One of the best places to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. Fun for adults and kids.
General: Cost: Paid
General: Fun and Games
General: Has Gift Shop
General: Kid Activities
General: Photo Opportunity
Cultural & Historical: Museum / Art Center
According to their website, the "Bishop Museum is the premier place to experience the history, arts and culture of the Hawaiian people" and you can certainly learn a ton about the Hawaiian history here. The property is pretty large and contains several buildings that are full of exhibits.
One is the planetarium (or planetaaaairrrrium for our South Park fans) which received a major upgrade to their solar system projector fairly recently. Apparently it's one of the best around because of its technical wizardry and space age polymers. We did get a chance to see it in action and it is pretty amazing and those planetaaaairrrrium geeks are sure to put on a good show for you.
The Hawaiian Hall is home to all sorts of Hawaiian artifacts and information on the Hawaiian cultural dating back to times before the rest of the world had any contact with Hawaii. If you're looking for some Hawaiian history then you'll find three floors loaded with it here. Expect your kids to have little to no interest in this part of the museum.
Next door is a building where the non-permanent exhibits rotate in and out. This is sort of a hit or miss area. For example, they sometimes have really good hands on exhibits that kids will love (mission to Mars stands out) and other times the exhibits may be really well done but pretty boring overall (I'm looking at you dinosaurs). So, depending on the theme at the time of your visit your kids may or may not like what's here. Depending on if you have kids or not, you may or may not like what's here as well!
Across the property is the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center (a name that just rolls off the tongue) which is home to all sorts of hands on exhibits that kids are certain to enjoy. They can learn about wind power, volcanoes, lava, tsunamis, bugs, marine life, animals, and much more. This building is also home to the worlds most gradual slide. Seriously, check out the "slide" in the large volcano, I think it drops about 12 inches over 15 feet at most! I'm not sure water would slide down this slide, but kids certainly don't.
The museum is open daily (except Tuesdays and Christmas) with discounts for seniors, military, kids, kama'aina, large groups, and those born on alternating Fridays during a leap year. You know, the usual. Parking is no longer free. If this is your first visit you can expect to spend a few hours here. More if you don't have kids and love Hawaiian history and culture, less if you have kids (regardless of your Hawaiian history and culture love because kids are just like that). Either way, The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum is not to be missed.
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