Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waimanalo Beach Park

This past Memorial Day our family decided to visit Waimanalo Beach Park to escape the crowds on other beaches.

Located in the center of the 75-acre Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area towards on the South East end of the island, Waimanalo Beach Park is a beautiful and uncrowded white sand beach perfect for family recreation.

Similar to other beach parks on the windward side, there are plenty of shaded areas with picnic tables throughout the park.

Across the street local residences sell refreshing ice cold coconut juice ( chilled whole coconut with a straw.)

There is a lifeguard on watch, restroom facilities, and grills to rent. Locals gather for all-night barbecues and visitors come to sunbathe, snorkel and have fun.

The beautiful white powder sand is perfect for kids to build sandcastles or moms to exfoliate their legs.

One of the major attractions of Waimanalo Bay is the surreal underwater environment. Snorkelers will revel in at the clarity of the water, the abundance of marine life, and calm conditions. .

Since Waimanalo Beach isn't know to many tourists, on weekdays  families will often have the beach to themselves.

  A panaromic view of one of the most beautiful beaches on the island that could be considered most people's definition of paradise. .

  Behind the park there is a gorgeous view of the mountains. Parking is free and always available, even on holidays like Memorial Day. There is also fresh water showers available to wash off when the family is done playing.

The Address for Waimanalo Beach Park is:
41-741 Kalanianaole Highway, Waimanalo, HI 96795

(808) 259-9106 ‎

Note: if your looking for vacation rentals in Waimanalo check out:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Iolani Palace

 The Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark  located in downtown Honolulu .

Iolani Palace was built on August 1882 by Hawaiian government appropriated funds to build a modern palace. King Kalakaua's vision was to enhance the prestige of Hawai`i overseas and to mark her status as a modern nation.


 King Kalakaua installed electricity in the palace even before electricity was introduced into the White House.
Additionally, he installed other high tech gadgetry such as flushing toilets, bath tubs, and 200 gallon hot water tanks.

 Queen Liliuokalani was also imprisoned within these palace walls during the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

This decorative plaque from one of the four principal Palace gateways depicts the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Hawai`i and bears its motto:  "Ua mau ke ea o ka`aina i ka pono"

"The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

Here is the menu of tours available. We learned that children 4 and under are not permitted on self guided tours, but they can go on guided tours of the main palace.
Since my daughter is only 2 and we were limited on time , we chose the self guided Basement Gallery Exhibit where you are permitted self guided tours with kids under 4 for 7$.

When we arrived in the basement we were greeted with a nostalgic photo of Queen Lili`uokalani, King Kalakaua, and their family members.

Portrait of King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamehameha.

     After the overthrow of the monarchy, Provisional Government officials inventoried the contents of `Iolani Palace and sold at public auction whatever furniture or furnishings were not suitable for government operations.


 The Friends of `Iolani Palace, as part of its mission to preserve, restore, and share the spirit of `Iolani Palace, has endeavored to find, recover, and preserve original Palace and monarchy furnishings and objects (like these chairs) , many of which have been scattered throughout the world.


    King Kalakaua's beloved canes and accessories.

  The Queen's Royal Jewelry display was magnificent and truly memorable.

The Basement we toured was only a fraction of the Iolani Palace. I highly recommend that your family do a complete tour of the palace to get enlightened with Hawaiian history and culture.
The Museum is open:

Monday – Saturday 9am-5pm
Ticket window closes at 4pm

364 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96805
(808) 538-1471


Living Art Marine Center

Located minutes from the Honolulu airport,  the Living Art Marine Center is a great way to witness the beauty of Hawai‘i’s underwater ecosystem in one of their many educational exhibits with tropical fish from all over the World.

The exhibits feature the latest in the Marine Ornamental Industry and Aquaculture methods such as Harlequin Shrimp breeding and Post-larvae Capture and Culture.

Tours are given at 10:00AM and 2:00PM every Saturday and Sunday. To book transportation and guided tours from Waikiki click on the following link: Living Art Marine Center.

My daughter and I opted for the self guided tour $5.00 (adult) and $5.00 (child) that comes with a Gyotaku,(Japanese fishprint). The gentlemen I purchased the tickets from explained the Living Art Marine Center was a cross between the Waikiki Aquarium and Bishop Science Center.


