Hawaii is a great place to learn something new and expand your horizons. There are so many different activities to do here that you may never get to try at home. You can learn how to make chocolate, learn to canoe, go on a photography tour, and even learn how to hula.
Today, I’m going to be thinking outside the box and tell you about some of the hands-on activities that you and your whole family will enjoy. From cooking classes to ukulele lessons, I think that these activities will not only be enjoyable and memorable, but they will also deepen your understanding of Hawaiian culture.
Naked Cow Dairy Farm and Creamery (Oahu)
Naked Cow Dairy Farm and Creamery is a dairy farm in Waianae, Hawaii. It is the only dairy farm on the island of Oahu. Antibiotic-free and hormone-free, they produce gourmet creamery butter, unique artisan cheeses, and fresh cream top yogurt. They only use feed grown in Hawaii including grass, sugar cane molasses, pineapples, kiawe beans, macadamia and kukui nut by-products, to name a few.
They offer tours of their farm as well as Mozzarella-making Classes. During this hands-on experience, you will make g fresh Mozzarella from beginning to end. You will make, and stretch Mozzarella, and then take home your finished product. Classes are offered every Saturday. Only 10 spaces are available for each class – book online here.
Not into cooking? You can book a hands-on farm tour. This tour takes place every Friday from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. During this tour, you will feed, interact and learn about cows and their products, feed and learn about chicken and their eggs, Enjoy a cheese and butter tasting, and Hang out on the farm and meet all of their wonderful animals, including cows, sheep, a horse, chickens, turkeys, goats, zebus, ducks, geese, parrots and more.
Madre Chocolate (Oahu)
Did you know that Hawaii is the only state that grows cacao? Madre Chocolate offers a hands-on Bean to Bar Chocolate Making Class in Chinatown. During this class, you will learn about the origins of chocolate and how it is made bean-to-bar in Hawai‘i by tasting it in 3 forms: the delicious lychee-tasting fruit juice of cacao, a freshly roasted cacao bean, and a flight of 5 of our most popular chocolate flavors. Finally, make your very own chocolate bar using Hawai‘i grown and made chocolate, choosing from a delicious selection of fruits, nuts, and spices to flavor your bar, from toasted coconut to spicy chipotle pepper or Hawaiian sea salt. You will get to try some of their chocolate as well To purchase tickets, click here.
Art and Cultural Activities
Oahu Photography Tours (Oahu)
Oahu Photography Tours offer many different tours. Their most popular tour is their Circle Island Sunrise Photo Tour. Over a 10-hour day, they will take you to some of the island’s most photogenic sights. They also offer their Epic Island Sunset Tour, North Shore Tour, Golden Sunrise Tour, a Friday Night Lights tour, a Full Moon Tour, and more. If you want to up your photography game while you’re here, I think I’ve found the perfect thing for you. Visit their website to learn more.
Workshops at Island Bungalow (Oahu)
Island Bungalow is a small boutique that offers classes at different resorts throughout the island, including block printing, a dreamcatcher workshop, and indigo alchemy, where you the ancient art of all-natural indigo dyeing during our outdoor indigo sarong workshop. I love their classes, and I highly recommend them. Click here to learn more.
Polynesian Cultural Center (Oahu)
An educational, Polynesian-Themed theme park, the Polynesian Cultural Center is located in Laie, on the north shore of the island. Here, you will learn about the Polynesian Islands, including Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, Rapa Nui, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and other islands.
You can learn canoe paddling, where you will hop into a native-style outrigger canoe like the islanders used centuries ago and paddle around a tropical lagoon. Or maybe you want to learn to cook the Samoan way, using sticks, stones, leaves, husks, coconut milk, taro, fish, and plenty of patience. Come early in the afternoon and help prepare the unusual entrees. Then return several hours later to sample the delectable results of your effort.
If cooking isn’t your thing, you can learn how to make fire. Or, learn the Tahitian Spear Throw – how to hit a coconut perched atop a tall pole 20 feet away. Or maybe you want to spend the day and try it all.
Crafts at the Royal Hawaiian Center (Oahu)
The Royal Hawaiian Center is committed to promoting and sharing Hawaiian performing and visual arts. It offers complimentary classes Monday–Saturday, and live entertainment Tuesday–Saturday. Expert kumu (teachers) will teach you arts including lei making, lauhala weaving, hula, ‘ukulele playing and more! You can even learn skills that you can bring back with you to the mainland, like Lomilomi Hawaiian Massage. Click here for the schedule.
Learn Quilting at Iolani Palace (Oahu)
Learn Hawaiian quilt-making at Iolani Palace. Taught by a Master quilter and his daughters, quilting sessions are offered Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Participants can join at any time and start at any level. Assistance is provided for new quilters. Fees for first session students is $15; subsequent classes are $6 per person.
Classes at Whalers Village (Maui)
Whalers Village in is located on the Kaanapali Beachwalk. Here you will find many restaurants, shops, and free, hands-on activities, including lei making classes, Hula lessons, Ukulele Lessons, and a play area and splash pad for children.
Kaupulehu Cultural Center (Big Island)
The Kaupulehu Cultural Center is at the Four Seasons Resort. They offer a number of hands-on activities and classes including star navigation, Hawaiian language, hula lessons, ukulele lessons, and even a Kupuna Program, where Kupuna (Hawaiian elders) are available on occasion to teach and share cultural knowledge on topics such as making flower leis, feather leis and ipu (gourds), playing the ukulele and weaving lauhala. Learn more here.
There are so many hands-on activities that will get you outside on all of the islands.
There is nothing like hiking, and Hawaii is a great place to hike. To get you started, check out my list of my favorite hikes for beginners. If you decide to hike, also make sure to read my post, Hiking in Hawaii 101, which talks about safety tips for hiking, what to wear, and what to bring. Hawai Aloha Travel also offers a number of Adventure, Ziplining and Hiking Tours, which you can learn more about here.
Hawaii Aloha Travel offers a number of water sports that you can add onto your vacation, including sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, parasailing, swimming with dolphins, and more. Learn more here.
The Girl Scout in me says we should always leave a place better than we found it. Why not join a beach clean up? 808 Cleanups has cleaned up over 59,000 pounds of trash and 25,000 pounds of marine debris. Join them, meet some new people, and help take care of our ‘aina (land)
Hands-on Activities for kids
Bishop Museum (Oahu)
Bishop Museum was established to house the extensive collection of Hawaiian objects and royal family heirlooms and has expanded to include millions of objects, documents and photographs about Hawai‘i and other Pacific island cultures.
There are many different exhibits here, but I think that children will best love the Science Adventure Center. Here, children will enjoy interactive exhibits that will teach them about volcanology, oceanography, and biodiversity in Hawaii.
Children’s Discovery Center (Oahu)
Using state-of-the-art technology, The Children’s Discovery Center provides a “window to the world” and the opportunity for children to explore and discover things about themselves and the world through play. The Discovery Center has four major galleries, each filled with hands-on, interactive exhibits.
Waimea Falls (Oahu)
Waimea Falls is a great place to introduce children to some of the island’s beauty. You have a hike, waterfall, and exotic flora, and hands-on activities along the way. This paved hike through a botanical garden leads to a waterfall that you can swim in. Lifeguards are always present, and they will ask you to wear lifejackets.
With your paid admission, you gain access to many of the site’s daily cultural and hands-on activities. Activities include hula lessons, traditional lei making, Hawaiian games, crafts, music, and storytelling with kupuna.