Bishop Museum: A Hawaii Attraction

Bishop MuseumOne of the popular tourist destinations in Hawaii is the Bishop Museum. It is a must see when visiting Oahu. In a natural paradise filled with extraordinary beaches, outstanding falls and amazing volcanoes it could hardly be otherwise.

Yet, it does offer some truly fine museums as well. One of the foremost, which would merit a visit in any city, is the Bishop Museum.

Located in Honolulu, the outdoor grounds and building facade alone make the trip worthwhile. A large open grassy area highlights a 19th century structure that resembles the Natural History Museum in New York. But the 50-foot palm trees make it clear you are nowhere near Manhattan.

Built in 1889, it is the legacy of one of the leading citizens of the day, Charles Reed Bishop. He wished to honor his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a member of the royal Kamehameha family, by providing a facility to make all Hawaiians proud. It began with a few items, mostly from their private collection. Since then, the collection has grown to over 25 million objects covering a wide range of subjects displaying Hawaii’s heritage and natural blessings.

Bishop Musuem Oahu

Bishop Musuem Oahu

Within the three-story Hawaiian Hall, for example, there are thousands of artifacts covering the island state’s unique Asian, European and American immigrant cultures. It provides an outstanding view into the not-too-distant past when Hawaii was developing out of its native roots and into a modern culture. This Hawaii family vacation is also a history lesson as well for those taking their family vacation in Hawaii.

At the same time, it’s easy to find many thousands of objects devoted to this unique land’s roots in the Polynesia Hall. Two floors of exhibits contain objects that represent the Polynesian and Micronesian cultures that fed and interacted with the island chain.

The Natural History Hall covers many of the natural animal wonders of Hawaii and is also a popular tourist destination in Hawaii. Certainly, similar museums in London or New York provide awider range. But here the emphasis is on those species native to the area. That provides the museum with a distinctive difference that is well worth the time spent exploring it. Rare birds and insects found nowhere else are special highlights.

Anyone visiting will want to make time to take in the museum’s up-to-date astronomy wing, the Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium. Much more than the sometimes-dull show offered elsewhere, the views provided offer a vista of the skies here that is unlike any elsewhere. The views can make you say that this is the best Hawaii tourist attraction there is.

One of the latest additions is the Castle Building, erected to house an ever-changing array of fascinating exhibits. Hands-on displays of robotics will delight young and old alike. Interactive exhibitions about everything from dinosaurs to space exploration have been offered in the past. The innovation of the curators makes it a sure bet that no matter when you visit there will be something interesting on display.

A recent offering that looks to be made permanent describes in detail the life of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. There are dozens of items from her personal collection on display. The Bishop Museum offers you the history of Hawaii, culture and modern day exhibits. A great place for a fun learning family vacation here in Hawaii. Popular tourist destination in Hawaii like the Bishop Museum offers you the general info of everything about Hawaii.

 

 

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Diamond Head: A Great Family Attraction in Hawaii

Some of the popular places like Diamond Head State Monument, located in Oahu, is one of Hawaii’s biggest tourist attractions. It isn’t hard to see why. To the geologists it might just be a ‘pyroclastic cinder cone generally comprised of a friable tuff-type soil structure’, whatever that means.

To tourists, Diamond Head is the summit of volcanic excitement.

Named by English sailors in the 19th century who found calcite crystals they mistook for diamonds, it is Hawaii’s most recognizable landmark. Its diameter covers over 3,500 ft/1067 m. At its pinnacle, it is 760 feet/232 m high at Le’ahi Peak.

But those numbers, large as they are, hardly convey the sheer breathtaking sight that greets visitors whether at the base or the top. The volcano saw its last explosive eruption over 500,000 years ago. But the amazement on the faces of those who hike to the top is ever new.

Diamond HeadThe hike is just under three-quarters of a mile (about a kilometer). No more than a moderate climb, it takes about an hour to reach the top. But during and afterward one has the feeling that this is the experience of a lifetime. For along the switchback trail, which offers a handrail for assistance, the sights are unparalleled.

