Best of HONOLULU Family 2015: Play

Our favorite places to play as selected by HONOLULU Family readers and editors.

Best Event to Find Flying Planes Smaller Than Your Kids

photo: COURTESY OF pacific aviation museum PEARL HARBOR

[ Editors’ Pick ]

Biggest Little Airshow

It’s like the model planes you build at home except much, much cooler. Every year, remote-control airplane enthusiasts from Hawaii and around the world show off their spectacular scale models and flying skills on historic Ford Island. In addition to the candy drops, formation flying and death-defying dips on a small scale, kids can explore the museum’s aircraft, try on real aviation gear and go on keiki rides.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, 319 Lexington Blvd., 441-1000,


Best Annual-Pass Value

photo: COURTESY OF wet ‘n’ wild Hawaii

[ Readers’ Pick ]

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii

Not only is a year-round pass just two dollars more than a one-day ticket, you’ll also receive a free single-visit admission ticket for a friend. Use it to try the park’s newest attraction, the Waimea Whirl, which sends two people swirling in a circle then shooting down a slide into a splash pool.

400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, 674-9283,


Best Expo With a Giant Fish Weigh-In

[ Editors’ Pick ]

Hawaii Ocean Expo

The celebration of everything ocean inspired always nets a fun bag of freebies for kids. After they play games and get their faces painted in the Kamaaina Keiki Fun Zone, try hands-on educational activities in Ocean University, cruise through the big boats and surf sample sales, they’ll want to be center stage when the fishermen in the GT Master’s Cup come in on the final day to weigh their big catches. The 2014 winner was 43.1 pounds. Did we mention kids under 12 years are free?


Best Playground or Playspace

photo: Karen DB Photography

[ Readers’ Pick ]

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center

With a policy of “please touch everything,” you can see why any family with toddlers automatically makes the 38,000-square-foot center part of their routine. In addition to the six permanent exhibits, including the water play at Rainforest Adventures and multicultural Your Rainbow World, parents and kids can drop in for everything from weekly preschool STEM classes to Art in the Park classes and preschool playtimes.

111 Ohe St, 524-5437,


Best Farm Tour That Ends With Grilled Banana Bread

photo: Karen DB Photography

[ Editors’ Pick ]

Kahuku Farms

After the kids explore everything from orange and lychee trees to fields of lettuce and kale, stop at the café for farm-fresh pesto pizzas and salads, smoothies, or grilled peanut butter and pineapple-papaya jam sandwiches. Don’t leave without a serving of the grilled banana bread with homemade caramel and the fresh lilikoi ice cream we’re still dreaming about.

56-800 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, 293-8159,


Best New Family Sport Event

[ Editors’ Pick ]

ESPN1420 Jersey Fun Run

Here’s a way to get kids on their feet, all-star style.  This 3K run leads jersey-clad families around Aloha Stadium, through a giant inflatable football helmet to sports activities and obstacle courses on the field, and ends with a chance to get autographs from former NFL players and other athletes. In the first year, 145 runners were under the age of 12. Expect the event to grow in 2016. We’ll keep you posted!


Best Family Hiking Trail

photo: cody kawamoto

[ Readers’ Pick ]

Makapuu Lighthouse

This easy-to-walk 2-mile trail takes kids and parents past the 106-year-old Makapuu Lighthouse. When renovations are completed this summer, the trail will be repaved, retaining walls rebuilt and new railings installed. There is also talk that four small lookouts with viewing scopes and a rest stop with a bench may be added, to give little walkers even more reasons to pause while enjoying the view.

Makapuu Lighthouse Road


Best Place to Let Your Kids Run Up the Walls

photo: Karen DB Photography

[ Editors’ Pick ]

Keiki Parkour at Precision Parkour

Little ones who love hurdling over your couch and leaping over chairs will get a thrill from learning the skills to navigate ramps, vaults, cargo-net climbs, ladders and more. Owner Keith Mylett teaches high school by day and is the dad of a 7-year-old, so he knows how to keep kids climbing and running with a smile.

556 Reed Lane, 398-9045,


Best 360-Degree Kids’ Theater

photo: COURTESY OF david beale

[ Editors’ Pick ]

The Hokulani Imaginarium, Windward Community College

Of course, there is stargazing, but the 40-foot dome has also shown movies starring Big Bird and Elmo, The Magic Tree House gang and more. The monthly schedule always includes at least one kid-focused film, in addition to adult picks such as a laser show set to the music of Led Zeppelin.

45-720 Keaahala Road, 235-7433, 



The Rest of the Best

[ Readers’ Picks ]


Best Beach for Families

Ko Olina Lagoons


Best Family Campground

Bellows Field Beach Park


Best Place for a Family Bike Ride

Ala Moana Park

1201 Ala Moana Blvd.


Best “Little Known” Attraction

Hawaii Nature Center

2131 Makiki Heights Drive, 955-0100,


Best Amusement Center

Dave & Buster’s

1030 Auahi St., 589-2215,


Best Family-Affordable Getaway

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

2005 Kalia Road, 949-4321,


Best Family-Friendly Hotel

Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa

92-1185 Aliinui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763,


Best Sports League for First-Time Players

i9 Sports

Offering a chance to play four sports all year round, i9 focuses on fun, sportsmanship and teamwork for first time and repeat players. Everybody plays whether they’re in soccer, flag football, basketball or baseball. The programs are held on 10 sites across Oahu. There are just a few spots left in some sports for the Summer season. The Fall season runs from mid October to mid December.