The cure for the common comment of “I am bored.”
So you are driving over the Pali Highway and suddenly your child has to go to the bathroom. What do you do? Stop at Queen Emma Park. There are bathrooms in the back by the playground. The trees are great climbing trees for the older children. Send the younger ones to the swing set or to look for minnow in the tiny spring at the base of the big tree. This place is so pleasant you may wish you had brought a picnic lunch. Oh and by the way the Aloha Boy Scout office is right across the street if you have a Cub or Boy Scout who would like an Aloha patch there it is. Actually they have some excellent guide books for Hawaiiana. The Girl Scout head quarters is actually near by as well. On to your adventure over the Pali.
Do not forget to stop at the Pali Look out and tell the story of King Kamehameha. He is the Hawaiian king from the Big Island who united most of the Hawaiian islands. At the Pali Look Out King Kamehameha 's armies pushed the king of Oahu’s troops over the Pali (the cliff) to their deaths. Mark Twain tells of riding a horse to visiting the Nu’uanu battle field and seeing the bleached skeletons in the in the late 1800’s. There were no heads on the skeletons. (Twain said they had been taken for souvenirs.) Kamehameha’s statue is in front of Iolani Palace. When the wind is blowing it is ghostly. Now that is a story which should take the "I am bored" expression right off the face of most children."
Activities with your young children:
I have seen toddlers be mesmerized by the Sea Life Park reef tank: Watching the fish go by.
Buy a bucket and a shovel at a Longs or ABC store and visit the beach during baby hours before 10 a.m. after 2 p.m.
Feed the ducks. Save your left over bread crusts or hamburger buns. Go along the bank of the canal besides Pinky’s restaurant or Buzz's. The little fishes are along the edge of the canal. Did you bring your fishnet and bucket from Longs? Your little one will be so entertained. Sometimes a large black heron will be hanging around the bridge in the evening catching his dinner.
Watching radio controlled airplanes over Kailua’s Kawainui Swamp most weekends. Go up the Pali high way and turn on Kapapa Quarry road. Go past Le Jardin school entrance until you hear the buzzing of the little planes.
Ride a train for 90 minutes every Sunday contact the
Hawaii Railway Society
91 Renton Road Ewa, Hi 96706
Or right here in Kailua go to the boat ramp at Kailua Beach Park. Bring a bucket and a net from Longs. If it is low tide take your keiki along the edge of the rocks at the end of the beach. Walk out to a little cave. See tidal pools. Move the rocks and look for sea cucumbers or black sea stars. Play in the little tide pool.
For older children: Knee deep tide pools and wonders of the snorkeling of Shark’s Cove on the N. Shore. It is great there in the summer. Water may be rough in the winter.
Catamaran sunset cruise off the beach of Waikiki. Fee.
Boogie board at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua. Take your child and push them over and over on the boogie board.
Snorkel at Hanauma Bay. Look for a humu humu nuku nuku apuaha the state fish. Or snorkel down the left side of the bay and look for the resident turtle who is almost always there. If it isn’t there it may be the year that it has gone to the beach in the French Frigate Shoals where most of the green sea turtles go to lay eggs every four or five years. Invest in an underwater camera and let your older keiki snap photos.
Buy a fishnet and crab net from Longs Drug store put some left over hot dog or a piece of shrimp on the net. Put it over the bridge by Buzz’s or Nico's restaurant in Kailua. (Those two restaurants are sort of at either ends of the beach and are by canals.) Come back in 10 minutes or so to see what came to find their dinner.
We do catch and release fishing and crabbing. We look at it and return it to its home.
However, that said, if there is a nearby fisherman who is fishing for his dinner we offer the fish to them.
Crayfish in the stream in Nu’uanu park behind Queen Emma summer palace.
Catfish fishing at Nu'uanu Pond by lottery only apply to DLNR months in advance if you want to do this.
Ho’omaluhia catch and release Sundays: bring a bamboo pole and a fish hook without a prong. They actually have some available for the young guests to use. Go early if you want to use theirs.
Oama fishing in September: In September a small 6” fish runs near Oahu. You will see the fisherman lined up by Kaillua boatramp as well as in Waikiki. The fisherman line up about 4’ feet apart casting and pulling in little fish and putting them in a creel or on a line. They eat the fish fried as well as use them as bait for larger fish.
There are a lot of Charter boats in the Ala wai Harbor for deep sea fishing
Best places for a picnic :
Here are only a few choices:
Sandy Beach to watch the Kite flyer display. (Or join in.)
Contemporary Museum - Great views of Honolulu city from way up on the view. Go on the third Thursday of every month for a free admission
Malaekahana - Great place for a day trip. Just past Laie watch for the sign. Choose a picnic table with incredible ocean views. Walk the beach. swim, surf, or go out to Goat Island. ok my children try to catch the baby the chickens that seem to inhabit the edges of this park.
Ho’omaluhia in Kaneohe- Definitely off the beaten path. Turn off Kamehameha Hwy. Worth your time . Very few tourists in this park. What a gem! It has trails, the pond, the ducks, feeding the fish in the reservoir. Not a place to swim unfortunately due to leptosporiasis.
Kualoa Park a lazy day under the trees with the children running back and forth to the ocean from the picnic table.
Best places to find sea shells:
Yes, we are on a rock in the middle of the ocean. The pounding of the ocean is hard on the the shells. This usually means that only fragments make it on to our beaches. For a shell to survive intact and end up washed up on one of our beach is nearly a miracle. That said, some of the most beautiful shell leis come from the tiny shells that wash up on Pacific island beaches. Puka shells are shells with tiny holes in them strung on a necklace. Puka means hole. Here are some places that we have found shells. Early morning walks along the beach after a storm sometimes can be very fun.
