Best of HONOLULU Family 2017: Play

Our readers’ and editors’ 10 picks for the best places to play.

Photos: Karen DB Photography

Best Movie Theater for Families

Readers’ Pick

Regal Kapolei Commons 12

Regal Theatres’ newest location not only offers recliners that our kid models wanted to stay in all day, but enough leg room so that mid-movie bathroom runs won’t involve running a refreshment obstacle course. Add to that reserved seating so you keep the family together, swing trays to avoid popcorn stains on your shorts and a half-pound of fries with every burger, and the whole family is happy. 

4450 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, 674-2325,

On the cover!

Best Way to Go Island Hopping Without Leaving O‘ahu

Editors’ Pick

Polynesian Cultural Center

Make a fire using two sticks, hook a fish, taste coconut bread and try your hand at all types of games of skill at this 42-acre park. It’s definitely a trek from downtown, albeit a beautiful one as you cruise around the Ko‘olaus or along the North Shore. But keiki will find a full day of adventures and interactive activities as they explore six villages taking them from Samoa to New Zealand. You may stumble across men climbing 40-foot coconut trees or stop to cook taro harvested from the center’s own farm. We love the lush, green grounds, clean facilities and friendly workers. On the way out, grab lunch or dinner at the new Sam Choy’s food truck or restaurants at the neighboring Hukilau Marketplace, which offers free family movie nights and arts and crafts for keiki at Christmas time. 

55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Lā‘ie, 367-7060,

Best Free International Film Days

Editors’ Pick

Family Film Sundays at the Doris Duke Theatre

Kids 17 and younger can always get in free to the Honolulu Museum of Art’s theater. But, on the third Sunday of every month, Family Sunday, the theater features family-friendly films from around the world. 

901 Kīna‘u St., 532-6097,

Best Fundraiser With a Keiki Masquerade

Editors’ Pick

Le Masque and Mini Masque

Leave it to the Honolulu Theatre for Youth to create a reason not to leave the kids at home. While adults sample tasty dishes, sip wine, bid on silent auction items and enjoy some grown-up conversation at the annual fundraiser, kids can head over to a nearby, but separate, area to play theater games, grab a bite at a keiki-focused buffet and jump into activities that have included a pint-size parkour course, cupcake decorating and a movie on the lawn. This year’s event is Saturday, Sept. 23. 


Best Spot for Friday Night Fireworks

Editors’ Pick

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Little thrill seekers will love watching fireworks explode right overhead. The fact that they may have to dodge small pieces of pyrotechnic paper wrappings on windy days only adds to the excitement. 

Adjacent to the Hilton Hawaiian Village.


Best Amusement Center 

Readers’ Pick

Fun Factory 

Five locations on O‘ahu: Kāhala Mall, Kamehameha Shopping Center, Kapolei Marketplace, Town Center of Mililani, Windward Mall.

Best Place to See a Family Show

Readers’ Pick

Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Shows are at Tenney Theatre, 229 Queen Emma Square, 839-9885,

Best Annual-Pass Value 

Readers’ Pick

Wet ’n’ Wild Hawai‘i

400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, 674-9283,

Best Family-Affordable Getaway 

Readers’ Pick

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort

2005 Kālia Road, 949-4321,

Best Family-Friendly Hotel 

Readers’ Pick

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

92-1185 Ali‘inui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763,