The Honolulu Zoo is the principal zoological institution of research of Hawaii in the City & County of Honolulu. It is the only zoo in the United States to be established by grants made by a sovereign monarch. Built on part of a 300 acre (1.2 km²) royal park in Waikīkī known as Queen Kapiolani Park, the Honolulu Zoo now features over 1,230 animals in specially designed habitats.
Over 750,000 people visit the zoo annually. The institution is administered by the Honolulu Zoo Society, a non-profit organization, and is maintained by a corps of volunteers. The zoo is owned by the City & County of Honolulu through the Auditoriums Department.
Even as a public park, King Kalākaua continued using the park as a place for his personal collection of exotic birds and horses. The park brought more exotic animals as it staged the Kamehameha Day celebrations and various carnivals and fairs. In 1896, the City & County of Honolulu assumed control of Queen Kapiolani Park.
In 1914, the City & County of Honolulu appointed Ben Hollinger to be its new Administrator of Parks and Recreation and Queen Kapiolani Park came under his control. Hollinger maintained a fascination with animals and began collecting them to showcase at the park in Waikīkī. The park became home for a monkey, a honey bear and several lion cubs. In 1916, a steamship on its way from Australia to Canada pulled into port at Honolulu Harbor. On board was an African elephant named Daisy. Hollinger pleaded with the City & County of Honolulu to purchase the elephant, which they did. With the acquisition of an elephant, Honolulu officially had a zoo. Daisy entertained visitors at the park until 1933, when Daisy was killed by Honolulu Police Department officers after trampling her trainer, George Conradt.