Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

entrance to Ho'omaluhia

I feel like this post has been a long time coming. I’ve thought about writing it, and then stopped myself. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is one of those places that you know is in every O’ahu visitor’s guide book, but you don’t really want to share it. You want it to be that special place, where you can revel in all its peace and beauty.

I sort of rediscovered it during the pandemic. One of the many COVID rules, when Hawai’i was trying to “figure it out,” was that you could gather outdoors in small groups. Naturally, my girlfriends and I wanted to get together for brunch and decided on having it “picnic style” at Ho’omaluhia.

On this particular outing, I realized that it was the perfect running path. The perfect place to surround yourself in nature and admire the vast trees and plant life. Lots of people love the beaches in Hawai’i, but I truly love our majestic mountains. Ho’omaluhia is the perfect place to admire them.

view of mountains from Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden on the island of O’ahu

History of Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden was opened in 1982. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had finished building a damn to protect the Kaneohe community from flooding previously experienced in the mid to late 1960’s.

The garden celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. They recently dedicated the Visitor’s Center, the Paul R. Weissich Education Center at Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden. Mr. Weissich was the director of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens from 1957 to 1989. He helped establish the Honolulu Botanical Garden system and its 5 locations.

Approximately 1 mile in from the main gate is a visitor’s center. It has 2 large parking lots. You can get a little bit of history, a look at some art work, and an idea of where you might want to explore for the day.

Loko Waimaluhia, Lake of Tranquil Waters

Loko Waimaluhia reservoir on Oahu
Loko Waimaluhia

The reservoir is a prominent part of the gardens, where you can see many koi and ducks. It is called Loko Waimaluhia, which means Lake of Tranquil Waters in Hawaiian.

Previously, there was fishing allowed in the lake during designated times. Although fishing is on hold at the moment, visit the HBG website for updates on availability of this activity.

Explore the Plants and Trees

With a wide variety of plant life, you can explore the gardens and learn the names of some of the plants via posted signs throughout the park. I enjoy the tall bamboo and various ferns that grow there.

view from Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden

Picture Taking

Ho’omaluhia has become a popular place for picture taking. Local families come here to take their holiday photos and tourists come to get that iconic backdrop for their TikTok videos. It’s actually a great place to practice landscape and macro photography.

The groundskeepers are pretty strict about taking pictures close to the road, mainly for safety reasons, but don’t worry! There are lots of plants and places that are away from the road, where you can take great pictures.

Part of the fun is exploring and finding the best shots!

picture of mountains from Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden

Camping

Camping is available on the weekends. Visit the website for further information on how to reserve a campsite.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden on the island of O’ahu

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden Information

  • 45-680 Luluku Rd. Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi 96744
  • Hours: open daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Closed Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Free admission
  • Visit the City and County’s Park’s and Recreation website for more information about the garden (some information for this post was used from this website)
  • Want to visit another botanical garden on O’ahu? Check out Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu

Let me know if you’ve visited Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in the comments!

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