Just outside Waikiki is a three story world adventure scaled to child size and it’s often overlooked by families here on Hawaii Vacations . From the inside of the human body to the farthest reaches of the globe, the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center is sure to delight keiki ages two to twelve- and their parents too.

Consisting of four main sections- Fantastic You, Your Town, Hawaiian Rainbows, and Your Rainbow World, the Discovery Center provides hours of entertainment while educating kids via exploration and play. On the ground floor, Fantastic You displays the human body with several hands-on exhibits from examining cells with a microscope to jumping in a giant stomach. Your Town has a miniature grocery store with working checkout scanner, fire station with engine and living quarters, police station, courthouse, TV newsroom, and theatre arranged around a central park.

Upstairs, Hawaiian Rainbows boasts a scale model of Aloha Tower complete with docks for loading “cargo”; an airplane adventure; and plantation activities including pineapple picking and lei making.

Your Rainbow World spotlights Asian countries with a series of scale homes containing traditional clothing for dress up, play food, toys, and books. Each room has a “telephone” with video playback to hear that country’s language and learn facts.

Each weekly visit, we discover something new. With traveling exhibits and seasonal art activities, each trip is unique: on Martin Luther King Day we made paper doves; the next week we stamped snowflakes. For added fun, Art in the Park is held Wednesdays from 11am-noon. Only $1 with admission, kids create 3 different art projects with all supplies provided, and a friendly staff member guides kids from station to station and assists when needed.

The Center is popular, so weekends are busy and weekdays can be crowded with school groups. Only one group is allowed in at a time, visiting exhibits on a schedule, so for a quieter experience on weekdays you can simply choose another section to explore. Staff is friendly and attentive, interacting with kids and keeping the center tidy. While many exhibits do show some wear and some electronic exhibits have occasional failures, the Center is kept in good condition with dozens of fun interactive experiences.

We are happy to bring a new voice to the Hawaii Vacation Blog this week with a post from new contributor Lisa Hoang. Lisa is a photographer and a busy mom. She’ll be our guide to experiencing Hawaii with children. If you live in Hawaii and would like to contribute a post, email: blogeditor@hawaii-aloha.com


  1. I have never been to the Hawaii Children's Discover Center but it sounds great! Thanks for letting us know about this.

  2. I actually haven't gone there yet.  I know I know with loads of kids you'd figure I would but nope, we've stuck to a lot of outside influences and get family passes to the Bishop Museum every year.  I have to say though, I so want to go the HCDC and jump in a stomach come on how cool would that be.  Alas just the kid in me I suppose.

  3. Wow, how long has this place been around?  It sounds awesome, defiinitely going to check it out.  Thank you!

  4. Aloha Lisa…welcome to HAT!  It's been at least 9  years since I've been there with my kids…it's so much fun!  Great learning experience for the keiki.  Also have  been there for a birthday party.  I always recommend the HCDC to customers with young children. Its a short drive from Waikiki and the park is great for picnics!

  5. You know I forgot about this place completely. I was talk abou tthe water park, aquarium and zoo when people ask me where to take their kids. Thanks for  reminding me of the other options out there, I will reference this blog to my customers now when thay ask about activities for their kids 🙂

  6. Nancy, Linitra, Isabel and Abby- definitely schedule a visit! Linitra, if you like the idea of jumping in the stomach & landing on beanbags, you'll love having a (felt) food fight. The "food" sticks to the walls!
    Sunday the 27th is HDA member's day so the first 500 HDA members get in free. You also get a toothbrush and stickers and learn about dental hygiene.
    Isabel, the story is fascinating. HCDC is on the site of the former incinerator for the landfill where Kaka'ako Waterfront Park was created. It opened in 1998.
    Paul, and less sandy too!
    Melissa, mahalo for the welcome!
    Yaling and Joey, thanks! Glad I could be of assistance.

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