Best of HONOLULU Family 2020: PLAY
Our readers’ and editors’ picks for family playdates in Honolulu.
Best Behind-The-Scenes Program
HTY On Stage Workshops
Approachable, fun-loving and talented, the actors and actresses of Honolulu Theatre for Youth are like rock stars to keiki of Oʻahu. What better way to join the party than at an HTY On Stage Workshop hosted by cast members themselves? The workshops take place on the same weekends as performances and immerse kids in acting lessons and backstage tours. When HTY temporarily closed due to the stay-at-home order, the theater’s cast and crew immediately went to work creating funny videos called, “The HI Way.” Kids were able to watch livestream performances at home on TV, on Facebook and on HTY’s website. How’s that for reaching out to young fans?
Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Tenney Theatre, 229 Queen Emma Square, (808) 839-9885. htyweb.org
Best Way to Spend a Starry Night
Public Star Parties by the Hawaiian Astronomical Society
How do you explain globular clusters and nebulae to your kids? (Confession: We tried, but to no avail.) That’s why we take our kids to Public Star Parties hosted by the Hawaiian Astronomical Society, a friendly group of amateur astronomers who love sharing their knowledge with keiki. The monthly stargazing parties take place in open parks on weekend evenings in ‘Ewa Beach, Kāhala and Mokulē‘ia. All you do is show up with a picnic dinner and jackets for your family in case nighttime temperatures dip. The society provides telescopes, stargazing equipment and everything else. After two months of the stay-at-home mandate, star parties are a perfect way for keiki to reconnect with the outside world.
Parties are held one Saturday a month, hawastsoc.org
See also: 🏆 Best of HONOLULU Family 2020: EAT
Best Place to Experience Cultural Activities
Polynesian Cultural Center
Where on Oʻahu can kids throw spears and start fires, learn the Maori haka, watch a 3D movie about the Hawaiian islands, and meet friendly ambassadors from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Aotearoa, Tahiti and Hawaiʻi? That’s the beauty of Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), a 42-acre park in the North Shore town of Lā‘ie. The center is known for “Hā: Breath of Life,” a theatrical production featuring 100 singing-dancing cast members, animation and special effects. For food and shopping, there is adjacent Hukilau Marketpace, a restaurant and retail center resembling old-town Lā‘ie in the 1950s.
55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Lā‘ie, 1-800-367-7060, polynesia.com and hukilaumarketplace.com
Best Amusement Center
Children’s Discovery Center of Hawaiʻi
Adults raising kids in Honolulu remember their own childhood visits to the Children’s Discovery Center of Hawaiʻi, which has evolved over the years to appeal to a new generation of keiki. What we love about the center is that it promotes local values that run strong in Hawaiʻi’s families: environmental preservation, cultural sensitivity, respect for elders and history, community-mindedness, healthy lifestyles, and much more! In addition to year-round classes for kids, the center is noted for its Keiki Swap Meet, held three times a year to encourage children to own and run their own businesses.
111 ʻOhe St., Honolulu, (808) 524-5437, discoverycenterhawaii.org
Finalist: Bishop Museum. 1525 Bernice St., (808) 847-3511. bishopmuseum.org
THE REST OF THE BEST
Best Annual Pass Value
WINNER: Wet’n’Wild Hawaiʻi. 400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, (808) 674-9283. wetnwildhawaii.com
Finalist: Honolulu Zoo. 151 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 971-7171. honoluluzoo.org
Best Family-Affordable Getaway
WINNER: Hilton Hawaiian Village. 2005 Kalia Road, (808) 949-4321. hiltonhawaiianvillage.com
Finalist: Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. 92-1185 Aliʻinui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763. disneyaulani.com
Best Pau Hana With Kids
WINNER: Moku Kitchen. Salt at Our Kakaʻako, 660 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 145, (808) 591-6658. mokukitchen.com
Finalist: Dave & Buster’s. 1030 Auahi St., (808) 589-2215. daveandbusters.com
Best Family-Friendly Hotel
WINNER: Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa. 92-1185 Aliʻinui Drive, Kapolei, (866) 443-4763. disneyaulani.com
Finalist: Hilton Hawaiian Village. 2005 Kalia Road, (808) 949-4321. hiltonhawaiianvillage.com