Top Fun Stops for Kids on Oahu

Sure, the beaches in Hawaii are like a great big sandbox. But the sun and surf day after day can wear a kid out. When you need a break from the sun, these family friendly stops are surefire kid pleasers.

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center – Catering specifically to young children, the center captivates kids with hands-on exhibits and experiences. Learn about the human body, explore different cultures, discover the plantation history of Hawaii, or imagine what it would be like to be a firefighter. Fair warning: you may need to drag your kids out of there. Maybe shave ice is a good incentive?

Bishop Museum – The museum has much to offer for those interested in the history of Hawaii. What may surprise you is the Science Adventure Center. Interactive exhibits allow kids to explore geology (think: lava!), oceanography, and biology as it relates to the Hawaiian Islands. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the expansive lawn and you could easily spend the better part of a day here.

Photo: Casey Serin

Dole Plantation – Admittedly, the Dole Plantation is tourist attraction that’s heavy on souvenir items. Even so, it makes a pleasant stop if you’re heading toward North Shore. The Pineapple Express takes kids on a 2-mile trip through fields of pineapple and other island crops. The plantation is home to the world’s largest maze, too. Work your way through paths lined with tropical plants in search of eight stations hidden within the pineapple shaped maze. You’ll want to finish off your visit with a Dole Whip. It’s good.

Walk in the Footsteps of Hawaii’s Royalty

If you’re visiting Hawai‘i, take the time to learn a little bit about its history prior to becoming one of the United States. You may be surprised to find that this island state was once a monarchy, home to kings and queens. On O‘ahu, these three stops will enlighten you – and allow you to walk in the footsteps of royalty.

‘Iolani Palace – The only official royal residence in the United States, ‘Iolani Palace – built in the late 1800s – was a modern marvel of its time. Indoor plumbing, electrical lighting, and even a telephone, shortly after its invention made the residence comfortable enough for King Kalakaua, Queen Kapi`olani, and their many important guests. Tours take visitors through the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, and past the regal royal thrones. You’ll also see the imprisonment room, where Queen Lili`uokalani was kept during the United States overthrow of the Hawaiian government. On most Fridays, you can catch the Royal Hawaiian Band from noon to 1 pm on the palace grounds in a free concert. Kama‘aina can take advantage of once a month free admission364 South King Street, Corner Of King St. & Richard St.; (808) 522-0822

Photo: Spencer Critchley

Kamehameha Statue – Across from the ‘Iolani Palace, at the Ali‘iolani Hale (the judiciary building) you’ll stand in awe of King Kamehameha, the leader who united the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. This is one of four statues honoring the king. There are two on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and a fourth stands in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. If you happen to be visiting on June 11, King Kamehameha Day in the islands, you’ll see the statues draped with flower lei.

Bishop Museum – In the museum’s Hawaiian Hall, the Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kāhili Room is home to a precious collection of kahili, or feather standards, once belonging to Hawaiian royalty. The family tree detailing the lineage of the Hawaiian monarchy is fascinating and you’ll see photos of many of Hawai‘i’s kings and queens, along with some of their personal effects. 1525 Bernice Street; (808) 847-3511