Best of HONOLULU Family 2019: Play

Our readers’ and editors’ eight picks for the best places to play.
Best Playground Near a Petting Zoo

Editors’ Pick

Honolulu Zoo

Photos: Karen DB Photography



Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this playground is inside a zoo—until you hear lions roaring and primates screeching louder than your own kids. Honolulu Zoo’s keiki playground has structures for all ages, including a toddler-sized ladder and slide, bouncy bridge and a climbing tower for bigger, active children. In 2016, the zoo added the Explorer Dome, a climbing structure with steel frames, thick ropes and nets made for climbing. Other perks? Close proximity to clean bathrooms. A stone’s throw from a snack shop and petting zoo. Park benches near enough to monitor—but not hover—over your keiki. And plenty of potential playmates so kids can make friends.

151 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 971-7171.

SEE ALSO: Best of HONOLULU Family 2019: Party

Best Mini Golf Course

Editors’ Pick

Bay View Mini-Putt and Zipline


Set against the Ko‘olau mountain range, this outdoor venue draws family members of all generations. Teens and tweens can try out ziplining on the 400-foot-long dual line that runs over the course reaching speeds of up to 25 mph. Meantime, younger children and their grandparents can putt 18 or 36 holes on mini-golf courses wrapped around faux lava tubes and a waterfall. With plenty of little nooks to get cozy—or pause for a water break—and a shaded party space in the back, it’s easy to see why family reunions are common here.

45-285 Kāne‘ohe Bay Drive, Kāne‘ohe, (808) 247-6464.

SEE ALSO: Best of HONOLULU Family 2019: Eat

Best Spot for a Parents’ Night Out

Readers’ Pick

Regal Theatres


When we asked our readers where they go for date nights, they voted for a trip to the movies. Regal Theatres has upgraded its concession fare and has the reclining seats that are becoming the norm for film buffs, but what we love are the special showings that regularly appear on the big screen at the Dole Cannery location. This year, catch a film from Turner Classic Movies including Field of Dreams, The Godfather Part II and When Harry Met Sally, or watch recordings of live performances from the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway musicals, such as 42nd Street-The Musical. You won’t have to duck out to take a little one to the bathroom.

Four locations: Iwilei, Kāne‘ohe, Kapolei and Pearl City.

The Rest of the Best:

Best Amusement Center

Readers’ Pick

Dave & Buster’s

1030 Auahi St., (808) 589-2215.

Best Annual-Pass Value

Readers’ Pick

Wet’n’Wild Hawai‘i

400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, (808) 674-9283.

Best Family-Affordable Getaway

Readers’ Pick

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort

2005 Kālia Road, (808) 949-4321.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel

Readers’ Pick

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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

Best Place to Experience Cultural Activities

Readers’ Pick

Polynesian Cultural Center

55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Lā‘ie, 1-800-367-7060.

SEE ALSO: Best of HONOLULU Family 2019: Services