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.

Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a beautiful curved marine life conservation area and underwater park that provides an unforgettable snorkeling experience to its visitors. We recommend arriving early as parking fills up quickly and lines for the snorkel equipment can grow as the day wears on.

There is a 1.00$ parking fee and admission cost of 7.50$ Children 13 and under, Hawaii State residents, and active duty military are free. There is a small concession stand to grab a bite to eat at the main entrance. If it is your first time visiting Hanauma Bay or its been over 1 year since visiting the bay, the family is required to watch a  brief conservation video explaining the park rules.

After exiting the theater there is a paved hill visitors must trek down to get to the beach. There is a shuttle that takes people down for 1.00$ each. If the family has a ton of beach gear, I recommend going on the shuttle to make the trip a more pleasant experience. If not , the walk down gives visitors and opportunity to take in a the gorgeous view of the Bay.

Once the family arrives at the beach there is plenty of shaded areas under palm trees or out in the on the sand to relax.

There are locker facilities, visitor information booths, showers, and snorkel gear rental right on the beach.

Since the reef is a conservation area and the natural curvature of the bay provides exceptional protection, snorkeling here is like jumping into an aquarium.

Need transportation from your hotel or rental? Click the following link for the:  Oahu Hanauma Bay Shuttle.


Take Kalaniana'ole Highway east from Waikiki for approximately 10 miles. Entrance to the preserve is on the right.

Helpful tips and info:

The water in the bay is a little chilly, so a rash guard like the ones mentioned on the recommended gear tab at the top of this page would be helpful to keep warm while providing sun protection.

Call 808-396-4229 for recorded message with all current fees, times, conditions

OPEN from 6am - 6pm (winter - October thru March) and 6am - 7pm (summer - April thru September)

OPEN every Saturday from 6am - 10pm throughout the year

CLOSED every Tuesday

Enjoy and share your family experience and tips below.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Located just 20 minutes away from Waikiki, the Aloha Stadium is Hawaii’s largest open air flea market. The swapmeet is a shopping mecca featuring unique treasures where the locals often go for the best deals in town.

Admission is only a 1$ per buyer and they are open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday 8am-3pm ( 630am-3pm Sunday.)

The endless rows of over 700 local merchants offer the best value on imported merchandise, hand made items, eclectic art pieces, popular local snacks, and other made in Hawaii products.


Our first stop was one of the many local fruit stands where they were selling  fresh coconut.

Next we stopped at the Hawaiian shirt stand where 8$ gets you an aloha shirt or dress made in Hawaii.

There is plenty of fresh local produce at great prices.


There is a large offering of Hawaiian crafts from various vendors like these Ukuleles.

Kids love the selection of cheap toys.

  Moms will love the selection of crafts, jewelry, and handbags.

This is sure to be your one stop destination to find that special gift or souvenir for everyone on your list.

 Tip: Since there is plenty of competition, you can barter with most of the merchants for the best price.

For transportation to the Swap meet click on the following link: Aloha Flea Market.

From East Oahu, Waikiki /Honolulu: Take H-1 freeway West, exit 1E – Take the “Stadium” exit.

From West Oahu, Koolina, Kapolei: Take H-1 freeway East, exit 13B – Take the “Stadium” exit 1b.