Zoo debut: Panaewa reopens after 16-month closure

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Leilani Williams climbs up a monarch butterfly that is used as a children's play area at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo on Monday, July 19, 2021.

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald Justice, left, and Journey Kato pose for a photo Monday in front of the new mural at the main entrance of the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. The Katos were excited to return to the zoo since it’s a summer pastime for the family.

  • KELSEY WALLING photos/Tribune-Herald Opal Ray looks at the black swan near the entrance at Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, enjoying how close the swan came to the fence to say hello.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Kahu Kimo Awai chants and blesses the front entrance of the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. The county wanted to bless the space since the zoo has changed so drastically.

As storm clouds drifted away, Kahu Kimo Awai blessed the front entrance of the Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens while keiki watched with bated breath.