Whenever we tell people we are from “Hawaii”, most of them associate the word with three things:
1) Hula dancers
2) surfing and
3) Elvis Presley.
We then spend the next few minutes (sometimes hours) talking about our lovely island home, making sure the impression we leave makes them want to visit Hawaii one day. You know, images of our culture and people, and not the Hawaii they know from the TV series Hawaii 5-0.
It only takes one visit (or maybe several) to the Bishop Museum, the largest museum in Hawai’i on the island of Oahu to learn about Hawaii, Hawaiian culture, and its history. If you’re visiting the island with kids, it’s definitely on high on our list of things to do in Hawaii!
Every local on the island loves this museum, so when our 5 and 8 year old tell us they want to go to the museum, that says a lot.
Bishop Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Polynesian artifacts from the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, but more importantly items from Hawaii’s royal lineage.
The one exhibit that was most interesting to my daughter was the original and valuable feather cape worn by King Kamehameha. She said she got, “chicken skin” just looking at it. We learned about the birds and how their feathers decorated the ceremonial robes of the Hawaiian royalty.
The yellow feathers were the most valuable, not because they were prettier, but because they were scarcer, there being no entirely yellow birds in Hawaii back then.
Recently renovated, the Pacific Hall is full of interactive media which caught the attention and interest of the children. The “LIVE” demonstrations also were a hit. On the day we visited we learned how they used to make octopus lures out of shells.
After an hour or so roaming the museum we headed over to the Planetarium, for a 25-minute show called “In My Back Yard”, which explored the moon, planets and stars through music. Educational and fun the kids really enjoyed the show.
And last but not the least, we walked on over to the Science Adventure Center, their favorite place of all. With its large volcano sculpture in the center of the building, and a small slide that went through the middle, we hung out there for a good hour looking at fossils, playing dress up in animal costumes and watching the lava melting demonstration which was pretty neat.
The volcano “erupts” every 10 minutes, and the kids can go to the top floor and look into the volcano as it bubbled.
Allow plenty of time to roam the grounds, it’s a wonderful place for kids to just run and play as well.
Though there’s a cafe onsite, we brought a small backpack with snacks for the kids and just sat under a tree having our sandwiches afterwards. It’s the perfect place to just sit, relax and enjoy Hawaii’s beautiful weather.