Well, it’s wintertime. For most of the country, that means severe — and sometimes terrible — weather. Here in Hawaii it means a little more rain than usual.
Unless we get flooding conditions, which occur sometimes, we don’t care much about the rain. It comes and goes. It’s warm. We rarely carry umbrellas and few of us own raincoats.
But if you’re here for a vacation, rain can keep you off the beaches and discourage you from sightseeing jaunts. Don’t worry. There’s plenty else to do.
On Maui and Oahu, there are really good aquariums. The Waikiki Aquarium is located at the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua Avenue. It exhibits more then 450 species of aquatic animals and plants and it welcomes more then 350,000 visitors a year.
The Oceanarium at the Pacific Beach Hotel is three stories tall with 280,000 gallons full of swimming creatures, and it can be viewed from three different restaurants in the hotel. It houses more then 400 varieties of sealife.
The Maui Ocean Center, Hawaii’s top-rated family attraction, provides an up-close view of Hawaiian marine life. This is a great activity during any vacation to Maui, regardless of the weather. Aptly named “The Hawaiian Aquarium,” this state-of-the-art marine park is the only facility in the world dedicated to fostering understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. You’ll see spectacular live coral displays (the largest collection in the country), enjoy playful swimming displays by Hawaii’s beloved green sea turtles, have close encounters with sharks, rays and more – while learning about Hawaii’s natural history and cultural heritage.
And there are good museums, too.
Bishop Museum on Oahu is a great rainy-day persion. Plan to spend at least half a day there. The museum was founded by Princess Bernice Pauahi, who collected priceless artifacts and in her will instructed her husband, Charles Reed Bishop, to establish a Hawaiian museum “to enrich and delight” the people of Hawaii. Not only does this multibuilding museum have the world’s greatest collection of natural and cultural artifacts from Hawaii and the Pacific, but recently it also has added a terrific new 16,500-square-foot Science Adventure Center, specializing in volcanology, oceanography, and biopersity.
Also on Oahu, The US Army Museum of Hawaii has exhibits and educational programs emphasizing the roll Hawaii played in military actions from WWI through the Vietnam Conflict. The museum is located in Battery Randolph at Waikiki’s Fort DeRussy.
The Honolulu Academy of Arts in Honolulu is Hawaii’s premier art museum, with a collection of more than 50,000 works. An encyclopedic museum where original works of art can be experienced in state-of-the-art galleries, it has major strengths in the arts of Asia, European and American painting, and graphic and decorative arts.
Iolani Palace is a Hawaiian national treasure and the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. It was the residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs — King Kalakaua, who built the Palace in 1882, and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani. During the monarchy period, the Palace was the center of social and political activity in the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Palace is open for tours from Tuesday through Saturday, with hours varying depending upon the type of tour you take during your visit. It’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The Haleiwa Surf Museum is a vintage surfboard museum that was founded in the 1990’s by surfing memorabilia collectors Mark Fragale and John Moore. It’s located in the Marketplace Shopping Center on Oahu’s North Shore.
Each of the major islands has an abundance of museums. Regardless of where you are, you’ll find some worth visiting. Pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Web site, or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll advise you — or even help you fit some into your vacation planning.