There are plenty of activities available for families in Hawaii. Some of the more popular ones are featured this article, including Pearl Harbour, Wet n Wild, the chief's luau at Sea Life Park and the Honolulu Zoo.
Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona Memorial
Pearl Harbor on Oahu is one of the most visited destinations in Hawaii. It is the site of the attack by the Japanese in 1941 which saw the US enter WW2. Probably not interesting for very young kids, but older kids should appreciate the history. There is an informative and emotional 23 minute documentary and a short boat ride to the memorial. When you arrive you need to get your ticket for the USS Arizona Memorial, as you will be allocated a time. We arrived early and only had an hour's wait, which was enough time to walk through the Visitor Centre and grab a bite to eat. You can catch the local bus from Waikiki - it does take a while, allow around 75 minutes. If you book a tour, the tour company will organise your Arizona Memorial ticket so you won't have any delay. The Visitor Centre is open daily from 7am-5pm, with tours from 8am-3pm. The Visitor Centre and USS Arizona Memorial are free. No bags are allowed, so you will need to put these into a locker (for a fee).
Pearl Harbour. image © Bigstock Nateva
The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is well worth a visit, there is great snorkelling and the beach is beautiful, if not a little crowded. Before you can get down to the beach you are required to watch a video outlining the conservation efforts and the rules of the park. You can hire snorkelling gear on the beach, there are lots of fish and coral to see. You can drive here - about a 30 minute drive from Waikiki - but the parking lot fills up quickly, or catch the bus from Waikiki. If you're too tired to trudge back up the hill at the end of the day, you can catch the tram for $2. The park is closed on Tuesdays but open every other day from 6am. Entry is $7.50, children 12 and under free. For more info Hanauma Bay
The kids will have a great time at Wet'n'Wild, located in Kapolei, around 30 minute's drive west of Waikiki. There is an interactive area for younger kids with water cannons and slides. There are over 25 rides including a wave pool and a white water rafting river. There are lockers ($13) and change facilities available. You cannot bring outside food in, and be prepared for long queues at the food outlets. They do rotate rides at times and some are not open all day, so check times at the front gate. Adults $49.99, children 3 years to 106.6cm $37.99, under 2 are free. For more info WetnWild
Chief's Luau at Sea Life Park
One of the most popular luau's in Oahu, the whole family will have a great time at the Chief's Luau. Sea Life Park is a 25 minute drive from Waikiki. It is an interactive evening and the chief is a great entertainer. There is lots of audience participation and the kids can get up on stage to hula. Get to see some Hawaiian crafts and enjoy a traditional feast. If you want to sit up the front, get the royal package, but all seats are pretty good as it's a fairly intimate venue. The fire dancers at the end of the show are a highlight. You can get a bus to pick you up from Waikiki around 3:30pm, which will drop you back at around 9:30pm. The luau is held on Wednesdays and Sundays. From $99/adults, $87/junior(13-17) and $74/children(4-12) and includes Sea Life admission. For more info Sea Life Park
Honolulu Zoo. image © Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo is situated near Diamond Head and you can walk here easily from many Waikiki hotels. It is not a particularly large zoo, which makes it perfect for young kids. Animals include elephants, exotic birds, tigers, and chimpanzees. There is a kid's petting zoo, playground and picnic areas. The beautiful landscaped gardens are a delight to walk around. It is reasonably priced and a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. Not a lot of shade so take hats and water, especially if you're there in the middle of the day. There is a gift shop and snack bar. Open from 9am-4:30pm daily. Entry fee is $19/adults 13+, $11/children 3-12, under 3 free. For more info Honolulu Zoo
The Dole Pineapple Plantation is about an hour's drive from Waikiki. Kids will love the Pineapple Express (a 20 minute train ride through the plantation) and the Pineapple Garden Maze (the largest maze in the world). Grab something to eat at the restaurant. There is also a large gift shop. Lots of people just come here for their pineapple ice-cream and Dole whip. There is free entry to the plantation. Pineapple Express $11/adults, $9/children (4-12). Maze $8/adults, $6/children (4-12). Open from 9:30am to 5:30pm. For more info Dole Plantation
Zipline Canopy Tour
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Zipline Canopy Tour is for the more adventurous traveller. There is a weight restriction - you must be between 40-113 kgs. The tour consists of 7 ziplines and a 60m suspension bridge near a stunning waterfall. The guides are experienced and make the experience a fun, safe and exciting one. You get to see some great rainforest scenery and views of the coastline. Snacks and drinks are provided. The tour runs for 3 hours and there are 7 tours a day, the first starting at 8am. Run by Skyline Eco Adventures, cost is $169, kids under 13 $50 off. For more info Zip Line Hawaii
Happy Trails Hawaii
Enjoy horseback riding on the North Shore of Oahu. Suitable for ages 6 and up and all levels of experience. Ride through beautiful scenery with views of the Waimea Valley and the ocean beyond. The horses are all ex-polo horses and are well-behaved. The guides are knowledgeable and friendly and are particularly good with kids. You will be given instruction on mounting and dismounting, and how to stop and turn your horse. The 1.5hr tour is $95 and the 2hr tour is $115. Open every day from 8am-5pm. Minimum age is 6 years. For more info Happy Trails Hawaii
For more info check our Hawaii travel guide.
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