The Hawaiian Islands have much more that sand and surf to offer family travelers! Those wishing to check out the lush, tropical heart of the island can take a break from the beach and venture to the Wahiawa Botanical Garden. This small garden is tucked away in the Army town of Wahiawa, home to Schofield Barracks Military Reservation, Hawaii's largest Army base, on Oahu’s central plain just off the H-2 on your way to or from the North Shore. The 27 acre garden, part of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens collection of five different gardens (Foster, Lili’uokalani, Koko Crater, Ho’omaluhia, and Wahiawa) across Oahu, was originally leased by the State of Hawaii to the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association as a site for experimental tree planting. It opened as a Botanical Garden in 1957 and offers a diverse selection of tropical plants and flowers focusing on such arid species such as bromeliads, heliconia, and Hawaiian ferns. This garden is smaller that some of the other gardens found on Oahu but does boast a wide variety of tropical species. Visitors may request a guided tour from one of the garden’s docents, otherwise, tours are self-guided, using information panels and signs next to the plants. Visitors to the garden are forbidden from touching any of the plants, especially since some of them are poisonous and may provoke harmful reactions if touched. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on inquisitive children. Nonetheless, it is a very nice spot to stop and have a picnic or take a stroll along the garden's shady paths. There are some nice places within the garden to take photos and numerous benches to sit down and relax on. Most of the pathways throughout the garden are paved and easily accessible for strollers and novice walking toddlers. Overall, this is a quaint, scenic garden. However, because of its small size, distance from other attractions, and the amount of other terrific things for visitors to do on Oahu, it is not something that we would particularly recommend your family make a special effort to load up the car and make a specific trip to, but if you happen to be in the area, or going to or from the North Shore beaches or nearby Dole Plantation, and want to get out and stretch your legs, this is a nice side excursion. If you are kama’aina and have more time to explore, then we definitely recommend taking a few hours on a lazy weekend afternoon to wonder through the garden’s grounds. Entrance to the gardens and parking are free which is another added benefit! There are restroom facilities available at the garden’s Visitor Center. We highly recommend taking along some insect repellent! The mosquitos thrive here! Wahiawa is filled with its share of restaurants and the typical fast food chains if you are looking for a bite to eat while there. Garden hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily. For more information you can check out the gardens website at http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/wbg.htm.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.