Our first stop was the Do-It- Yourself Center where kids can create and decorate a Hawaiian 'ipu, carve their name into a cowry Shell, or make a Gyotaku fish print.

Here my Daughter makes her own Gyotaku fishprint on a her Living Marine Center souvenir t-shirt I bought her for 6$.


After the DIY center, we headed to the Travel the Ocean exhibit that features tropical marine fishes they collect and export from Australia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and The Red Sea.  

At the Voyage Into the Deep exhibit, we learned when capturing fish living at a considerable depth, fishermen need to make sure they bring them up to the surface slowly. An inflated swim bladder or even death can be the result if this is not done properly.

My daughter really enjoyed the jellyfish tank.

The Shark Science and Culture  exhibit shows how Sharks are a big part in many cultures around the Pacific Ocean. This misunderstood creature plays an important role in many Hawaiian mo‘olelo (stories) such as the kumulipo and is often heard in oli and mele.

We also learned sharks are threatened by habitat destruction, marine debris, and hunters going after their fins.

Surprisingly, this mako shark head did not freak my daughter out at all. She was more scared of the starfish in the touch pool. 

The Hawaiian Art and Culture exhibit was informative and  featured  many unique weapons used made out of Shark's teeth.

Here is a Hawaiian drum made out of shark skin. One of many tools and instruments on display in this section.

Out side of the main exhibit hall lies the Aquaponics Garden. Aquaponics is a revolutionary system where plants, fish, bacteria, and lots of water are all involved in a sustainable cycle of life.

Here are some tomatoes grown without soil.

In the Hobbyist Center, visitors are treated to a unique peak into the industrial side of the Marine Ornamental Industry. We looked on as warehouse workers packed live ornamental fish to be shipped overseas.

After we were done checking out the Hobbyist center we went over to interact with hermit crabs, sea stars, and other invertebrate animals at the Discovery Center.

My daughter refused to be the first to touch the sea star, therefore I took the plunge.

In the building next to the touch tanks they had a few rooms parents can rent out to celebrate their kid's birthday party. They offer full service packages that include: a party facilitator, guided tour, scavenger hunt, Gyotaku fish print, lunch, drinks, and cake. If you interested in celebrating your kid's birthday here check prices and availability at their website.

The Living Art Marine Center is a hidden gem in Oahu and was an educational experience for our family. It is located in an industrial area near the airport making it convenient for visitors awaiting a flight or locals looking for a fun place to stimulate their kid's minds.

The address for the Living Art Marine Center is:
3239 Ualena Street #100, Honolulu HI 96819, Phone: (808) 841-8080

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Old Pali Road

Old Pali Road is located at the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. I had previously attempted to find out what lies at the end of Old Pali Road ( see Pali Highway Lookout), but ended up turning around.

This time I was on a mission to see where the Old Pali Road would take my daughter and I.

My daughter spotted some wild chickens on the way to Old Pali Road and insisted we take a closer look.

After taking in the beautiful view we went down towards the beginning of Old Pali Road marked by a road closed barricade. No worries, the road is closed to motorists- pedestrians have the green light.  

On the way down the path, you can take in a view of the H3 Tunnel.

Here is a video I took of our excursion down the path to the trail.

After the paved path ends the trail begins along a chain link fence adjacent to H3. We ditched the stroller and began our journey on the trail.

The trail is runs alongside H3 and offers incredible views the various surrounding mountains.

There are quite a few creeks you will be crossing along the path. After it rains these areas produce mini waterfalls.

   Most of the creeks have small bridges to keep footing. The trail is maintained making it great for kids.

  Along the trail we spotted many slippery elm trees. For centuries Native Americans have used slippery elm as a traditional medicine. Singers and public speakers use slippery elm as a throat-soothing lozenge. In fact, during the American Revolution, even gunshot wounds were routinely treated with a poultice of this herb.

We reached a sign at the foot of some stairs that said we had 9 miles to get to Maunawili Falls, which is what I believe is the end of this trail. With a 2 year old at my side, I knew this wasn't feasible without some serious preparation. With this in mind, I turned us around to head back the lookout point while taking in some killer views of the Koolau Mountain Range.

The Old Pali Trail Still a great hike to bring the kids on an outdoor adventure. If you do bring small children, please make sure to bring a hiking carrier like the ones mentioned at the recommended gear tab at the top of this page to stay safe. Enjoy!