We Tried It: Honolulu Zoo Society’s Wildest Show Summer Concert Series

Bask in fresh air, let the kids enjoy keiki activities, then listen to the sounds of local musicians after hours at the Honolulu Zoo.


What:  The Wildest Show, a summer concert series at the Honolulu Zoo featuring Nathan Aweau and Tavana

Who:  Fun for the whole family. Our group included kids 15 months to seven years old and parents.

Where:  The Great Lawn at the Honolulu Zoo, 151 Kapahulu Ave.

When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.


Honolulu Zoo Societyʻs annual Wildest Show summer concert series

Photo: Jasmine Chagnon


A group of mom friends and I wanted to check out the Wildest Show, an annual summer concert series happening at the Honolulu Zoo. We thought it would be a great way to keep the kids entertained and have some adult time too. Both things ended up being true. Well, more so for some than others. The kids were certainly entertained!


I have to say, because this is a popular summer event in Honolulu, I was afraid it was going to be quite hectic. It wasn’t! We all decided to meet around 5 p.m. (the gate opens at 4:30 p.m.). None of us had gone to one of these events before, so we were a little unsure of what we could bring in terms of food and drink. I ended up just packing some easy snacks for my 15 month old and 3 year old. Another mom “snuck in” some sandwiches, and our other friend fed her three kiddos before coming. Little did we know you can pretty much bring whatever you want! I knew I made a mistake when I saw a family bringing three Costco pizzas!


Honolulu Zoo Societyʻs annual Wildest Show summer concert series

Photo: Jasmine Chagnon


Once we got through the gate, which was surprisingly super mellow and quick, my 3-year-old son headed straight for the statue of the hippos. Other kids were climbing aboard too, and it was definitely a chore to get my kid to keep moving so we could set up our blanket.


Honolulu Zoo Societyʻs annual Wildest Show summer concert series

Photo: Jasmine Chagnon


SEE ALSO: We Tried It: Roller Skating at Kiha Public Skate 🛼


After that, they headed straight for the LEGO tables, set up by Hawai‘i LEGO Users Group. There was a section for older kids and even larger blocks for babies and younger toddlers. I literally had to pry my two children away from there.


Henry Kapono Foundation’s “On the Rise” artist Jenny Yim was the opening act. She set the mood as the kids played the pre-show activities while the adults found a spot on the Great Lawn. Once we found a spot, it was back to the keiki activities! Some of the kids in our group went to the Keiki Coloring tent, while others went back to the LEGOs. Even as the performers played, kids were running around and having fun under the banyan trees nearby. Thankfully, there are security guards and temporary gates set up so no one *accidentally* wanders towards the animals (the exhibits are closed during the event).


Honolulu Zoo Wildshow 2023

Photo: Jasmine Chagnon


Nathan Aweau and Tavana rocked it, and we managed to enjoy some adult conversations while the kids had their snacks and chilled out for a bit. Our whole group agreed the Wildest Show was a worthwhile outing (because let’s face it, with multiple kids in the toddler stage, sometimes it’s just not!). I already have my eye on the next one.


Tavana at Wildest Show, Honolulu Zoo

Photo: Jasmine Chagnon


SEE ALSO: Where to Watch Outdoor Movies on O‘ahu This Summer


keiki at the Honolulu Zoo

Photo: Kenia Sciarrilli


Our Tips

          1. Park at the Shell or look for street parking on Monsarrat Ave. The regular zoo entrance is closed, so you’ll enter through the side gate on Monsarrat.
          2. Bring food and drink. There is a concession area with bentos, snacks and water for sale, but it’s fun to make it a picnic and bring exactly what you (and the kids) want.
          3. Bring blankets or low chairs to sit on. This may be a no-brainer, but make sure you bring what will make you most comfortable.
          4. Be prepared to chase your little kids around before and during the concert. Don’t expect your kids to want to leave the pre-show activities immediately—maybe not even when the concert has started. But it’s okay if you’re not seated when the music starts. Most of the concert goers are fellow parents who understand what it’s like to have toddlers who don’t want to sit still. It’s a casual atmosphere, so just go with the flow.
          5. Encourage your kids to participate in the activities. Think coloring contests, animal trivia, etc. Kids have a chance to win some fun prizes and go up “on stage.”
          6. Donate! The concert series is a fundraiser, after all. The funds will go toward upgrading the zoo’s family playground. 


The Wildest Show summer concert series is a six-week series that takes place Wednesday evenings from June 14 to July 26, 2023 (except for July 5). The gate opens at 4:30 p.m., and the performances are from 5 to 7 p.m. $10 for Honolulu Zoo Society members; $15 for non-members; $5 for keiki ages 3-12; free for keiki 2 and under. You can purchase tickets at the gate or buy them online here.