking predators that are indisputably at the top of the food chain will be interested in visiting the Komodo dragon. Ranging in size from 8 to 10 feet, these mighty beasts are known as the heaviest living lizards in the world. The Komodo dragon has many adaptations that allow it to find prey, sometimes from up to 5 miles away. Similar to the jaws of sharks, the Komodo dragon’s mouth has 60 teeth with serrated edges as well as bacteria that are known to infect and kill any prey fortunate enough to escape its mighty jaws. Added to that, the Komodo dragon also holds a venom gland that allows it to disable their prey while taking out large chunks of the flesh.


By far some of the most photogenic residents of the Honolulu Zoo are its birds-of-paradise. Known for their gorgeous plumage and intricate mating rituals, these winged wonders actually share a lot of common characteristics with the common crow. Birds-of-paradise typically prefer to lead a solitary tree-bound existence, which means that visitors are likely to hear their characteristic vocalizations before spotting them. Honolulu Zoo is home to three species of birds-of-paradise: the Raggiana bird-of-paradise, the magnificent bird-of-paradise, and the superb bird-of-paradise. Just as their names suggest, these beautiful creatures are bound to delight all those who behold them.

Native Hawaiian Species

No visit is complete without a picture of the nene, the state bird of Hawaii. This well-known species of goose is the only such bird endemic to the Hawaiian archipelago. Sadly, it is currently considered endangered by the state and federal governments. It is a non-migratory, semi-terrestrial bird. Originally subsisting on dry shrubbery growing near Hawaii’s lava fields, the nene population has dwindled due to a loss of its natural habitat, which happened in part due to the development of the land for human use as well the introduction of non-native species.

151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, Phone: 808-971-7171

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More Ideas: Waikiki Aquarium

Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Waikiki Aquarium is a part of the University of Hawaii and aims to promote the appreciation, understanding, and conservation of marine life in the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can expect to see world-class exhibitions, unique events, and a wide variety of rare Pacific marine life. The Waikiki Aquarium opened its doors in the spring of 1904, making it the 2nd oldest aquarium in the country! When the aquarium originally opened its doors, it was known as the Honolulu Aquarium, its goal was to showcase the rare and breathtaking ocean reefs in Hawaii.


The aquarium’s construction was funded by the Honolulu Rapid Transit and Land Company. This helped the company entice passengers into staying on the trolley to the very end; the Aquarium.

When the aquarium opened it had 35 tanks and about 400 marine animals. During the very first year, the aquarium was said to have “the finest collection of fishes in the world” by David Starr, an internationally renowned biologist.

Throughout its rich history, the aquarium has undergone many expansions and celebrated many achievements. Most notably, it has recently celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2014. The aquarium is still renowned for its vast collection and world-class exhibitions to this day.


Amazing Adaptations:This exhibit features the unusual creatures within the Synghathidae family; sea dragons, seahorses, and pipefishes. These creatures are displayed in a 60-foot, 3,000-gallons exhibit.

Corals Are Alive:This exhibit features a wide variety of colorful corals from the coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can watch the live coral grow and reproduce as they learn all about the life cycle of different coral species.

South Pacific Marine Communities:This exhibit highlights the extremely diverse marine life that resides on the coral reefs within the Pacific Ocean. There are more than 4,000 species of fish and approximately 400 coral reef species.

Jet Set:This exhibit features animals that can propel themselves through jet propulsion, including the nautilus, the octopus, and the squid.

Hawaiian Marine Communities:This exhibit features the marine life native to the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. The various parts of this exhibit are divided into galleries based on each chain of islands and the special, unique creatures that reside there.

Ocean Drifters:This exhibit features the magical jellyfish! There are a wide variety of species on rotating display including moon jellies, Atlantic sea nettles, blue bubblers, and lagoon jellies.

Hunters on the Reef:This exhibit features the animals that find themselves at the top of the food chain among the reef – including sharks, jacks, and groupers.

Diversity and Adaptations:This exhibit features smaller animals that use deception, venom, and armor to defend themselves and find food. Seahorses, shrimp, eels, and frogfish are all on display.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands:This exhibit features animals from the largest conservation reef in the United States – the Papahanaunokuakea Marine National Monument. This area is home to more than 7,000 different species of marine life and the aquarium has many of them on display.

Marine Protected Areas and Conservation:This exhibit features animals that reside in the protected harbors of the Pacific Ocean, including the Asian arowana, tilapia, and stream gobies.

Edge of the Reef:This exhibit is a huge outdoor exhibit with more than 7,500-gallons with thousands of animals that call the Hawaiian shoreline home. Species like the yellow tang, the pufferfish, and the triggerfish are all on display in this gorgeous gallery.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat:This exhibit features the playful and endangered Monk Seal! These amazing creatures are one of the most critically endangered species in the world and their health and safety is a huge priority to the aquarium.

Ocean Aquaculture:This exhibit features the Pacific Six Fingered Threadfin. This fish is a popular food item among the locals and used to be known as a royal food.

Coral Farm:This exhibit features a 250-gallon outdoor coral cultivation garden where visitors can learn all about how to protect and preserve coral.

Giant Clams:This exhibit features giant clams which reside in the reefs of the Pacific Ocean – some of these beauties can reach 3 feet long and more than 500 pounds.

Upcoming Events:

Critter Encounters:Every Monday morning from 9:30 – 10:30, visitors can get a behind the scenes look at the animals that call Hawaiian reefs home. Guests can hold Seastars, sea cucumbers, and even feed a live anemone. This is perfect for families and children over the age of 4, the cost is $5 per person.

Afternoons at the Aquarium:Every Wednesday afternoon from 3:00 – 4:00, visitors can attend an interactive learning activity at the aquarium. Admission is free with entrance to the aquarium and the event is perfect for the family that loves science!

Behind the Scenes Tours:Every Thursday afternoon from 3:00 – 4:00, visitors can take a tour and learn about what it takes to keep an aquarium running smoothly!

Additional Information:

Waikiki Aquarium, 2777 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815, Phone: 808-923-9741

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