Friday, July 1, 2011

Sea Life Park

Located near the Makapuu Point LighthouseTrail, Oahu's Sea Life Park provides visitors with the rare oppurtunity to interact with exotic sea life and marine animals. The family can swim with dolphins, feed sea lions, interact with penguins, feed sea turtles, and dive with sharks and rays.  

General Admission is $29.99   for adults and  $19.99 (ages 3-12) Kama’aina (local resident) and active duty military stationed in Hawaii admission prices are available.

The first activity my 2 year old and I encountered was the Hawaiian Reef Tank - a spiraling aquarium full of sharks rays, and Hawaiian reef fish.

Children 8 and older can (Snuba Dive) the aquarium to hand feed the fish with an air hose attached to a helmet. For more info visit their programs and reservation page.

A photo of some of the Hawaiian Reef Tank inhabitants.

Outside the Hawaiian Reef Tank, they have a lagoon full of sea turtles. The family can learn about these amazing animals as trainers feed them during regularly scheduled turtle feedings at 11:00 am, 11:35 am, and 2:10 pm.

The sea turtles seemed as curious of the  kids as they were of them.

Past the sea turtle exhibit and conveniently located next to their concession area, they have an  Adventure Kids Play Zone.

The Pirate’s Lagoon is a fun place where children can run around our miniature maze and play area. This spot is an ideal location for birthday parties and perfect for letting your little ones burn off the energy they acquire after their lunch.

We were lucky enough to catch the start of one of the dolphin shows at the open air Hawaii Ocean Theater. This entertaining and educational show includes dolphins, penguins, and sea lions.
The showtimes are 1:45 pm and 3:40 pm and should not be missed.

Here is video clip of the fun.

After the dolphins finished their amazing performance the trainers brought out the sea lions.

The charismatic black footed Penguin was introduced to the audience and preformed an entertaining dance the whole audience enjoyed.

Visitors were able to get really close for pictures, but my daughter decided this was close enough.

If the family cant get enough of the penguins like my daughter, they have their own exhibit where you can see them at your leisure.

The dolphin cove has a beautiful backdrop to take some pictures with the family. The cove has 3 programs where children 1 and up can swim with the dolphins accompanied by an adult. For more info check out their Dolphin Adventure reservation page.

We ended the day at the Sea Lion habitat which had three large ones barking in tandem. My daughter and I really had a great time at the Sea Life Park and plan on making many return visits in the near future. I have been to Sea World in Orlando and think the Sea Life Park was just as much fun. Your family wont be disappointed if you decide to make the trip. Enjoy!!

Driving Directions: Directions
from Waikiki to Sea Life Park Hawaii
  1. Take the H-1 East (Lunalilo Freeway) East
  2. H-1 becomes Highway 72, continue east through residential area
  3. The Residential Area will end, so, continue driving along the coast past Hanauma Bay,
    the Blow Hole and Sandy Beach, to Makapu’u Point
  4. Sea Life Park Hawaii is located on the left side of the road. You will see the large signage
    indicating the entrance from the highway

 Sea Life Park Address
41-202 Kalanianaole Highway #7
Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795 USA
Phone: (808) 259-2500

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Honolulu Academy of Arts

The Honolulu Academy of Arts collection represents all the major cultures of Hawai‘i and spans 5,000 years, from ancient times to today. With more then 50,000 objects from around the world, their impressive collection features art pieces from all over Asia, Europe, Pacific Islands, and Africa.

Learn more about the collection, diverse cultures, and themselves by joining their free tours, scheduling a guided tour, or check out an audio guide.

Tickets are Adults $10, Children 4-17 $5, Children 3 and under Free. Military personnel and their families with ID can visit the museum for free May 31 through Labor Day. The Academy is open Monday- Saturday 10am to 4:30pm, Sunday 1- 5pm.


Here is a quick guide that explains the geographical areas their exhibits represent.

My daughter enjoyed the Hawaiian art collection quite a bit. We were told we were not allowed to take photographs in the exhibits, but we were granted permission to take photos in the courtyard.

Even people that don't really know how to fully appreciate art will agree that these paintings are amazing.

When walking to and from the different exhibit wings, we found unique art displayed in some unlikely places. This Pre-Hispanic sculpture was in between the Hawaiian and Indonesian exhibits.

These Native American Dolls are sure to catch your Keiki's eyes.

Outside the Chinese and Japanese exhibits we found this Oriental Garden with a mini Koi pond. The garden had a zen like tranquility that really fit the environment.

Next to the exit and entrance, there is an Academy of Arts Gift Shop where the family can take home some reprinted art and souvenirs.

We walked across the street of the Academy to see the park and found a dog show going on.

In the middle of the park there were huge Banyan trees with vines tied together creating makeshift swings. Kids were having fun trying out the swings.

There is usually always some kind of event going on from special tours to lectures and performances at the Academy. Check the Honolulu Academy of Arts Calendar of Events page to find out whats happening before you visit.

Directions:  Getting to the main museum by car

From Waikiki, take H1 to the Lunalilo Street exit, make a left at Ward Avenue, then left on Kinau Street.

From downtown or the airport, take the H1 to the Kinau Street exit.
Getting here by bus:

From Waikiki, take the #2 bus from Kuhio Avenue towards downtown, approximately 20 minutes. Stops in front of the Academy. The Academy is on these bus lines: 1, 13, B and 1L.


900 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

(Entrance is on Beretania Street, between Victoria Street and Ward Avenue)

Share your experience and suggestions below mahalo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

808 Bounce

808 Bounce provides children and parents with a safe bouncy house play area in a comfortable indoor air-conditioned setting. The play facilities provide a fun outlet to bored children and a resting area to parents to take a break from shopping. Free wifi is available.

