Playground Guide: Wai‘alae Iki Neighborhood Park in Kāhala
A giant spin wheel, rainbow road and swings make this park extra fun and vibrant.
We stumbled upon Wai‘alae Iki Park purely by accident, thanks to an all-too-familiar emergency potty stop during a car trip across Kalaniana‘ole Highway. My daughter had to go and Wai‘alae Iki was our best bet. Afterward, she begged us if we could stay. “This park looks so, so fun!” she told us. I had to agree: There’s an attractive rainbow design on the padded playground floor, a jungle gym and a giant blue spin wheel. During our short stop, two older kids climbed aboard the wheel, ready to spin themselves dizzy. But, we had to go to a friend’s house for dinner, so I promised to take her back another time.
A week later, we swung by after church in Kāhala. The park proved to be a perfect place for a Spam musubi and manapua lunch from 7/11. Kids were practicing soccer on the vast green field and another group was playing tennis on the courts next to the playground. It was pretty packed, even for a Sunday. And it was hot and sunny, with two trees providing the only shade. The playground has benches, but those were both taken when we visited. However, there is a bathroom and a pavilion nearby with benches. We sat there comfortably in the shade while watching the kids running around. But that relaxing moment didn’t last: Before long, the kids were racing for the swings (I swear, at this age the swings are always a big hit) and asking us to help push them. They were swinging for a good 15 minutes, giving my husband a workout. Then they explored the climbing nets, experimented with spinning the wheel that they called a “blue hula hoop,” balanced on a large low tree branch and then returned to the swings.
What You Need to Know
Playground Equipment: At Wai‘alae Iki, there are two separate playground structures. One has diagonal ladders, a metal rope, a rock climbing wall along the outside of the steps, and a net that you make your way across to reach the monkey bars. Then you can follow the rainbow road to the spinning blue carousel and have fun on two swings before making your way to the other end of the park, where there’s another structure with ladders and a stainless steel curved spinner. Closer to the bathrooms, there’s a red spin seat and another spin pole with a step that you can stand on.
Other Amenities: Clean bathrooms, a water fountain, a tennis court, benches, trees with low branches you can climb and an enormous green field to run and play in.
Unique Offerings: I’ve never seen a large spin wheel carousel like the one here. Anna liked to sit on it and Noah would try to push her around. I saw some older kids walking and balancing on it to make it go full circle. The ground is padded to protect against falls, but I kept a close eye on the kids anyway.
Best For: I would say the climbing equipment and the various spinning equipment are best for keiki 5 years and up, but my 3-year-old still had plenty of fun.
Best Time To Visit: Mornings are good, but it doesn’t get too crowded even at 3 and 4 p.m.
Parking: There is a private parking lot with plenty of stalls.
My Favorite Thing about this Playground: The kids loved the blue carousel but honestly, there were moments where they would take a break away from the playground equipment and were simply happy to run and skip along the beautiful rainbow design on the ground. I’ve never seen a park that made use of the ground for artwork and I loved how it gave the place a fun, picturesque vibe.