Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Wahiawa Botanical Garden – Ravine Park That's Ideal for Birders
The Bottom Line:

Located in the heart of Oahu and Wahiawa, the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is an amazing place to view native and non-native tropical plant species. This is a completely free park that is open throughout daylight hours and one that offers detailed self-guided tours.  

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Wahiawa Botanical Garden is a sprawling 27-acre garden that is located in the heart of Oahu and the city of Wahiawa. The highlight of the garden is an extended ravine that really calls attention to the varied environment of Hawaii.

The land for this park was owned by Hawaiian sugar farmers for a few decades in the early 20th century until they donated it for public use in 1950. In 1957, the local government designated it as a special type of garden that would showcase tropical plant species from the Hawaiian islands as well as from around the globe. 

The parking lot for the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is located on California Avenue where it intersects with Nanea Avenue. Just off of the parking lot, you will find full bathrooms and a small entrance building where you can grab detailed brochures of the park itself that include trail guides. Here is also a good place to learn about any upcoming events taking place at the park. Entry to the park itself is free. 

As you stop at this entrance pavilion, make sure to grab their Bird Checklist for Wahiawa Botanical Garden. This gorgeous color printout features over a dozen of the most commonly cited birds at this location, featuring their picture, common and Latin name, where they’re native to, and even characteristics and information that can help you spot and identify them in the trees. For example, for the Red-Crested or Brazillian Cardinal, this printout advises that the juveniles feature a brown crest and can often be seen following their larger parents. Hawaii is home to a lot of beautiful birds that both call the island home full-time and those who migrate from every global direction. Whether you’re just getting into birding or you’ve been at it for some time, the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is an excellent spot to catch site of some incredible species. 

Once you’re in, plan for at least a one-hour experience as you wander around the various exhibits that will showcase the rich tropical variety of plants that live here. But the emphasis here is on at least. That’s because those who choose to go slower and pay more attention to the self-guided tour experience can expect their visit to take about three hours to see everything this massive garden has to offer. 

There are several different paths you can take as you enter the Wahiawa Botanical Garden, one of which goes down into the ravine. Most of these paths are paved with the steepest including handrails to further help guide visitors along. These handrails also prove to be a big boon during or after rainfall as the paths can get slick. 

Native and naturalized Hawaiian plants are certainly the big draw here, but you’ll also find plenty of non-native plants that hail from the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Australia, and the islands of the South Sea. Some of the species available on display include rainbow eucalyptus, koa, Mexican cedar, elephant apple, and shaving brush trees. Some of these trees date back a century, having been planted by these sugar farmers who had initially used the land for experimental tree planting. 

Insider Tips:
-Want to learn more about the Wahiawa Botanical Garden? While you can grab a self-guided tour map at the entrance of this garden, you can request for a group tour. A group tour is led by an experienced park ranger who will lead your group on a private tour of the grounds, offering a more in-depth education of the park’s history and the varying plant species on display. To book this tour, call (808) 621-5463.
-Remember, this is a large botanical garden with a lot to see and simply experience. If you love meandering these types of rich environments, then you’ll likely be here for a good portion of the morning or afternoon. We recommend planning accordingly and keeping it an enjoyable experience by remembering to pack snacks, beverages, and insect spray.