You've brought the whole family to a dream Hawaii vacation.
Besides lots of shopping and adult fun in the sun in Waikiki, how do you keep the kids happy .... in Honolulu?
You'll also find that as a major world tourist attraction, Honolulu can also be a paradise for the little ones. So without further ado, here are just a few of the best hotels, tourist attractions, and activities that the whole family can enjoy while vacationing in Honolulu.
Family-friendly Honolulu hotels
Ilima Hotel - For the budget conscience, Ilima suites feature a full kitchen complete with microwave, refrigerator and stove. Kids will also want to take advantage of the free Disney Channel, and Nintendo video games in each room. While TheBus (Honolulu's cheap major transport) stops just outside, rest assured that Waikiki Beach is located a short two blocks away. Since the Ilima is very popular with both tourists and locals, remember to book early!
Meet the penguins at the
Hilton Hawaiian Village.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort - One of Honolulu's top luxury hotels for families, Hilton Hawaiian Village features its own virtual zoo, complete with pink flamingos, ducks, turtles, tropical fish, and ... 8 African penguins - along with the Hilton-hosted fireworks show every Friday night over Waikiki Beach. Take advantage of arranged on-site activities, or have the hotel plan trips for you to the Waikiki Aquarium and other kid-friendly Honolulu places.
The Kahala Hotel and Resort - One of Honolulu's best resorts, the super expensive and luxurious Kahala - just minutes outside the city center - doesn't skimp when it comes to welcoming families. Offering a wealth of free morning activities for kids (including hula lessons, lei making, and ukulele lessons) their private backyard beach also features a floating bouncy house very popular with both kids and teens. For an experience they'll never forget, kids can also get their fill of swimming or snorkeling with trained dolphins at the Kahala's own dolphin lagoon.
Kid-friendly Honolulu tourist attractions
At the Honolulu Zoo
be sure to ask about
Waikiki Aquarium - A great place to cool off during the heat of the day, the Waikiki Aquarium showcases a living coral reef, colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, Hawaiian monk seals, squid, and octopus. On Wednesdays, their kid program includes ocean-themed crafts, story telling, and hands-on games at 'Afternoons at the Aquarium'.
Honolulu Zoo - Besides pink flamingos, elephants, chimpanzees, white rhinos, and other exotic flora and fauna, funky zoo-themed sculptures (perfect for photo ops with the kids) pop up around every corner of the Honolulu Zoo. At the entrance, be sure to ask about money-saving day or family passes. Also note that animals in the outside exhibits nap during the height of the afternoon heat, so plan your trip in the early morning hours or before noon.
Hawaii Children's Discovery Center - The best place to go with toddlers in tow, the Children's Discovery Center in Honolulu includes fun for the younger set including lots of hands-on activities and exhibits.
Bishop's Museum - While the adults will better appreciate the rich history and culture on display at the Bishop Museum, the kids will the love interactive exhibits at the museum's Science Discovery Center to learn more about about volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural island phenomena.
Kid-friendly Honolulu activities
Hiking Diamond Head - One of Honolulu's most popular tourist attractions, Diamond Head can also be one big adventure for the older kids - as they make their way up the extinct volcano on a hiking trail including staircases, tunnels, and bunkers - to reach the summit located 760 feet above sea level. Hey, you did it!
Swimming with dolphins - You can experience this beloved activity beloved - by children of all ages - during a day trip to Sea Life Park, about an hour's drive from the city. Most package tours include admission to Sea Life Park with transportation from Waikiki. Also check out the Kahala Hotel (see above) where Dolphin Quest hosts more intimate encounters with dolphins including a one-on-one "Trainer for a Day" program.
Surfing for kids - Older kids and teens can take to the surf at any one of a dozen surfing schools located in Waikiki Beach. Head for specialist outfits such the highly recommended Faith Surf School or the Hans Hedemann Surf School for their emphasis on fun and safe surfing.
Take them to a luau - What's a trip to Honolulu without a luau? Take in this unique Hawaiian entertainment - including fire eaters and hula dancers - at most of the larger hotels, some with discounted rates for children. For the ultimate in luau entertainment, take the day trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center or try Paradise Cove or Germaines Luau just outside the city center.
Fun things to do in Honolulu with kids - An extensive list of attractions and activities, as well as information on day tours of Oahu, and further afield to kid-friendly attractions on Maui, the Big Island, and other Hawaiian islands.