10 Things for Families To Do in Honolulu
The secrets to making travel with young kids enjoyable – for everyone – are the same in Honolulu as anywhere else. Carry snacks, make sure the children get enough sleep, and schedule time for them to run around and get some physical activity every single day.
But where do you take your children to play on Oahu? Here are 10 spots local families enjoy.
The small but nice Honolulu Zoo, located in Queen Kapiolani Park on the edge of Waikiki, has more than 900 species of animals. There are 45-minute guided tours on Mondays and Saturdays (the Safari Stroll, a Reptile Roundabout & Primate Island tour, and an Island Life tour). Or just meander along the walking path that takes you past elephants, giraffes, and other animals as you wind through the zoo’s botanical garden-like grounds. It’s open every day except Christmas.
There’s nothing better than an ice skating rink on a hot day. It’s always cool at the Ice Palace, near Aloha Stadium. There are public skating hours every day and some evenings. Bring your jacket.
Local families take food and spend the day relaxing at Ala Moana Beach Park, just across from Ala Moana Shopping Center. The hundred-acre park has lots of shade trees over lovely grass, a half-mile stretch of beautiful sandy beach, calm waters for swimming, restrooms, and parking.
The Children’s Discovery Center, located across from Kakaako Waterfront Park in downtown Honolulu, is hands-on and kids love it. They can “look inside” a human body, try out being a fireman, banker, mechanic or television anchorperson, learn about the islands’ cultural history, and (pretend to) fly a jet. There’s a separate area where only kids 5 and under are allowed.
iTrampoline Hawaii is a large indoor trampoline park, and in addition to open areas for jumping there is also dodge ball, basketball, and a foam pit. If you don’t want to jump, its waiting areas have Wi-Fi and wide-screen TVs. It’s located about 25 miles from Honolulu, just off the H1 freeway in Waipahu.
No one should visit Hawaii without enjoying shave ice, cousin to the snow cone (but better). When President Obama is in town he stops by Waiola Shave Ice, not far from Waikiki (the menu’s “Obama Rainbow” flavors are cherry, lime, and passion fruit). A legendary shave ice place is Matsumoto’s, which has served shave ice in Haleiwa on the North Shore since 1951.
Pick up masks, snorkels and fins (most supermarkets and drug stores sell them) and take your family on a snorkeling expedition. Sans Souci Beach in Waikiki is a good snorkel spot when the tide is high, and the four protected lagoons at Ko Olina are beautiful, fairly calm and have plenty of fish. Arrive early for the best shot at Ko Olina’s limited parking (Lagoon No. 4 has the most spaces).
Tiki’s Family Fun Center, located next to the Dole Cannery Theaters in Iwilei, near downtown Honolulu, is a 10,000-square-foot indoor playground where families can play laser tag, mini-golf, mini-bowling and arcade games. It’s a good destination for a rainy day. They also have food and ice cream.
The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail, on the southeastern point of the island, is a 2-mile moderate hike that some children may be up for. There are amazing views from the top, including of Koko Head and Koko Crater. When it’s clear, you can see the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Take sunscreen and water.
Pupukea Beach Park, located on the island’s North Shore, is worth a day trip from May through October. (During the winter months, its currents and waves are strong and not recommended.) Its swimming area called Sharks Cove – don’t let the name scare you – is fairly shallow and great for snorkeling. There are tide pools to its left, which are great to sit in with babies and explore.
Where to Stay
The Imperial Hawaii Resort An Oasis of Waikīkī Comfort
The perfect choice for families and travelers of all ages. The Imperial provides
hotel guests, condominium and club owners, and exchangers maximum enjoyment of the facilities. We are committed to providing a high quality vacation experience, and our goal is to treat all owners and visitors with the true kama’aina spirit of ho’okipa: courtesy, respect and hospitality.