Favorite Activities in Oahu with Kids

Hawaii Week was packed and we never got the chance to cover Oahu. Sonja Swenson works with the Oahu Visitors Bureau on PR and is the mother of two children — a perfect resource to recommend top family activities on the island. Thanks Sonja!

Sonja Swenson and her family

As a mother of two children, fun and educational family activities are always a top priority. Giving my children experiences that will last a lifetime is an amazing feeling, and I’m so lucky to be able to live on Oahu where there are so many family focused activities to choose from.

The island’s safe environment, tropical beauty and accessibility make almost anything possible. With so many options from the town and country aspect of Oahu, our weekends are packed with healthy, positive, and educating experiences.

Here are some of my favorite activities in Honolulu that are both fun and affordable.

Children’s Discovery Center

Children love getting their hands into everything they can, and parents love for their children to have hands-on experiences. At the Discovery Center, your child can explore scientific wonders from the human body to Hawaiian Rainbows. The expansive center encourages children to touch, feel, listen, and question the world around them as they explore each gallery.

The Dole Pineapple Plantation

Give your children a tropical and educational experience at the Dole Plantation. Take a ride on the Pineapple Express or tour the Plantation Garden. The highlight of this experience is racing through the largest maze in the world, Dole’s Pineapple Garden Maze. Finish off the day with a DoleWhip, a soft and refreshing pineapple-flavored ice cream, a true Hawaiian treat.

Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley

Experience the lush mountains, unique plants and exotic waterfall of Waimea Valley. The botanical garden is home to archeological Hawaiian sights, as well as endangered native plants. The on-duty lifeguard makes swimming in the pool below Waimea Valley’s 60-foot waterfall a safe and exciting experience.

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum’s vast collection of Hawaiian artifacts is the perfect place to get a glimpse of old Hawaii. With a historical guide and accessible information, your family can learn interesting facts, stories and legends about the Native Hawaiian people.

In August 2009, the museum reopened its acclaimed Hawaiian Hall, which showcases the world’s largest collection of Native Hawaiian and Pacific area artifacts, many of which have never been publicly displayed before. Kids will enjoy Hawaiian Hall’s interactive resource center that offers hands-on children’s activities.

Other Bishop Museum highlights are its planetarium show, in which the unique display of the universe makes you feel as though you are amongst the stars, and the active volcano at the museum’s Science Adventure Center. The synthetic volcano simulates the process of a real volcano eruption with loud rumbling sounds, steam and synthetic lava. It’s a thrilling experience for children of all ages.

Polynesian Cultural Center

From wild fireknife dances to traditional hula, your family can experience the heart-racing thrills of the Pacific Islands at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). The warm island spirit of aloha is exemplified by the friendly tour guides eager to share their Hawaiian culture. Visitors to PCC can also enjoy a canoe parade, a luau feast and its spectacular evening show, “Ha, The Breath of Life,” which features original costumes, music compositions, chants, and dances produced with cultural experts from each of the Center’s island villages.

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