One could easily spend a couple of weeks exploring all that there is to see and do in O’ahu. If you opted for a family vacation instead of a romantic getaway don’t get stuck at the hotel making sand castles. Load up the kids and explore the beauty that defines O’ahu; its culture and history. These five family-friendly destinations will have your family reminiscing long after the suitcases have been stored for your next trip!
Polynesian Cultural Center – Explore six different Pacific villages spread out over 42 meticulously manicured acres. The guided walking tour takes you through each of the villages educating you on its history and culture. For a more intimate VIP experience you can upgrade to tour the villages in a small canoe with a personal guide. Sample the poi! After touring the villages stick around for the luau ceremony complete with roasted pig and an endless buffet. An evening show follows with music, dancing, and blazing fire knives thrown high in the air. The kids will sleep well that night!
Kualoa Ranch – Set amidst 4,000 acres on the windward coast of O’ahu is Kualoa Ranch. The ranch offers several activities so you may want to consider spending more than just one day exploring its cloud covered mountains and crystal blue ocean. Kualoa Ranch has been used as a movie set for several movies since the 1950’s, most notably Jurassic Park, Godzilla, LOST, 50 First Dates and an episode of Hawaii Five-O. You can choose to tour the ranch via bus, horseback, ATV or the zip-line that hangs high above the trees. Head back the next morning and escape to a secret beach on one of their catamarans!
Dole Plantation – Weaving through the vast pineapple fields, the Pineapple Express Train at Dole Plantation educates visitors on how pineapples are grown and the history behind how they were originally brought to O’ahu. While there don’t miss touring their spectacular gardens, inclusive of a large maze everyone is sure to enjoy. If you get hungry during the day’s activities the plantation offers an on-site restaurant serving up local dishes that will be sure to hit the spot. Grab a fresh pineapple on your way out and take a piece of Hawaii home with you!
Bishop Museum – Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha family. The Museum houses an extensive collection of historical Hawaiian pieces and royal family heirlooms of the Princess, including millions of objects; documents and photographs about Hawaii and other Pacific islands. Special exhibits and kid-friendly displays are rotated throughout the year. Be sure and catch the daily lava pour!
Banzai Pipeline – Take the kids out to the North Shore and let them watch some true surfing in action. Banzai Pipeline or “Pipe” is a world-renowned surfing site with waves averaging 9-12 feet during the winter months. Bring a few towels from the hotel and have a family picnic on the beach. There are several places along the way to grab some mouthwatering local food. Check the online calendar – the beach will be filled with onlookers on days there is a professional competition. Either way, the kids are guaranteed to be wowed and likely you will be too. Best of all, it’s free!
By Karrie M. Rockwell of KarrieRockwell.com