Na Aina Kai, or lands by the sea, is a botanical garden and sculpture park on Kauai’s north shore. They offer various walking and riding tours and even have a tour for keiki (children). Na Aina Kai also rents out the gardens for special events.

Open air carts shuttle my husband and I from the parking lot to the gardens entrance. On the way, we pass the “Hardwood Plantation,” where 60,000 stately trees including teak, rainbow eucalyptus and mahogany grow in symmetrical rows.

We pay for our tickets inside the gift shop and walk to “Shower Tree Park.” Named after trees whose flowers hang in billowing bouquets, children laugh and explore the interesting plants, trees, sculptures and a waterfall that leads to a Japanese tea house.

Colorful koi fish swim between water lilies in the Kaula Lagoon. Children stand on manicured grass under the shade of trees and feed the fish. Grandma sits on a bench nearby. A dramatic sculpture fountain of tropical white birds is in the center of the lagoon spraying streams of misty water.

A hedge of 2400 mock orange plants creates the Poinciana Maze. Inside, 16 whimsical bronze and topiary sculptures are at every dead end and curve. The maze encourages the adventuresome spirit of children and they delight in the magic of the maze.

The “International Desert Garden” is filled with enormous flowering cacti, aloe, agave, and exotic desert plants. The white sand walkways place you in the arid desert instead of a tropical paradise.

“Under the Rainbow” Children’s Garden has a “pond” which is more like a pool for kids to play in. The playground also contains a maze, treehouse, tunnels, slides, and a kid-sized railroad train.

Na Aina Kai sits on the coast in the town of Kilauea. With numerous meadows and a private beach, it’s a beautiful setting for weddings.

“The Residence,” the original home of founders, overlooks Kahili Beach and is available for private parties. According to Na Aina Kai “the home is elegantly appointed with a large living/dining room and ocean view lanai.” It also has a “state-of-the-art” kitchen and can accommodate up to 100 guests. Call 808-828-0525 for more details.

Photos by Dan Lane.

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