It is rare that a zoo or aquarium is run by a government agency. Usually, they are administered by non-profit or private organizations.
There is a certain tension about the value of and quality of experience at a zoo or aquarium. Zoos are great for experiencing animals that do not exist in the wilds of North America. They are also good for experiencing animals that are difficult to view in the wild because of their activity schedule (if they're noctural, for instance) or their habitat (maybe they live underground or in the deep ocean). Zoos also often get people to appreciate living things more than they would otherwise. Finally, for some animals, zoos play a conservation role and keep them from becoming endangered or going extinct.
But then there is the fact that zoos essentially take the freedom away from the animals they keep. The trend has been to develop enclosures that are larger and more natural, which helps in the quality of life for the animals, but they are still captive. There has also been a trend toward providing stimulating activities for animals with higher intelligence. So it's not exactly right to say that zoos are like prisons, but there are definite differences between experiencing animals in zoos vs. the wild.
Hawaii has six zoos/aquariums.
- Panaewa Rainforest Zoo - Big Island
- Pacific Primate Sanctuary - Maui
- Maui Ocean Center - Maui
- Sea Life Park Hawaii - Oahu
- Honolulu Zoo - Oahu, Honolulu
- Waikiki Aquarium - Oahu, Honolulu