Your Weekend(s): The Best Family Fun in Hawai‘i for November 18–28, 2021

Ride a Christmas train and meet Santa, drive through a giant lights display, grab a coveted spot in a free ocean clinic and send birthday wishes to a family-favorite cafe.


Pearlridge Express Courtesy Pearlridge Center 1200

Photo: Courtesy of Pearlridge Center


Editor’s Note: We’ll be taking Thanksgiving off to be with our families, so here are some ideas for the next two weeks for you and your little ones. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!


Get Holiday Ready

If it seems Christmas arrives earlier and earlier (and yes, we spotted a few red and green items next to the Halloween aisle last month) we prefer to think about it as even more time to try to get to everything we want. This weekend, the Pearlridge Express Holiday Train rolls into Pearlridge Center. The miniature train, which was custom-built for the center, has been giving keiki rides on its track through Center Court for years through the oversize toys and festive landscape.

  • For kids shorter than 4-feet
  • $5. 10-ride coupon books are also available for $39.
  • Daily starting Saturday, Nov. 20 through Monday, Jan. 10. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday. Hours will change after Sunday, Dec. 5.
  • 98-1005 Moanalua Road, ‘Aiea


Santa arrives at Ala Moana Center Thursday, Nov. 18, then at Kāhala Mall on Saturday, Nov. 20.  But at Windward Mall, the jolly elf will be welcomed on Sunday, Nov. 21 with a donation drive and gifts for kids from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The first 200 keiki, 3 to 12 years old, to visit Santa will receive treats. You can also donate canned goods to the Hawai‘i Food Bank or cash to The Salvation Army.


🎄 We’re also starting a bit early! See our list of holiday events here. We will be updating this throughout the season.


2020 Photo: Laura Dornbush

Show Aloha Land

The giant lights display that thrilled families last year is back. Show Aloha Land, A Winter Wonderland opens this weekend at Aloha Stadium with its glowing pathways, giant tree and food area. This year, you can not only buy tickets for individual cars, you can also reserve single seats or addon 29 friends for a trolley ride through the dazzling tunnels and exhibits. Proceeds go to local nonprofits. We haven’t yet tried this year’s event, but here are our tips from 2020.

  • All ages
  • $55 for a single vehicle. $20 a person for single trolley seats, $18 per person to reserve an entire 30-seat private trolley.
  • Friday, Nov. 19 through Jan. 1. Nightly time slots are every half hour from 6:30–11 p.m. for cars, 6:30–9:30 p.m. for trolleys.
  • Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd.
  •, @showalohachallenge


Kids try several water sports including riding in a canoe at Waimānalo Beach Park. Photo: Michelle Schiffl

Preregister: Nā Kama Kai Ocean Clinic

This incredibly popular keiki clinic that takes kids from surfing and canoeing to lessons in conservation fills up almost as soon as registration opens. So, set an alert for 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28 when preregistration begins for the next workshop with water experts in Kailua scheduled for Dec. 12. Walk-ons are always welcome but with group sizes kept significantly smaller than during pre-pandemic times, you may have more competition or a longer wait than in years past.


SEE ALSO: We Tried It: Nā Kama Kai Ocean Clinic


Next Week


Keiki & the Pineapple’s outdoor playing area. Archive Photo: Laura Dornbush

Keiki & The Pineapple’s Second Birthday Party

We don’t forsee any terrible twos for this birthday honoree. The Best of HONOLULU Family-winning café with play spaces for kids celebrates Thanksgiving weekend with a visit from a Princess Ariel (10–11 a.m.), a silent disco (11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.) where kids groove to music they hear through headphones, in case you haven’t seen this quiet wonder before, live music with Molly Whuppie (1–2 p.m.), food and drink specials and new and gently-used toys to give away. If you’d like to donate a few of your child’s former favorite things, call mom and café owner Tiffany Morrissey.


Black Friday Parent’s Night Out

Families can take advantage of two drop-off art sessions for kids in November. The first regularly monthly session is Friday, Nov. 19 when kids will make a clay person. KidzArt has also added another workshop for the evening of Black Friday, Nov. 26. Keiki will make a patterned wall hanging. All Parent’s Night Out events include a pizza dinner for kids, open art time, a story and other activities. KidzArt is planning two holiday-themed workshops in December as well, including one on Christmas Eve.

  • 3 to 12 years
  • $58 per child with a 10% discount for additional siblings.
  • Fridays, Nov. 19 and Nov. 26, 5:30–9 p.m.
  • St. Christopher’s Church, 93 N. Kainalu Drive, #102, Kailua
  • (808) 354-5905