Monday, September 28, 2015

To Do in Hawaii

I know you know that we've been studying Hawaii for months now, so I KNOW you know that I have a definite list of things that I want us to see and do while we're there! Here are the things that we're definitely going to do, the things that we're maybe going to do, and the things that we're not going to do even though I want to:

We are definitely going to do these things!
  • Attend a luau. The kids' grandparents are going to treat us to an evening at a luau, and the kids are VERY excited. We haven't booked it yet, but we're probably going to attend either the Sunset Luau or the Haleo Luau.
  • Explore tide pools. I mean, of course! I'm also looking for tide pools that you can snorkel in, because that's something that we want to learn on this trip. Possibilities include the Kapoho tide pools
  • See the petroglyphs. There are petroglyphs in Volcanoes National Park, but I'd also like to check out some of the other spots where they're found. This one isn't far from where we'll be staying on the Big Island.
  • Spend a day at Volcanoes National Park. Honestly, I want to spend our whole trip here! The kids are going to LOVE this place, and they have a Junior Ranger badge!
  • Summit Mauna Kea. Matt and I are going to do this while the kids' grandparents babysit, and I am so excited!
  • Touch the southernmost point of the United States. While it's not the southernmost point of US territory (that's American Samoa), Ka Lae is the southernmost point of any US state, and it's theorized that it might be the original settlement point of the Polynesians to Hawaii. It's also close to the green sand beach, which is a maybe.
  • Visit the Bishop Museum. It's an ASTC Passport museum, which means it's free for us, and it has Hawaiian historical and cultural exhibits. 
  • Visit the Pacific Aviation Museum. It will provide the hands-on experience of World War 2's air warfare that we need, and Will LOVES aircraft and flying.
  • Visit Pearl Harbor. THIS is the entire reason behind our months-long study of World War 2! I've already purchased our tour tickets, and we need to remember to print the children's Junior Ranger books, as they're not available on-site. We plan to spend up to a full day here.
  • Visit the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. It will add context to our study of Hawaii's monarchy, AND there's a Junior Ranger program!

We are maybe going to do these things!
  • Hike a lava tube. I think it would be excellent, and the kids would love it, but we'll just have to see how it fits into our days.
  • Hike to the lava flow. I SUPER want to do this, but the organizer told Matt to call closer to our trip to see if they'd even be running the hikes then, and I also don't know if they're kid-friendly. This one, for instance, is something like 10 miles, and is too intense for me, much less the kids.
  • Find Ernie Pyle's grave in the National Cemetery. It's not mandatory, though. We'll see how our days go.
  • Tour a coffee farm. I would LOVE this, but I don't think it would be more special than any other farm to the kids.
  • Visit a green sand beach. Papakolea Beach is one of only four green sand beaches in the world, but getting to it is probably more of an ordeal than grandparents should muster.
  • Visit the Waikiki Aquarium. Will read the biography of the monk seal KP2, who now lives at the Waikiki Aquarium, so we might go to see him. We just visited an aquarium in Chicago a couple of months ago, however, AND if we're going to see sea life, I'd rather do it on the Hawaii beaches, so we might not.
  • Watch whales. I'm not sure if the season has even begun yet, and again, this is something that we could possibly do in California.

We are not going to do these things, even though I want to!
  • Take a helicopter tour. The kids would freaking LOVE this, but it's too expensive to work into the budget. Another time!
  • Take a surfing lesson. I think the kids would love it, but Matt says there are plenty of places to try this in California, which we visit more often.
  • Tour the Hawaii state capitol building. It has beautiful architecture, and Will was struck by the fact that some of the senators and members of Congress wear Hawaiian shirts and leis to sessions. If they were in session, we might have seen about stopping by so she could see them, but they're not.
  • Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. I'd like to take the kids there, but it's just too expensive. I'm hoping that we can have some of the same sort of cultural experiences at the national parks, however.
  • Visit the USS Bowfin. The kids' grandfather used to be a Navy officer on a submarine, so it's something that I'd like them to learn about, but it doesn't look like this museum lets you really get inside the submarine and explore.
I'll be taking a couple of travel guides with me, so I'm sure this list will expand, but I'm keeping my hard priorities--volcanoes, sea life, family, BEACHES!!!--in my head, so that I don't overschedule our trip.

Although if ever there was a human who could find a way to do ALL THE THINGS, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that that human is me!

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