Awesome Oahu Activities For Kids

22 June 2015

Elvis was right. Blue is the colour that comes to mind when you think about Hawaii. Clear blue water, sparkling blue pools and blue sky for miles. But when you and your familial posse have had enough pool time, spa time and ocean adventures, there’s still plenty to do out of the water on Oahu to keep the keiki (Hawaiian for ‘kids’) happy and the parents sane. From horse riding to pineapple plantations and getting your culture on, here’s some Oahu activities to check out.

 New Zealand on show at the Rainbows of Paradise Canoe Pageant at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Image: Cassandra Laffey

Polynesian Cultural Center


For those who remember Expo 88, this cultural theme park, an hour’s drive north of Waikiki, has a similar set-up with pavilions dedicated to seven Pacific Islands set across 17 hectares. While the all-inclusive entry price is steep, there is enough entertainment and hands-on activities to fill a full day here.

 Kids can learn how to craft with coconut leaves. Image: Cassandra Laffey

Each Pacific Island village showcases different cultural islander traditions ranging from canoe making to basket weaving and even how to create a fire. The village hosts are very accommodating and my daughter received a crown and a fishing toy woven from coconut leaves, while older kids can learn to craft these themselves. The highlight is the Rainbows of Paradise Canoe Pageant – a colourful showcase of traditional costumes and dance performed along the lagoon at 2:30pm daily.


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 It takes about an hour to find your way through the Dole Plantation Maze. Image: Cassandra Laffey

Dole Plantation


Admission to the historic Dole Plantation is free; however each attraction within the fruit-themed park has its own entry fee. Not dissimilar to the Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple, Dole Plantation has a 20-minute Pineapple Express plantation tour through tropical fruit farms and highlighting traditional harvest methods, and a famous ice-cream treat – the DoleWhip.

 One of the local inhabitants at the pineapple plantation. Image: Cassandra Laffey

Also onsite is one of the world’s largest mazes – in the shape of a giant pineapple, naturally – which spans over a hectare and is created from 14,000 local Hawaiian plants. There’s eight hidden stations within the maze that kids will love the challenge of ticking off their tickets.

 Koi kites greet visitors to Kualoa Ranch. Image: Cassandra Laffey

Kualoa Ranch


Also in Oahu’s interior, Kualoa Ranch kicks it up a notch with a variety of adrenaline-fuelled activities. Spread over 1,600 hectares on the northeastern side of Oahu and located 35km from Honolulu, Kualoa is a locally owned, sixth-generation working cattle ranch and its location between the towering mountains and the ocean has provided the backdrop for countless movies and TV series including Jurassic Park, Lost and the new Hawaii Five-O.

 Mountains loom behind the working cattle ranch. Image: Getty

There’s a Treetop Canopy Zipline to conquer, ATV tours through the filming locations and horseback riding for the big kids, while the littlies will love the 800-year-old fish pond and checking out the ‘secret island’.


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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.