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“Hawaiian Islands Microcosm”

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Papaikou
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) Scientific and Educational non-profit, whose mission is to serve as a nature preserve and sanctuary, a living seed bank, and a study center for trees and plants of the tropical world. The Garden is dedicated to the collection and display of the world's tropical plants,and to the education of both children and adults about the plight of the world's rainforests. At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing at an alarming rate, the Garden is working to preserve as many species as possible for the benefit of future generations.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

This was one of our highlights on our trip to Hawaii, which included the Big Island, Maui, Kaua'i, and Oahu. Even though the day was somewhat overcast, with an occasional drizzle of rain, this garden was beautiful. The vegetation was lush, colorful, varied, and clearly labeled. The waterfall was stunning and located off to one side with a nice bench for quiet meditation and contemplation.
The stream flows down into the ocean where there are dramatic views of waves crashing on to interesting rock formations (an arch can be viewed from the road above when leaving the garden by car). I actually felt that if you only had 2 hours to spend in the Islands, this would be the place to be. Even the gift shop was nice, and umbrellas are available to borrow.
My only criticism is that I felt the bird house, with its South American parrots, was a bit out of place and somewhat tacky in these natural environs.

1  Thank Kevin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"golf cart ride"
in 32 reviews
"flowers and plants"
in 32 reviews
"twin rocks"
in 25 reviews
"gift shop"
in 104 reviews
"onomea bay"
in 62 reviews
"mosquito repellent"
in 24 reviews
"the big island"
in 159 reviews
"steep walk"
in 32 reviews
"non profit"
in 26 reviews
"scenic route"
in 30 reviews
"view of the ocean"
in 27 reviews
"miles north of hilo"
in 17 reviews
"entry fee"
in 25 reviews
"two hours"
in 41 reviews
"crashing waves"
in 21 reviews
"bring your camera"
in 24 reviews
"beautiful walk"
in 18 reviews

1,197 - 1,201 of 1,545 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2013

I wouldn't call this place "average" by a long shot, but neither can i call it "very good" - if there was a "good" option, I would have chosen it. I wish I had realized that there are coupons as others mention. Because while I enjoyed this place I thought that the price was bordering on ridiculous. ( Plus I dragged my husband through here and he is just not as interested in plants and trees as I am.) There are some spectacular flowers and even an impressive wooden tiki sculpture/carving, and at least one great view of the ocean that is only accessible if you are in the gardens. But the specimens are not well labeled -- there are signs but its often hard to tell what plant they are referring to. There is also just not enough information generally other than the signs for the plants and one small sign with information on the founders of the gardens. Supposedly the garden is supposed to encourage conservation but there is no information whether certain specimens are endangered/in decline and if so, why, or what efforts the garden is involved in, what the situation is regarding native flora in Hawaii in particular. There is a large bird cage containing what I think are macaws, but there was no sign or information about these poor birds. Many if not most of the plants there are not native to Hawaii, which I thought was a bit odd. (Would make sense to have a Hawaii area and an "other" area, or if not, to explain why it was important to include non native species.) There are different "paths" but other than perhaps the orchid walk, they aren't very distinguishable from one another- and they are not really paths, the orchids are really all in one spot, not along a path. The paths are all very short, so that is good if you are looking for somewhere to spend a leisurely afternoon rather than a hike. The waterfall is nice. As some had mentioned it was very humid and hot here but obv that is not something the garden can control, but you should make sure to have water and be prepared for it. In general it is pretty here but Hawaii is full of pretty scenery, so I personally would like to have had more information on what the entrance fees are being spent on.

2  Thank Verovee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2013

We took the road less travelled and stumbled upon the parking lot and entrance. We had been driving around the island from the Kona side and thought it would be nice to stretch and walk. We had no idea the gem this was. We paid the fifteen dollar admission fee and bought a 1.00 tube of mosquito repellant. It was more than nice. (Wear comfortable walking shoes as the path climbs down to the ocean.) There are many varieties of exotic plants and it is amazing to think it was one man's dream. We could have spent three hours or so just walking. There is an ancient gravesite, koi pond, parrot house, and ocean spray in addition to the beauty of the garden itself.

Thank JeriLG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

This is one of the major highlights on the big island. I would put it on the must see list. In a leasurly 2-3 hour walk you will see an amazing variety of plants and flowers. Many of these plants are not "native" to Hawaii as they have been introduced over the centuries by the many travellers making a stop in the islands. Non-the-less, this is the Hawaii most of us mainlanders love to associate with our visit to paradise.

Thank lawdawg1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 10, 2013

We came to Hilo on a cruise and had one day to see the area and this caught our eye. Not that you can't see beautiful plants everywhere in Hawaii but there was such an abundance in a small area. As expected it was very warm and humid but halfway through you come out by the ocean and there is a fabulously refreshing breeze the reenergizes one for the rest of the exploration. Amazing place created by a couple who were only looking for a vacation place many years ago.

Thank Joe C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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