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A children’s peace garden seems quite fitting for Kauai’s mellow Hanapēpē town. It’s the newest addition to the arts and culture venue already in place and has become an oasis of sorts for the old plantation village.
The International Garden for Peace opened in 2012, attracting locals and visitors to its elaborate outdoor setting. My favorite part is the decorative metal gate that welcomes guests to the garden. Its design follows a tree of life pattern that ties together specific elements in nature, like the sun, moon, waves and spiraling clouds. Hanging from it are more than 100 hand-cast brass bells that turn into a giant wind chime.
The garden itself has a delicate beauty about it. Koi fish meander through the ponds, as a gentle sunshine blankets this little nook in nature and best of all, it’s quiet. I loved that, mostly, a garden of peace and quiet. There’s also an outdoor theater, a tea house gazebo and a pathway to the unique sculpture of the late Kauai-born Senator Spark Matsunaga, known to be a peacemaker himself. In fact, the garden’s been dedicated in his honor and given the unofficial name, “Sparky’s Garden.”
It’s great to see the garden putting an emphasis on kids. Serving as an outdoor classroom, the venue hosts cultural and educational programs, as well as a colorful array of native and exotic plants for kids to get hands-on learning. If you want to really make memories at the garden, then buy a brick for its pathway. Ten, 20 years from now, your kids will be able to come back and find it!
INTERNATIONAL GARDEN FOR PEACE • Storybook Theatre of Hawaii 3814 Hanapepe Rd., Hanapepe, HI 96716 • 808-335-0712 • www.storybook.org
Photo Courtesy: Robert Zelkovsy