Climbing up the final 99-step stairs near the top, the feeling grows that you are about to see things you never have before, and never will again. Make your way through the dark tunnel then enter into the light. At the top your effort is rewarded by a panoramic view of Oahu that is unavailable from any other vantage point. This is a great family vacation for you since not only will you be spending time and the wonderful view with your family but you will get a dose of exercise by climbing the stairs.

Take a few moments to enjoy the small things, too. A military bunker that once housed WWII lookouts is still a major attraction. It is at the end of the 225 ft/68 m tunnel. Explore pieces of the old fort built at the turn of the 20th century.

The gentle trade winds brush your hair while you listen to the crashing of the waves down at the shoreline. Look down and see the beautiful Kapiolani Park at the south end of Waikiki. Look across the landscape and gaze on some of Hawaii’s most luxurious private estates. In the center of the island are the Koolau Mountains.

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Bring a flashlight to assist you through the tunnel and a bottle of water to assist on the hike. And, oh, don’t forget the camera. Take souvenir shots of your Hawaii family vacation against the backdrop of the tunnel and on the way up to the Diamond Head. Even though there are a lot of popular places in Hawaii nothing beats the Diamond Head as it is an exhausting and fun way to tour. Hiking up the hill to get to the summit is the best way to see the view of the Diamond Head and the view of Hawaii. This has to be one of the most popular places in Hawaii!

Temperatures at the summit can be cool, but the sun is very hot at times, especially given the dark stone all around. Dress accordingly. Diamond Head attracts over 600,000 visitors per year, so come early and be prepared for the crowd. This Hawaii family attraction visit should be planned before hand.

And, by the way, ‘pyroclastic’ just means rock fragmented by fire produced by a volcanic eruption, while tuff turf is rock made of compressed volcanic ash. Come climb this big cinder cone, a hill made of volcanic ash, and see what the geologists – and the tourists – get so excited about. So add Diamond Head to the list of your popular places in Hawaii.

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Hawaii Aquariums

Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium

 

Hawaii tourist destination, other than scenic views of the falls and the volcanoes, especially from the wonderful beaches of Hawaii, you should visit Hawaii’s aquariums. Hawaii is the best place or one of the best places to visit an aquarium since Hawaii boasts some of the beautiful sea creatures there is since it is surrounded by water. You can add Hawaii aquariums to your list of your family vacation.

Maui Ocean Center

The Maui Ocean Center is one of Hawaii’s premier aquatic displays and a top Hawaii tourist destination.

In this island state full of natural wonders that’s a high achievement indeed. Located in Maalaea Harbor Village on the southwest shore of Maui, it offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits, either one of which would be well worth the visit. This center is one of Hawaii tourist destination of the best aquariums there is on the island.

Walk through the 16-meter (54-foot) tunnel and gaze into the 2.5 million liter (750,000 gallon) tank full of native species. This being Maui, that naturally includes lots of sharks, including the known man-eater Tiger Shark. Sharks often seem unpredictable. Yet here they swim peacefully with the Mahi Mahi and Spotted Eagle Rays that share the enclosure.

If you’re feeling nervous, just take a trip topside to view any of the 40 marine tanks. Enjoy the many colorful creatures in the tidal pool. Or, visit the Turtle Lagoon. Spend some time with the Tropical Reef’s marine life, which includes live sponges, anemones, mollusks and the country’s largest collection of live coral. Under supervision, you can pet one of the sea stars or sea urchins.

Hawaii Aquariums

Maui Ocean Center

Take a stroll and visit the Whale Discovery Center to see the life-sized model of a humpback whale calf, the state’s official marine animal. Adults are 45 feet in length and weigh 40 tons. See the educational displays here before taking a whale watching tour not far off the coast. The whales enjoy a swim through the channels between the islands as they migrate from the polar feeding grounds to breed in winter.

Don’t miss one of the many interactive displays in the Marine Mammal Discover Center that features video of monk seals, dolphins and other native marine life of Hawaii. Certified divers can even get into the Open Ocean Exhibit for a live shark encounter with over 20 sharks and several stingrays. Staff will do everything to make sure the live encounter stays that way!

Waikiki Aquarium

Built in 1904, the Waikiki Aquarium is the country’s oldest public aquarium. Located in Honolulu just blocks from Waikiki Beach, it houses over 3,000 organisms from over 450 plant and animal species.

