Children's Discovery Museum
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If you have kids and it's raining during your vacation, this is my number one recommendation! It is amazing how much there is for kids to explore in this museum. It's by far the best children's museum I've visited! Dress warm and bring dry clothes to change into after you've run through the rain from your car, because the air conditioning is cold inside. You could even bring a book because your kids will be so happy you might get a chance to read.
There are three floors to this museum. The first floor is a miniature town with post office, bank, courtroom, medical clinic, fire station, car repair shop, diner, grocery store, where kids can pretend to be adults doing their work. This is great fun for kids who love to role play. There are also exhibits which show the science behind our bodies. Kids can climb inside tunnels and onto a bus. They can play house or lead a puppet show. A mermaid and sea creatures make for fun in the beach area, where there's a sailing boat kids can climb inside. There's a castle with drawbridge and a room full of books. Adults can sit in the giant chair and pretend to be kids! And this is all just the first floor!
The second floor is like a miniature version of the harbor by Aloha Tower. Here kids can weigh the arriving freight and drive the forklift. There's a pineapple plantation where they wear Chinese worker hats and pick pineapples. They can cook in a hawaiian house, or climb into an airplane seat. Giant bubbles can be made. Kids can pretend they are under the sea in a corally sea-life area.
Just when I thought the creators of this museum had outdone themselves and there was nothing more fantastic they could do, I reached the third floor, the piece de resistance. Here, in a colorful global world, are houses representing the different countries from which many of Hawaii's residents trace their ancestors. The houses are so beautiful and are full of dolls, story books, cooking utensils, dress-up clothes, and music from the countries of origin. There's a Portuguese white-washed house by the sea, with a boat and an oven to bake bread. There's a colorful Filipino jeepney (photo above). An Indian house is filled with powders to make dye and multi-colored yarn and fabrics. The Japanese house is glorious, with rice paper doors, a pond, and a blossom tree. The music playing in each house sets the atmosphere. There's also a Chinese house, a Filipino house, and a Korean house. You get an expansive feeling of how varied the world is on the third floor.
We left feeling invigorated rather than exhausted. If it's not raining after your visit, walk out toward the water and discover the green hilly park called Kaka'ako. The views across the vibrant blue-green water will delight you. Bring cardboard so your kids can slide down the hills. There's a surfbreak called Point Panic and it's fun to watch the surfers enjoy the rides.
Other rainy day options are Kahala Mall or Waikiki Aquarium.
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111 Ohe St, Honolulu.
From Ala Moana Blvd, turn toward the ocean on Cooke St. This leads into the free parking lot.
Hours are 9-1 Tues-Fri, or 10-3 Sat and Sun. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Dec 25, Jan 1, Labor Day, and all Mondays. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free for infants under 1 year old.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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