Best Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens in Hilo, Big Island

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Hawaii offers some of the most beautiful flora and landscapes on the planet. The various Hilo botanical gardens on the Big Island have a lot of them. This article explains why you should visit some of Hawaii’s top botanical gardens.

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Botanical Gardens at the University of Hilo

This botanical garden, which is part of the University of Hilo, boasts one of Hawaii’s greatest cycad collections.

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After a student stated that they had never seen a pine tree before, a professor at the University of Hilo built the Botanical Gardens in the 1980s.

Currently, the garden features a large variety of palm trees from all over the world, including the endangered Loulu, Thailand’s Licuala, and massive South Pacific varieties.

The UH Botanical Gardens are located in a humid tropical environment and contain cycads, bromeliads, and palms in three distinct regions.

Hundreds of students and guests tour the garden on a regular basis to learn about the many flora. On a tour of the Big Island’s botanical gardens, you’ll learn about over 100 different plant species at the university garden.

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Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

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On the Big Island, the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular educational botanical gardens. This garden, which is located near Hilo, draws nature enthusiasts, artists, gardeners, and scientists from all over the world.

At a time when rainforest plants are disappearing, HTBG is dedicated to the collection of the plants over the world and currently features over 2000 species of them! Visitors love that the plants are labeled so they can identify and learn more about what they see.

Aside from flora and exotic flowers, the garden has animals, a waterfall, and chairs scattered throughout the concrete walks for relaxation.

In addition, the garden’s tourist center sells tropical flowers, apparel, souvenirs, jewelry, drinks, and refreshments. The HTBG is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an adult admission cost of $20.

Paleaku Gardens

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Paleaku Gardens, in South Kona, is a tranquil retreat and garden. Plants and trees native to Hawaii, as well as shrines and monuments depicting the world’s spiritual traditions and faiths, may be found throughout the gardens.

Among the symbols are a Hebrew tree of life, a Native American Medicine Wheel, and a Baha’i Nine-Pointed Star.

One of the most peaceful gardens on the Big Island is the 7-acre tropical botanic garden. It features well-kept walkways and is in an ideal location for meditation or transcendental exploration.

Paleaku Gardens also has a library, a multifunctional pavilion for events, a dining area with seating for up to 75 people, and a tourist center with coffee tastings and local art exhibits.

The garden also offers retreats and workshops in Yoga, Tai Chi, Crystal Bowl meditation, and other disciplines.

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Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden

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The Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden was shuttered for four years until February 29, 2020, when it reopened.

Over 200 types of indigenous plants are housed in the 15-acre garden, with labels explaining their traditional purposes. Amy Greenwell, a kama’aina botanist, was honored with a garden named after her. It is located near Kona.

It has a terrain that is similar to that of a typical Kona ahupua’a in terms of biogeographical zones. Coastal, dry forest, agricultural, and highland forests are examples of these zones.

On Fridays and Sundays, visitors may visit the garden’s native insect house, which features Kamehameha butterflies, as well as the garden’s farmers market.

One key tour advice for this garden is to bring some food and plan on spending more than an hour there.

Read more on their website

World Botanical Gardens

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The 400-acre World Botanical Gardens in Hawaii is home to hundreds of tropical species. Visitors may enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean, Mauna Kea, and the tumbling Kamaee Falls waterfall from the Hamakua Coast near the town of Hakalau.

This garden is ideal for a family outing to enjoy an authentic Hawaiian experience.

Thousands of exotic plants from across the globe, a gorgeous floral garden, the world’s second-largest permanently planted children’s labyrinth, and the Kamaee Falls, one of Hawaii’s top waterfalls, are all on display.

The garden offers guided tours led by specialists who may assist with simple touring, as well as self-guided excursions by foot or automobile. There are other gift stores, as well as shops selling beverages and food.

Pua Mau Botanical Gardens

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The Pua Mau Botanical Gardens in Hawaii is a must-see destination. There are odd monuments, a big resident bird and animal population, and an unusual garden on the grounds.

Visitors may enjoy a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean from the western slope of the Kohala Mountains. It’s a unique location for a large island garden because it’s warm and dry.

Pua Mau’s garden includes a hibiscus maze, outdoor sculptures, and a peafowl and guinea fowl aviary with roughly 150 peafowls and guinea fowls.

The gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and visitors may take a self-guided tour using signage and information pamphlets.

View more information on their Fanpage.

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Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens

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On the Hawaiian islands, Sadie Seymour is a modest botanical garden with various native and non-native flora. The garden was built by architect Scott Seymour and spanned 1.5 acres.

The garden is named after the architect’s mother, Sadie Seymour, and it has 11 layers of species grouped regionally. The top layer is dedicated to native Hawaiians, with subsequent tiers dedicated to South America, Africa, Australia, and Indonesia, among others.

Aside from the gardens, Sadie Seymour also has a thrift store where tourists may buy and a Kona Outdoor Educational Center where they can learn about the history of the region.

The Kealakowa’a Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian ritual place, is also open to visitors. It is open every day.


Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Botanical Gardens

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The Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo & Botanical Gardens has a diverse collection of exotic flora and animals. It’s a zoo, and a garden rolled into one, making it one of Hawaii’s most unusual tourist attractions.

The only tropical zoo in the United States, this park is located just south of Hilo and was established in 1978.

Pana’ewa is home to over 100 palm trees, bamboo, orchids, and bromeliads, as well as over 80 animal species such as spider monkeys and nene geese.

A forest of edible variety and a water garden with water lilies, mosaic plants, and other plants may also be found in this area. The playground and petting zoo, which are only accessible on Saturdays, are a hit with the kids.

Meanwhile, the garden is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

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Nani Mau Botanical Gardens

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Nani Mau Botanical Gardens means ‘Forever Beautiful’ in Hawaiian, and that is exactly what this garden is. It’s a botanical wonderland of 22 acres of luxuriant tropical flora located 3 miles from Hilo. 

Makato Nitahara, a Japanese immigrant, acquired the garden in 1972, and it was the first to open. Ms Helen Koo bought it in 2012 and remained the owner to this day. 

Nani Mau has a well-kept landscape that includes a 20,000-board Japanese-style bell tower, a fruit orchard, water garden, hibiscus garden, butterfly house, and a botanical museum where you may learn more about various plant species.

Tourists, nature enthusiasts, family/friend trips, celebrations, and parties will all enjoy this garden. There’s also a gift shop with aloha shirts, jewelry, and clothes, as well as artisan works and souvenirs. 

Map of Hilo botanical gardens

The plants, trees, and landscapes of Hawaii’s Big Island are incredibly varied. These botanical gardens on the Big Island are a terrific location to learn about indigenous flora as well as some international wonders. Please let us know if we missed any fantastic Hilo botanical gardens on the Big Island.

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