Pause at the entrance and spend time examining the Potter’s Angel, Yellow Tang and other tropical fish. Get a close-up view of the Longnose Hawkfish, found only in waters below 100 feet. Enjoy the colorful coral, native to the waters only a few hundred yards away.

One exhibit, The Edge of the Reef, offers displays of five separate reef environments, showing the immense diversity of marine life even just within this one type of ecosystem.

The large shark tank here is populated also by rays and many other species that share space with some of Hawaii’s most famous natives. Come in the evening and get an in-depth tour during the Shark Nite or Stingray Tracking programs.

The jellyfish tank houses unusual species from the saltwater lakes near Palau. There are also Moon Jellies, Cassiopeia and many more of these delicate, semi-transparent marine animals.

Don’t miss seeing one of the few Chambered Nautilus born in captivity in a display not far away. A resident of the deep waters of Micronesia, it was recovered from the ocean at 1,500 feet. A distant relative of the octopus, they’re rarely seen in an aquarium.

Choose among Hawaii tourist destination of aquariums and discover why the natural wonders of this island state can sometimes only be found in a tank. Make the Hawaii aquariums visits part of your Hawaii family vacation. It is also educational for children as well. Not only will you spend your Hawaii family vacation enjoying but you will make this a learning experience as well.


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Hawaii Historical Sites can be a Learning Opportunity for the Kids

Hawaii Historical Sites

Pearl Harbor

The Hawaii historical sites like the USS Arizona and USS Missouri memorials are the top places to visit.

On Dec 7, 1941 planes from Imperial Japan torpedo-bombed U.S. Navy ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the attack over a thousand sailors lost their lives on the USS Arizona alone, which sank under the barrage.

After the end of WWII efforts began to build an appropriate memorial to the battleship Arizona and her lost crew. Those efforts finally bore fruit in 1962 with the USS Arizona Memorial.

A 184 ft/56m long, covered bridge-like structure bowed in the middle, it houses a museum that can hold over 200 visitors as well as a shrine to the departed. The structure spans the length of the sunken ship, parts of which can be seen underneath the water, along with oil which continues to seep out of the wreckage over 65 years later.

At the entrance sits one of the nearly 20,000 lb (9,000 kg) anchors, one of two that were originally installed on the Arizona. The other is at the State Capitol in Phoenix, AZ.

Through the portal lies the assembly room. Here, visitors can view photos of the period near any of the 21 windows representing a 21-gun salute to the fallen. Seven are kept open to memorialize the date of the attack. There is also a short documentary film discussing the events. As part of your Hawaii family vacation, you will learn more about the details of the World War II.

At the back is a large marble wall engraved with the names of all those who died on or near the ship during the event. Some few of their remaining shipmates visit from time to time and remember solemnly that horrific day.

Not far away is the intact USS Missouri, a WWII-era Navy ship that subsequently saw action in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War. At the end of WWII, the Missouri was the site of the official surrender and signing ceremony that took place in Tokyo Bay. Here the Emperor and other Japanese representatives met with Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz and other officials to sign the terms of surrender documents.

This Hawaii historical site is one of the most important historical sites there is here in Hawaii.

When the time came to retire the ship there was intense competition among several cities to house it as a museum and memorial. Over the objections of some who thought it might diminish the Arizona memorial, it was finally brought to rest in Pearl Harbor in 1999.

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Its bow points to the fallen ship as a symbolic gesture of watching over those whose remains still lie in the waters nearby. Unlike the USS Arizona Memorial, tours of the USS Missouri are not sponsored or maintained by the National Parks office. The tours are separate.

Touring the Missouri takes about an hour, perhaps longer as new areas become available as they’re brought up to current safety regulations. Numerous parts of the ship are accessible, even beyond those that are part of the guided tour. Cabins, gun-turrets, engine room and more are shown and explained as you wend your way through the large battleship. Then you’re free to explore as long as you like. This family vacation is an educational, historical way to learn about Hawaii’s history and the history of World War II.

The two memorials are the great Hawaii historical sites that you should visit. It is in the two memorials you will learn a lot about the World War II.


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