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A kid-friendly vacation in “The Big Pineapple”
Affectionately nicknamed “The Big Pineapple,” Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu, is an excellent destination choice for families with kids of all ages. Although Honolulu is the most urban and modern city found on all seven of the Hawaiian Islands, there is still plenty of nature, unique attractions, and stunning points of interest to discover here.
Spend your Honolulu vacation visiting the many stunning beaches, such as Waikiki beach or Kualoa Beach Park, just to name a few. Eat delicious Hawaiian cuisine at the North Shore Food Trucks, or grab a Hawaiian style hot dog at Hula Dog. Learn all about Hawaiian culture and history at the Polynesian Cultural Center and check out the Honolulu Museum of Art. Visit a stunning waterfall and then head over to Waimea Valley. Nearly all the main points of interest can be visited via just a short drive from Honolulu.
There are so many hidden gems to discover in Honolulu, you’ll want to try to visit as many of them as possible! If you’ve been wondering what to do in Honolulu, keep on reading to learn about our top tips for things to do in Honolulu with kids.
Visit Corsair Wreck Dive Site
Enjoy a unique and fascinating experience by visiting the Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site. This experience is best for families with older children or teenagers because it involves diving and swimming in the ocean.
Corsair Wreck Dive site is the site of a plane which crashed in 1948 during a routine training mission. At the time, the pilot survived and swam to shore. Although much of the plane is corroded, many parts are still intact including the propeller, the props, a wing, the fuselage, the windshield, and more. It’s a fascinating and eerie experience to visit this plane wreck site so deep under the water, and it’s just a 30-minute drive south of downtown Waikiki.
The waters here are crystal clear and a deep shade of turquoise blue, it’s a stunning area for a dive. Be sure to bring an underwater camera to get some footage of the experience! The wreck site sits 112 feet under the water, and there are sometimes currents. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to go with a guide for safety reasons and to enjoy the full experience with a professional. Several tour companies in Waikiki offer guided tours to the Corsair Wreck Dive Site, including transportation and gear.
What are you waiting for? When you’re wondering what to do in Honolulu, just remember, a wild and thrilling adventure awaits you at the Corsair Wreck Dive Site.
Taste the Flavors of Hawaii
One of the best things to do in Honolulu is sampling and savoring all the unique Hawaiian flavors and foods you won’t find anywhere else. There are some seriously incredible and mouthwatering dishes here that you won’t want to miss out on during your visit. There’s not a better way to be introduced to the local culture than through your palette. Here are some Hawaiian foods you won’t want to miss during your Honolulu family adventure.
If you want to try several unique Hawaiian dishes all at once, your best bet is what the locals call “a Hawaiian Plate.” This typical dish is essentially a plate or a banana leaf filled with single portions of several different dishes. You can find a Hawaiian plate at restaurants, food trucks, food stands, and even at the houses of locals if you’re lucky enough to get invited! No two Hawaiian plates are alike, as the concept involves mixing and matching different Hawaiian dishes of your choice. But our tip is to order a Hawaiian plate with a scoop of kalua pig, pork or chicken laulau, some dried beef pipikaula, and some lomi salmon with a heaping portion of cooked taro (poi) on the side! For dessert, opt for a helping of kulolo, which is taro and coconut cream pudding, or haupia, which is coconut cream pudding without the taro. There’s not a better way to get introduced to numerous Hawaiian dishes all in one go than with a Hawaiian Plate.
Also, shave ice is a classic Hawaiian treat. You’ll see snack stands and little kiosks all over the seven islands serving up this cool and fruity treat in a variety of flavors. Indulging in this iconic frozen treat is a must during your Hawaiian vacation, and it is a hit with the kids!
Poke is another Hawaiian classic. You’ll find different restaurants all over the islands serving poke bowls and various types of meals containing poke. Poke is a raw fish dish boasting a delicious savory, umami flavor. Enjoy a refreshing poke bowl with your choice of toppings, add-ons, and seafood ingredients.
Trying all the delicious and different flavors of Hawaii is by far one of the best things to do in Honolulu, and a great cultural experience for kids and adults to enjoy together!
For the ultimate Hawaiian experience with kids in Honolulu, spend a day at the fun and beautiful Sea Life Park. Set along the coastline north of Hanauma Bay, this expansive and stunning marine mammal park and aquarium can keep kids and adults entertained for hours on end. Here you can discover a wide array of experiences, up-close encounters with all your favorite sea creatures, informative talks led by professional trainers, hands-on activities, and so much more!
Sea Life Park focuses on conservation and education, with all programs led by professional experts who care deeply about the well-being of the animals at the park. The fun and educational experiences offered here are endless. Enjoy up-close, interactive encounters with dolphins, sea lions, and manta rays alongside friendly professional trainers who will tell you fascinating information about each sea animal. Listen to fascinating stories about seals, sea lions, and walruses. Attend a seaweed discovery tour where you can learn all about the native seaweed plants on the island, as well as the park’s efforts to replant and preserve them. Visit a shark pool to see Whitetip sharks, which are native to the Hawaiian islands. Young children can enjoy a touch pool, where they can carefully and gently lay their hands on a variety of reef creatures. See sea creatures swim around behind the glass of a spectacular 300,000 gallon aquarium! From sharks, penguins, sea turtles, and more, your day spent at Sea Life Park will be filled with fun and unforgettable animal encounters.
Between all the activities and educative programs, you’ll be sure to work up an appetite during your Sea Life Park visit. Luckily, there are numerous dining options to choose from, so you’ll be sure to find whichever foods you’re craving. Try a legendary Hawaiian-style hot dog at Pink’s Hollywood Hot Dogs. Enjoy local dishes at Kau Kau Kitchen, and grab a sweet treat at Wiki Wiki Snack Bar. All restaurants offer a kid’s menu, and several places offer healthy options which cater to a wide range of alternative diets and allergies.
Take a break from all the interactive experiences and attractions to do some souvenir shopping. Sea Life Park has a vibrant selection of unique gift shops selling one-of-a-kind items. Browse Hawaiian-inspired art and jewelry at Seaside Boutique, and shop for sea-themed gifts at the main Gift Shop. Let your little ones choose a plush marine animal toy to bring back home with them, or a Sea Life Park t-shirt to remember their family day at the park forever! There’s not a better way to keep your Sea Life Park memories alive than with the perfect souvenir from one of the gift shops.
One of the best and most authentic experiences not to be missed by families with kids visiting Honolulu is the Ka Moana Lu’au, which is held at the park six evenings per week. The lu’au party encapsulates all the most prominent aspects of Hawaiian culture into one fun and exciting, family-friendly experience. Set outdoors near the oceanfront with stunning cliffs in the background, the lu’au celebrates Hawaii’s Polynesian ancestors and the cultural traditions they brought to the Hawaiian Islands along with them. Watch a breathtaking hula-dancing performance, enjoy a Hawaiian-style feast with traditional dishes, and dance under the moon. There are numerous activities at the lu’au for kids of all ages to enjoy, including hula lessons, ukulele lessons, lei-making, and more! Be sure to reserve your table in advance, as seating is limited.
A family visit to Sea Life Park is the perfect way to enjoy all the most vibrant and fascinating aspects of Hawaiian culture in one place. Spend the day on the coast interacting with marine animals, attending a lu’au party, learning about Hawaiian culture and nature, eating traditional foods, and more! If you’re wondering what to do in Honolulu, look no further. A family visit to Sea Life Park is by far one of the best things to do in Honolulu.