Friday, November 13, 2015

Hawaii with Kids: Sightseeing on Oahu

We didn't have as much time on Oahu as we did the Big Island, and out of the loving embrace of my in-laws our too-expensive hotel was also kind of crummy, so during this leg of our trip we were quite happy to be out and about every single second!

Although I love the planning stage of a vacation almost as much as I love the actual trip, on both islands my favorite activity is actually to simply hop in the car, decide which way round we're going, and then to simply drive along the coast. There are beautiful vistas and engaging stopping points practically every mile, so the biggest challenge is deciding which stops to skip so that you can actually make some headway.

My advice: don't skip any of the stops!
This is Koko Crater. Will was so afraid that I'd insist on actually hiking up the 1,048 steps to its summit that she wouldn't even leave the car when we stopped to look at it. And yes, if she had gotten out, I may very well have dragged us there.
 We were lucky to see Halona Blowhole in action, as the conditions aren't always right for it:

Something that I know that I've mentioned a few times already, but haven't really shown you, is our family obsession with shave ice. We had it a few times on the Big Island, and it was yummy and all, but here on Oahu, it. Was. Exceptional.

At a roadside stand not far from Makapu'u Beach, we ate the best shave ice of our entire trip. This, my friends, is rainbow shave ice with a "snowcap," sweetened condensed milk that's drizzled on top. It's astoundingly delicious:

The rest of the family likes their shave ice pretty well, too!

At Makapu'u Beach (that's a seabird sanctuary there in the distance), the big entertainment was Will finding a coconut, tossing it into the ocean, and then the rest of us watching it forever to see where it would go.

See the coconut?

We didn't visit any restaurants in Oahu, although we tried to go to Treetops twice, only to be thwarted each time by the fact that their website misrepresents their hours and the Hawaiian buffet brunch that we kept wanting attend was never ready when the website said it would be. We did, however, visit a Japanese cafe and I ordered a drink called a "jelly coffee." 

I regret that decision still.

On another day, we intended to briefly check out the Bishop Museum, to which we get free entry as both it and our hometown museum both participate in the ASTC Passport Program, but somehow, unsurprisingly, we managed to stay all day:
Aquaponics in a fish tank! I have several more detailed photos of this setup in my drive, and the entry "Figure out fish tank aquaponics" in my planner.
The surfing lesson that I wasn't sure would happen? It happened! Will really wanted it, so we set it up for her, and then were really excited when later that same morning, we found this big exhibit on Duke Kahanamoku. I've now got a couple more reading and watching activities based on him set up in our school to-do list.

We saw several full-sized replicas of a heiau on the Big Island, but this model actually makes the complete set-up easier to understand:

Will is in LOVE with koa wood and shark tooth weaponry. There are a few reasonably priced replicas available online...

Much of their day is spent in this type of interaction:

Thanks to the information on this display, I now also have "Research atlas beetles as pets" on my to-do list. Sigh...

The kids and I normally focus our art collections around fanart and uber-contemporary pop culture response pieces, but now I'm seriously looking for some volcano art to add:

The Bishop Museum was also great if you're studying Hawaiian cosmology or the monarchy, because it has extensive collections on both. I spent the most time in those two places, while Matt supervised the children in the science building. 

On our way to that building for the first time, we were walking directly behind another couple, there with a larger group of people. The guy said something to his partner that I didn't hear, and in response she barked QUITE loudly enough for ALL of us to hear, "Well, if you don't change your attitude then we might as well return those laser light show tickets!"

For the rest of the trip, any instances of misbehavior on the part of any family member was met with the threat of losing their laser light show tickets.


Tina said...

Ha! I would shape up my behavior if I was in danger of loosing my laser light show tickets!

I really, really, need to know how that fish tank set up works. I've been wanting a fish tank, not really for fish, but for the humidity it could add to the house as well as the soothing sound of water bubbling out of the filter. But it use the fish tank to grow stuff? I am totally in.

julie said...

I know, right?!? And you'd definitely shape up if your partner spoke to you as if you were a toddler! Eavesdropping on the boorish behavior of other tourists is one of my favorite parts of travel...

I think you should do all the thought work of figuring out a fish tank aquaponics system now, and then you'll be all set to begin right away after your next move. And then you can teach me!

Tina said...

You mean you won't be doing all the hard work for me ;0)

Oh my gosh, boorish behavior is one of my most/least favorite things to look out for when people watching. The kiddo and I were at some event one time (darn concussions stealing my memories) and she turned and looked at my with a mixture of fear and bewilderment at the awful behavior of all the kids that were there. She couldn't understand how they could all be misbehaving so badly. Granted, neither could I, but I'm use to seeing it.

I started doing some research, so far it looks pretty cool. Lots of ideas turning in my brain that I might have to play around with before we move, so I am ready to get it going when we get where ever we are going! A pinterest board will be created tomorrow.