For $8.75 your kids get a wrist band and they can come and go as they please all day.

Children under 3 must be supervised for their safety because of the bigger kids that are running around. The floor is protected with padded mats in case of any falls.

They made a bouncy house specifically for toddlers that my daughter really seemed to enjoy.

The toddler town is perfect for burning off that newly acquired energy from lunch at the mall.

808 Bounce also has two areas set aside for birthday parties.  Adults can reserve the party area and bring food, drinks, balloons and decorations, gift and party favors.

808 Bounce is must do activity if your family visits the Pearl Ridge Mall.  Its also a  fun way to get the kids to exercise and release energy.

808 Bounce is located Uptown, on the second floor of Pearlridge Center, by Borders, right next to Satellite City Hall.
(808) 354-8509

They have another location at the Windward Mall

46-056 Kamehameha Highway

Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
(808) 354-6703

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Aloha Tower Market Place

With over 75 shops,  restaurants, and services the Aloha Tower Marketplace is known as the place where locals and visitors come to play. Where else can Dad eat some wings at Hooters, Mom get a Lomi Lomi massage, and the kids take hula lessons all in the same place?

Built in the 1920's, the Aloha Tower is also a popular visitor attraction with elevator service to the tenth floor observation deck, boasting spectacular views of Diamond Head, Honolulu Harbor, Downtown Honolulu and the Koolau Mountains.

The hula girl statues that adjourn the marketplace along with Hawaiian music remind the family they are in paradise.

Outside the Marketplace, children can explore the beautiful Honolulu Harbor with a living coral reef loaded with fish that can easily be seen through the clear water.

A sign displays all the beautiful fish that can be seen from the pier of the harbor. A visit here is like going to the  Waikiki Aquarium without the cost of admission.

My daughter enjoyed watching the reef fish gather at the surface to feed. The Aloha Tower Market Place is a great place for the family to spend the day shopping, sojourning with Hawaiian reef fish, dining, and taking in the sunset.

There is always some kind of event kicking off at the marketplace. Check the Aloha Tower Market Place events calendar page to find out whats happening before your visit.

If your in town July 3rd make sure to check out their amazing fireworks display. The Aloha Tower Market Place is located at 1 Aloha Tower Drive, it is just one block waterside of the intersection of Nimitz Highway and Bishop Street.

Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet

Located on Oahu’s windward (east) coast near the Kualoa Ranch , Tropical Farms Macadamia Outlet is a unique local shop that sells Macadamia Nuts and fruits grown on site. In addition to their delicious selection of flavored Mac Nuts they also offer pearl jewelry, art, creams, aromatic oils, free Kona Coffee samples and other souvenirs you won't find in Waikiki.

When the family is done browsing the store,  check out the farm tour called the Alii Tour. The 15$ per person one hour tour explores the plantation and fishponds. It also includes demonstrations on how the Hawaiians lived off the land.

The Alli Tour is fun way for the family to learn about Hawaiian history, customs, fruits and plants.


Jewelry store specializing in island pearls for Mom.

Behind the store is a large bin full of raw Macadamia Nuts where  kids and (adults) can pick out a Mac Nut to crack open and try.

Kids really enjoy trying out the Hawaiian way of opening Mac Nuts. The wild chickens that roam the farm quickly move in to eat any nuts that fall of the block.

If the family is looking to take home superior Macadamia Nuts or Coffee you won't find a better a destination in Oahu. Throw in the added bonus of the fun and educational Alli tour and you have an activity everyone in the family will enjoy.

Make a day out of visiting the windward coast by visiting the Kualoa Ranch and Kualoa Beach Park conveniently located right next door to the Mac Farm.

Address: 49-227 Kamehameha Hwy

Kaneohe, HI 96744


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Friendship Garden

Located in Kane'ohe, the Friendship Garden is known for its one kilometer (0.6 miles) of non-strenuous hiking trails that take visitors through groves of macadamia, banyan, mahogany, strawberry guava and eucalyptus trees in a peaceful setting

Friendship Garden is part of what began in the 1920s as Hawai'i's first multi-racial community, called Kokokahi ("of one blood"), a place where people of all ethnic backgrounds would come together to live, work and play. It was the inspiration of the Rev. Theodore Richards, who together with his wife, Mary Atherton, acquired the land and built the community. source.

The garden is free and ideal for for family and small group hikes. A hiking carrier like the ones mentioned on the recommended gear tab at the top of the page is highly recommended if hiking with small children.

lava stone platform steps lead to the trail loop above.

One of the first sites my daughter and I came upon was a wild Macadamia Nut Tree.

A close up of the Macadamias in their raw form.

Further up the trail we came across a bamboo forest. The variety of plants, flowers, and trees will keep the family entertained on the way up to the summit of the hike.

Through the bamboo forest we were treated to a sneak peak of a view of Kaneohe Bay.

This banyan tree was so huge, I was unable to get the whole tree in the photo.

After about 5 minutes into the hike, we came upon a fork in the trail marked by a sign that read: "Loop Trail"

We chose the path to the left and pressed onward to see what lay ahead.

Eventually we made it to an un-manicured trail that led to an incredible view of Kaneohe Bay.

On the way back down it was little steep, therefore I highly recommend shoes appropriate for hiking and a carrier for small children. This is a short hike and a great way to get immersed in nature to help clear the mind.

Address for GPS:
Kokokahi Place
Kaneohe, HI 96744

Directions: from Honolulu take H3 or Likelike Hwy until you get to Kaneohe Bay Drive. Follow Kaneohe Bay Drive until you get to Kokokani Place St. Take KokoKani Place St. through a narrow residential neighborhood until you see the entrance to Friendship Gardens. Parking is limited alongside of the entrance.