Waikiki Aquarium Volunteer Opportunities
The Waikiki Aquarium aims to "inspire and promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life." Many wonderful people help to make this mission a reality. These special people, diverse in age, background and experience, are eager to learn more about Hawaii's marine environment and how they can preserve and protect it.
- Edge of the Reef Interpreters
- School Support Program Docents
- Aquarium Interpreters
- Natural Selection Gift Shop
- Special Events
- and more
- Volunteering regularly at the Aquarium brings many rewards:
- "Making a difference" to staff, visitors and marine life
- Extensive training provided by qualified staff
- Continuing education opportunities
- Formal recognition of volunteer efforts (includes annual event, certificates, letter of recommendation, holiday party, etc.)
- Friends of the Waikiki Aquarium membership privileges (includes free admission, publications, special event notices, etc.)
- Gift shop and program discounts
ABOUT WAIKIKI AQUARIUM Founded in 1904 and administered by the University of Hawai'i at Manoa since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium is located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach next to a living reef and across from Kapiolani Park. The Aquarium -- second oldest in the U.S. -- showcases more than 500 marine species, and maintains more than 3,500 marine specimens. Public exhibits, education programs and research focus on the unique aquatic life of Hawai'i and the tropical Pacific.
The Aquarium welcomes more than 320,000 visitors annually, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Honolulu Marathon Sunday and Christmas Day. Admission is $12 for visitors; $8 for local residents and active duty military with ID, $5 for senior citizens and juniors ages four to 12; and free for children three and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium (FOWA) members.
MISSION: To inspire and promote understanding, appreciation and conservation of Pacific marine life.
Founded in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the third oldest public aquarium in the United States. A part of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa since 1919, it is located next to a living reef on the Waikiki shoreline. Exhibits, programs, and research focus on the aquatic life of Hawai`i and the tropical Pacific, with roughly 320,000 people visiting the Aquarium each year. Over 3,500 organisms are on exhibit representing more than 500 species of aquatic animals and plants.
EXHIBITS: Waikiki Aquarium exhibits focus on the diversity of aquatic, shoreline and coral reef habitats and living communities of Hawai`i and the tropical Pacific. Among the highlights:
- Corals Are Alive! interactive exhibits showcasing corals, their biology and conservation
- SeaVisions Theatre shows videos that illustrate shoreline conservation and how you can be a responsible reef visitor
- South Pacific Marine Communities features South Pacific habitats and species, including colorful reef corals and fishes, giant clams, groupers and snappers and intriguing partnerships such as anemonefishes and their host sea anemones
- Hawaiian Marine Communities recreates Hawaiian habitats from wave-swept surge zone to deep reef slopes, and from young to ancient reefs; celebrates distinctive reef life, including the longnose butterflyfish
- Ocean Drifters Gallery features a 1,000-gallon moon jelly tank and a seasonally changing jelly wall that may contain white-spotted jellies, blue blubbers, sea nettles, box jellies and ctenophores
- Hunters on the Reef 35,000-gallon exhibit is home to Hawaiian sharks and jacks; shark interpretive panels introduce shark biology, research, conservation and safety. New Spyball camera provides up close shark encounters in real time on a television screen
- Edge of the Reef naturalistic shoreline exhibit offering opportunities for supervised observation and hands-on interactions with selected marine life
- The Coral Farm exhibit and working research facility for propagation of reef corals
- Giant Clams exhibit and working research facility for propagation of clams
- Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat features the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal found only in the Hawaiian Islands
- Aquaculture features moi, a popular food fish, whose numbers have declined in the wild
- Coastal Gardens with native Hawaiian plants adapted for life close to the sea
Hawaiian monk seals; ‘öhai (endemic Hawaiian coastal plant)
UNIQUE SPECIES: Pacific giant clams; Hawaiian stream gobies; rare deep-reef butterflyfish; bearded armorheads; masked angelfish; and diverse native coastal plants
CONSERVATION & RESEARCH: The Waikiki Aquarium is a working research facility, conducting numerous conservation and research programs, including:
- Husbandry, nutrition and behavior of aquatic and marine aquarium specimens
- Husbandry and propagation of chambered nautilus
- Spawning behavior, larval rearing, and propagation potential of selected reef fishes
- Identification & treatment of diseases, parasite infections and other ailments of aquarium marine life
- Coral husbandry, propagation and conservation
- Hawaiian monk seal metabolic and bacteriological research
- Giant clam husbandry and propagation
- Sea jelly husbandry and propagation
- Deep reef coral research
- Coral Ark: archiving and husbandry of rare Hawaiian corals
- Interpretive services: staff or volunteers enrich the visitor experience with explanations of the exhibits, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences
- Self-tour opportunities for individuals and groups: interpretive graphics & exhibits, handouts are available.
- School Program: presentations and docent-assisted tours for school groups, grades K - 6
- Outreach and special request presentations for schools and community groups
- Community Enrichment Program: year-round natural history fieldtrips, classes, and workshops for children, families, and adults
- Information services: staff answer questions from visitors & community on marine and aquarium-science related topics
The Waikiki Aquarium affords a number of opportunities to get involved through:
- Membership: Join the Friends of the Waikïkï Aquarium (FOWA) to enjoy the annual benefits of free admission, 20% discount at the Natural Selections gift shop, quarterly mailings of our beautiful and informative magazine Kilo i’a, free salt water pick-up, and facility rental privileges at “Family” and “Family Plus” levels. To select the membership level right for you, please see the Visitor Services staff or contact Events and Membership Manager Raina Fujitani at (808) 440-9008 for more information.
- Volunteerism: When you donate your time and curiosity to the Waikiki Aquarium, you are rewarded with diverse and challenging opportunities to help make a difference!
- Education – Docents provide on-site presentations and tours to elementary school groups and provide outreach programs for school and community groups. Interpreters at the Edge of the Reef exhibit assist visitors and provide up-close observations of Hawaiian marine life.
- Live Exhibits – Assist with husbandry, tank maintenance and feeding.
- Natural Selection Shop – Assist with stocking inventory and sales.
- Membership/Public Relations/Special Events - Assist with bulk mail outs & communications with Aquarium members, public relations surveys, record-keeping and special events.
- 2008 Keep It Hawai`i Award
- 2003 Munson Aquatic Conservation Exhibit (M.A.C.E.) Award from the American Zoo & Aquarium Association (AZA) for South Pacific Marine Communities exhibit
- 2003 Edward H. Bean Award from AZA for Long Term Tropical Pacific Coral Propagation Program
EMPLOYEES:35 full-time, 36 part-time, 33 affiliate staff
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily (except Honolulu Marathon Sunday and Christmas Day)
ADMISSION: $12 for visitors; $8 for local residents and active duty military with ID, $5 for senior citizens and juniors ages four to 12; and free for children three and under and Friends of Waikiki Aquarium (FOWA) members.
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