Historic Waikiki Aquarium prepares to reopen after temporary closure amid coronavirus pandemic

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has been over one year since guests have walked through the doors at the Waikiki Aquarium.

Inside awaits all of the traditional exhibits and coming up on Thursday, July 1, visitors can explore everything the historic aquarium has to offer.

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“We’re planning on reopening on July 1 so everybody’s super busy here, trying to get the exhibits open and spruce the place up ready for the reopening,” said Andrew Rossiter, director of the Waikiki Aquarium.

The reopening will come with some new rules, like face coverings for everyone over the age of two, walk-ins on a first-come-first-serve basis and a new ticket system.

“For the first few weeks at least, we will be doing an online booking reservation type program. So book a ticket in advance and the reason we’re doing that is so we can regulate the numbers that are in the aquarium at a given time,” Rossiter said.

Resident seal Ho’ailona — a fan favorite — was moved behind the scenes due to renovations. He will return in summer 2022.

The reopening has been a long time coming and is a relief for the historic establishment.

“Oh, it was crippling. You know, from the day we closed, which was March the 18th, all our revenues stopped. Like everything between, because we rely almost exclusively on visitors coming through the entrance gates and paying money to come in. So that stopped,” said Rossiter.

With Waikiki bustling again, there is hope for a new beginning after a challenging year.

“A lot of the old institutions shutdown, because of the pandemic,” said Bernie Paloma, a Kaimuki resident. “I’m glad these guys came back, because it’s needed, because they’re so close to the ocean and they take care of the surrounding area.”

“I must admit I like the galleries with no people there, but the other side of the equation is I love seeing people’s reaction when they’re looking at the exhibits and marveling at the marine life around these islands,” Rossiter said.

Hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. To reserve a ticket, click here.

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