Waimanalo Beach Park
Sherwood Forest Park
North Shore Mokuleia
In the shelves along the walk to Kaena Point
If you are military check out: North Beach on the Kaneohe Navy and Marine Corp Base.
Bellows Air Force Base Beach Park
Hike the trails of the Lyon Arboretum in the back of Manoa Valley. Especially great if you have a child who wants to know the name of everything. The plants are labeled!
The Old Pali Road - paved road. When they build the tunnel through the mountain they bypassed parts of the Old Pali Highway.
Makapuu light house. The trail is paved and you can push a stroller up the trail. In January, February and March you can also see whales from the Makapuu light house hike. It is best if you are there before daylight as they seem to be the most active in the hour after dawn.
Photographic Adventures with incredible Views
Honolulu city lights from Punchbowl look out
The Windward Coast from the Pali Look out. Follow the signs off of the Pali Highway. The wind can blow so hard that your hair will stand straight back from your head.
The Windward Coast line from the Makapuu lighthouse. Awe inspiring. Pull over and take some pictures.
Local Adventures in Eating
Go to Longs or Times and stand in the Crack Seed aisle and choose salty plum or ginger or other crack seed. Buy li hing mui powder and sprinkle on sliced apple or oranges
Zippy’s Plate lunch with two scoops of rice and a macaroni salad.
Ginger Chicken from Chinese food place.
Shave Ice at Island Snow across from Kalapawai Market near Kailua
Beach Park. Hint for Parents they even have a Kona coffee flavor with snow (cream)on top.
Dole Plantation: Pineapple Whip ice cream.
7-11 for a spam musubi
Ring the bell for peace at the Valley of the Temples Buddhist Temple. Enjoy the koi pond and the peacocks. fee
Ulupo Heiau behind the Kailua YMCA. A heiau is a sacred place for ancient Hawaiians. Ulupo was an agricultural heiau. One old gentleman recalls that when they would blow the conch shell to signal that an event was being held that you could hear it for miles around. Walk around to the back and look up at the pile of rocks. Walk on the top and you can see that it once overlooked Kawainui fish pond.
Kawaiihao Church by the Mission Houses on King Street for a Hawaiian language church service
Tour China town for a look at the noodle factories, herb shops hosted by the Chinese Cultural Center phone number for reservation:
Contemporary Museum on the third Thursday of every month for a free admission
Honolulu Museum of Arts 1035 Kinau St. (Fee) art, Movie theater and gift shop. Bring your camera this is a place to photograph your children. There is something about the lighting in the courtyards of this facility which is exceptional.
Sand castles for the family competition or watch as the University of Manoa’s School of Architecture hold their sand castle building contest. Should this be in the ocean adventures or in the artistic adventures?
Every other year UH holds a Children’s Literature festival and brings in authors and illustrators of Children’s literature. It could be possible to hear your child’s favorite book read by its author.
Adventures for those who like to wear camouflage clothes:
USS Bowfin Submarine
Fort DeRussy climb on cannons
Pacific Aviation Museum
USS Missouri _ They will allow you to spend the night on the Missouri if you bring a group and do volunteer restoration work on the ship.
Night time Adventures for :
Sunset on the Beach at Kapahulu near Waikiki
Night time Coral reef walk at Waikiki Aquarium 2777 Kalakaua Ave. (808)923-9741 (Fee)
Spend the night in the zoo
Early morning adventures:
In January, February and March you can also see whales from the Makapuu light house hike. It is best if you are there before daylight as they seem to be the most active in the hour after dawn.
Tea party Adventures
Tea at 1024 in China Town Phone:
The Moana Surfrider Sheraton lanai - afternoon tea
Take the princess tour at the the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel
Waioli Tea Room in Manoa
Adventures for those who love Horses :
Polo Match at Waimanalo polo field.
Hawaiian Rodeo in Waimanalo
Correira Ranch in Waimanalo
Turtle Bay Resort Horse Back Riding
Kualoa Ranch Trail rides
Maunawili Farms Riding/Jumping Competition
Parades with the ladies dressed in pau’oa riding gear with the horses decorated in flowers.
Adventures for those who love creatures :
Visit the Humane Society to pet the animals.
The zoo to the petting zoo.
Nesting birds at Goat island . The birds nest in holes in the ground.
Watching the turkey size hatchlings of the Iwa birds at Kaena Point
Kahala Mandarin for feeding dolphins. Stop in the cafe and order an ice cream for a treat.
Whale watching from Makapuu Point, Sea Life Park or from the whale watching cruises.
Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and spa Watch the caretakers feed the hotels penguins and flamingo’s
Turtles: at Turtle Bay
Laniakea Beach is just past Turtle Bay. Look for all of the cars pulled over on the side of the road. The turtles actually come out of the water and sunbathe on the lava and coral shelves.
Kamalino Road right here in Kailua. There are four or five turtles at that beach access.
Kailua Beach Park between the park and flat island there are two larger turtles that surface from time to time.
Rash guard and surf shorts at the Aloha Flea Market or the Swap Meet around the stadium. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday . More days are open in the weeks right before Christmas.
Hawaiian Island Creations HIC
Tourists have been buying aloha wear there forever.
For other choices Mamo, Princess Kaiulani Fashions also make muumuu. Particularly the form fitting tea length holuku mu’umu’u are lovely.
However, the white aloha shirts with a maile lei really does make lovely Hawaiian wedding/vow renewal or anniversary picture. This is an especially a good idea for the groom who really does not want to wear a tux.
Down Loads for free
Hawaii coloring book of endangered species State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
So you came to Hawaii during the school year and you have to write a report on your trip. For school report info look at the Hawaii Visitor’s bureau site: go/hawaii.com/Oahu
Best beaches (808) 523-4525 Oahu Ocean Recreation Guide with beach info from the State of Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.