Tucked right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, Foster Botanical Garden offers 14 acres of gorgeously landscaped land with an array of both native and non-native plants, flowers, and trees in a peaceful setting that feels a world away from the city buzz.
Shortly after moving to Oahu, I was booked for a wedding that was being held at Foster Garden in downtown Honolulu. Being new to the island and unfamiliar with the area, I stopped by the garden a couple weeks before the wedding to ‘scout out’ the location… and ended up staying for a few hours! I fell in love with the garden as soon as I walked through the gate, and ended up returning many times during my time on Oahu. I find it rather mind-blowing that such a peaceful, tranquil, nature-rich setting can exist right smack-dab in the middle of a city overrun with traffic, noise, tourists, homeless, and big-city activity… it is truly a gem of Honolulu!
This is the oldest of Oahu’s botanical gardens, and it was started in the 1850s when Dr. William Hillebrand began planting some of the now-massive trees on the land. It has grown and expanded since then, and now features a conservatory, butterfly garden, palm garden, prehistoric glen, orchid garden, and an upper terrace with those original 24 trees, now designated “Exceptional” by City Ordinance.One of the many unique trees in the garden is the Cannonball Tree, with gorgeous flowers and hefty-looking “cannonballs” sprouting directly from the trunk.
An “Economic Garden” is home to a variety of spices, herbs, dyes, poisons, and beverage plants, including coffee and black pepper plants. The indoor conservatory is bursting with orchids of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Often dripping with “dew” from a recent watering, this area of the garden is a flower photographer’s paradise.Other notable plants and trees in the garden include the Rainbow Eucalyptus, Macadamia Nut, Breadfruit, Kapok Tree, Coco-de-Mer, Blue Marble Tree, Tamarind, Rainbow Shower, Baobab, and the Doum Palm.
Visit Oahu’s Foster Botanical Garden
Hours: 9am – 4pm. Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Free guided tour Monday-Saturday at 1pm. Call 808-522-7066 for reservations.
Children 6-12: $1
Children under 5: Free
Address: 180 North Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96817
Directions: From Waikiki, take Ala Moana Blvd past the shopping mall. Turn right onto Piikoi, then left on S Beretania. Follow S Beretania for 1.3 miles, and then turn right onto Nuuanu Ave. Take the 3rd left onto N Vineyard Blvd. The garden will be ahead on your right.