Family Activities in Honolulu, HI
Rife with supernatural phenomena, Hawaiian folklore needs little embellishment to induce chicken skin. When Oahu Ghost Tours makes you consider the uprooting of ancient sites to make way for the Honolulu metropolis, prepare to be spooked as you crunch through gravelly walkways and face fierce winds at the edge of cliffs. Your camera may capture mysterious orbs or human-like figures at some of the sites, so bring your best camera and take lots of pictures. Choose from three scary tours: Honolulu City Haunts, Orbs of Oahu, or the day tour called Sacred Spirits. Oahu Ghost Tours may not be suitable for young children because of the scare factor. The tour bus will pick you up in Waikiki starting at 6:45 pm. Tour prices $29 to $56.
Twice a day, Bishop Museum's science educators make 2000-degree lava. You, too, can harness the power of a real volcanic eruption with the push of a button on a replica. This just might be the most fun you've had learning about volcanoes, tsunamis, and crazy creatures, and the 16,500-square-foot Science Adventure Center is just one building in this huge museum complex, complete with Planetarium Theater, Interactive Science Demonstrations, outdoor Native Garden, Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, Hawaiian Hall, and museum cafe. Nowhere else on earth houses such a huge collection of Hawaiian artifacts and rich cultural heritage exhibits. Check out the bi-monthly planetarium show, “The Sky Tonight.” Free under age 3. Open Wednesday to Monday, 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m.
When you can't stand one more day outdoors at the beach, take your wee ones to the fantastic Children's Discovery Center. A kid's curious little mitts can clamber all over everything! This three-story interactive museum houses a playground-size digestive system with teeth so big you can sit on them and a stomach with crawling space. Dream the future future in a pretend bank, courthouse, police station, kitchen, newsroom, theater, and more before heading up to the Old Hawaii-themed second floor, where you can operate a hand-crank shave ice machine, pick on a pineapple plantation, and blow three-foot-long bubbles. Immerse yourself in 'traditional' rooms from China, Japan, Korea, and more, complete with traditional dress-up gear to try on and faux food. $10 admission, $8 with local ID. Open Tuesday through Friday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Closed Mondays. Plentiful parking.
The famous volcanic crater of Diamond Head can be seen from all over Honolulu. Named for crystals in the soil that early Western settlers mistook for diamonds, this crater saw World War II action before becoming the most recognizable landmark on the island, not to mention the principle feature in myriad Hawaii tourism marketing campaigns. Take a hike up the kid-friendly trails for an unbelievable view from above. Little soldiers will love scampering on remnants from old WWII canons, lookouts, and concrete dugouts. Less agile family members should be forewarned of the almost 300 steps marking the final ascension to the summit. The entire trail is otherwise friendly, paved, and has been attempted multiple times in high heels. The gate to the trail and parking area is open from sunrise to sunset and manned by the Parks & Recreation services, with restrooms, maps, and a food truck on the parking lot premises.
Children and adults ages five and up can learn to surf with the best firefighter surf instructors on the island. Instruction is given using state-of-the-art safety equipment while teaching you to surf on a pristine, secluded beach, so you will not have to worry about other beginner surfers wiping you out, make it worth the extra cost of the lesson. Lessons include all the gear, transportation to and from the lesson, the instruction, and the peace of mind knowing that your family is learning to surf from life-saving professionals.