Monday, January 20, 2014

Polynesian Cultural Center 50th Anniversary

 Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center — located in Laie, Oahu, about an hour’s scenic drive from Waikiki — is the top paid Hawaii attraction and a “must see” Hawaii activity.

PCC is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this month so we decided to check out the shows and partake in the many kid friendly activities.

For the kids there are special keiki-oriented Ohana Adventure activities that are planned throughout the day, including activities like Hawaiian hula lessons, Tongan shuffleboard, and Tahitian fishing.

 Kids can even get a parent-approved Marquesas cultural tattoo. Parents can try their hand at spear throwing, fire walking, tiki carving, fire knife dancing, and coconut husking.


The PCC features the people and islands of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Tonga; as well as a Rapa Nui exhibit and an 1850s-era mission complex. 

We decided to check out the Samoan Island first where we watched traditional method of making fire, coconut milk extracting, and coconut tree climbing. 

Our charismatic demonstrator told the curious onlookers his interesting success story. He was recruited by PCC from Samoa, obtained his Bachelor Arts in Fine Arts from Brickam University with a paid scholarship, and serves throughout the world as an ambassador representing his culture, art, and performances.

Canoe rides are also available as a convenient way to move around and explore the grounds. They also provide your feet and legs a well-deserved break. A paddling guide leads you through the lagoon as you pass native villages.

 After exploring the villages and enjoying the activities, we headed to the main stage area where we were treated to a special hula performance with Keiki from local Halau's or (Hula School) .

After the performance, we headed to the The Island Buffet for dinner where they served  Hawaiian, Asian and mainland entrees, buffet style. PCC also offers other dinning options to include the Alihi Island Luau, Samoa Island Buffet,  and their Seafood Buffet.

After the sun set and the family finished feasting on delicious Hawaiian food,  we went to watch an unforgettable show called "Ha Breath of Life." The show is spectacle of over a hundred performers from across the Pacific, drums, dance, special effects, a fire spewing volcano and an amazing fire knife performance. 

It was not permitted for guests  to take video or pictures, so I put the preview to the show above from You Tube. The kids loved the performance and kept asking when we could go back to watch it again.

The PCC is located on the North Shore and takes about 1 hour to get to from Waikiki. If you have a rental car , the address is 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy Laie, HI 96762.  I recommend that your family make it an all day event, because there are over 42 acres of informative history, activities, and culture to learn about. The link below is the best deal we have found on passes.

Polynesian Cultural Center Packages - CLICK HERE!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Naohia Falls (Kalihi Ice Ponds)

This past weekend we set off on an adventure like none other to experience Naohia Falls, commonly called Kalihi Ice Ponds among locals.

 Kalihi Ice Ponds are a set of three-tiered waterfalls and pools located in the back of Kalihi Valley. Pictured above is the entrance to the easily accessible and short hike that leads to Naohia Falls.

The mile long path that leads to the waterfall is partially paved and easily accessible by tots. For safety reasons, we  wouldn't recommend this hike for children under 4 or those who have physical disabilities.  

Along the way there are various native plants and birds for children to observe while chugging alongside a bustling stream.

After about a mile or so, we reached the most difficult part of the hike on the right hand side of the path which consists of a 60ft section requiring rope to climb down to the fall. This is the entrance to the Kalihi Ice Pond.

Parents will want to exercise extreme caution when trans versing down this path and make sure to take their time with the little ones and utilize the ropes for support.

The end of the path will lead to a surreal waterfall where locals enjoy cliff diving and swimming in the ice cold water. It is generally not recommended to enter any stream of water in Hawaii if you have any cuts or abrasions of any kind due to Leptospirosis.

Kids can enjoy the view from a safe distance, while the adventurous can climb the waterfall or jump off the surrounding rocks like some of the locals. 

Directions to the Kalihi Ice Ponds (Na Ohia Falls) Trailhead: From the H1 freeway take the Likelike exit towards Kalihi Valley.  Continue pass the intersection of Likelike Highway and N. School Street. Just past the intersection,  veer slightly right and then make a left turn on to Kalihi Street. From there, simply follow Kalihi Street to the very end. Nalanieha street will intersect with Kalihi Street. Find street parking at the end of this area. It is a residential area so please be mindful of where you decide to park, i.e. carefully obey the No Parking signs.

Tips: Use plenty of mosquito repellant, really - please cover your family with it! Do Not attempt this hike when it rains, as it is a valley where flash floods are a possibility. Overall, a fantastic hike for active outdoorsy type families!