For the first time in all the years I’ve lived in Hawaii, I visited the Waikiki Aquarium. Once a month our Stroller Strides group goes on a fun outing, so we joined them at the Aquarium today. I was really impressed. It is a small aquarium comparatively to other aquariums across the U.S., but it’s ideal for small children. They have the opportunity to see all sorts of fish native to Pacific waters, including clownfish that look like Nemo, as well as jellyfish, monk seals, clams, a lobster, sea urchin and even a hermit crab. The kids got to hold the hermit crab in their hands which is always exciting for little ones. There is also a lawn where on most days you can sit out and picnic, but today, they were putting up a tent for a special event. We decided to have our picnic across the street in Kapiolani Park. If you are kamaaina, meaning you’re a Hawaii resident, or if you have a military I.D, then entrance fee is $6. Regular admission is $9. Children 4 and under are free, so it’s really an inexpensive, educational and fun way to spend a few hours.
Although I had never visited the Waikiki Aquarium until today, I do have a story to tell about it. If you haven’t noticed, yet, I usually have a story to tell about most things. When I worked as a news producer for KHNL, the NBC affiliate in Honolulu, which has since become Hawaii News Now, we covered a story on rare clams being stolen from the aquarium. Eventually, they were returned. Each year the Society of Professional Journalists put on a show called the Gridiron to raise money for scholarships. The show pokes fun at news stories and newsmakers. I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2003 and 2005 shows. It was in 2005 that the clams disappeared, and I portrayed one of those clams in the Gridiron show. The show’s writers use popular songs and rewrite them to fit the particular event being made into a joke. In this case, the song was Clams on the Run, from Man on the Run. The costume designer made us paper mache clams to wear. They were amazing costumes and I feel privileged that I got the opportunity to be a clam in the show. It was definitely the highlight of my amateur performing career. The truth is the show needed dancers, which I have more than 30 years experience in, so they overlooked my tone deafness and allowed me to perform. If I didn’t have dance experience, I definitely wouldn’t have made the cut to perform in the show. I forgot all about this until we were walking outside and I saw a giant clam shell on display. Sometimes, it feels like all of these memories were a lifetime ago or even that they were actually someone else’s life. My life has certainly changed, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. I am glad I have a new memory of the Waikiki Aquarium and this one was shared with the most special person in my life, Matthew. It was both of our first time to the Waikiki Aquarium, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It also helped that we had so many of our wonderful friends to share the experience.
While I am writing about Aquariums, I must mention that I have been to another aquarium in Hawaii, but this one is on Maui. It is actually called the Maui Ocean Center. It is located in Wailuku and is a lot bigger than the Waikiki Aquarium and a bit more expensive. It is definitely worth a visit if you travel to Maui, especially if you have children. You can find out more information on the Waikiki Aquarium by logging on to www.waquarium.org and the Maui Ocean Center at www.mauioceancenter.com.