Posts Tagged ‘Family & Friends’

Today, we discovered a cool place in Dole Cannery called Rascal’s Family Fun Center perfectly suited for kiddie birthday parties and just plain ‘ol entertainment. Our son Ensen was invited to his classmate Caleb’s 4th birthday party. When Kelly and I got the invitation, we had no idea what this place was all about. We figured this place must be pretty new, but it’s actually been open for a little more than one year. What?

Ensen found Rascal’s to be a very fun place. They have an arcade, laster tag, mini bowling, mini golf, and a bouncer room. They also have a Candyland Tot Town which we didn’t get to see. It looks small from the outside, but when you go in, it’s rather large. As you can see from the video above (shot and edited on my iPhone 4 with iMovie), there lots to keep the kids busy. Ensen (in photo below) really enjoyed mini bowling and hopping around in the bouncer.

In addition to all the activities, they have private rooms to hold those special celebrations with family and friends. And, they offer three hours of free validated parking. Sweet!

Nothing against Chuck E. Cheese or Dave and Busters, but this is definitely a breath of fresh air in terms of fun and locations to hold birthday parties and special events for kids on Oahu.

Have you been to Rascal’s? What other places in Hawaii are ideal for such occasions?

Oh, and once again, Happy Birthday Caleb!

-NGK

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The 50th State Fair seemed so much bigger when I was smaller. Larger than life. Almost Las Vegas-like! Kelly and I both have fond memories going with uncles, aunties, cousins, and friends when we were growing up. Since we’re a lot older now, the fair seems quite small these days, but still fun. Nothing like dropping loads of money of cheap stuffed animals, overpriced food, and expensive rides. But hey, it’s not like we do this all the time, right?

But, now that we have Ensen (soon to be 3-years-old) and Avery (6-weeks-old now) going to the State Fair has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s super fun all over again and to experience it through the emotions and excitement of your children are priceless. The family made the trip to Aloha Stadium last night for some fun and entertainment. But the main reason was to see Ensen’s favorite superhero Ironman! And while we found him, we also found out Little E is quite the adventure seeker. He rode a couple rides, including the “bigger kids” roller coaster (which he wasn’t too fond of).

It was a night we won’t soon forget and we created some great family memories. The 50th State Fair runs through the end of June so there’s plenty of time to get there. Here’s a few photos to recap our night.

[All photos and video taken by me with my stock Canon EOS Rebel T1i.]

-NGK

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So what did the Kams do on this July 3 holiday you ask? We headed to one of Ensen’s favorite destinations – Honolulu  Zoo – with a couple of our friends (Araki and Nakamura clans) for some family fun. During a visit last year, we made a silly video starring Little E exploring the Keiki Zoo. This time around, we decided to let the real stars of the zoo – the animals…more specifically the monkeys – do the entertaining.

In the video above, you can see how they put on an hilarious show for the crowd, screaming, yelling, laughing, and swinging around liked crazed monkeys. In all the times we’ve been there, I can’t recall seeing them ever this active so it was a real treat. As for the photos below, those are our “little monkeys” (Lia in pink and Kenzie in white) having fun.

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-NGK

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After much anticipation, Kelly and I finally had the chance to take Ensen to see the Giant Insect Safari exhibit at Pearlridge Center Uptown. Aunty Kim also came along to ensure none of the huge bugs attacked us. It’s actually one of the better mall experiences I’ve seen and needless to say Ensen loved riding the train ($3/person) through the larger-than-life creature display. I have to say the 19-foot Praying Mantis, the 15-foot Caterpillar, and 16-foot Locust were 100 times grosser (is that a word?) than their real-life counterparts, but really cool at the same time. :-) Little E (in the orange shirt) had so much fun, I created a little video of our adventure.

The Giant Insect Safari runs through August 2, 2009, all day, every day during mall hours. The exhibit is FREE to view with a nominal charge to ride the train. It’s a great summertime family activity to beat the island heat (love Pearlridge’s cool AC), get educated about insects, and do a little shopping to boost the local economy.

We’ll certainly be back!

-NGK

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Ensen and Kailua Grandpa at Tagami and Powell Gallery. Taken with my iPhone.

Ensen and Kailua Grandpa at Tagami & Powell Gallery. Taken with my iPhone.

It’s been a busy couple months for the family and I’ve been neglecting the blog of cute and random Ensen posts. I’m surprised my mom hasn’t scolded me. Hehehehehe. So this post is to make amends with those who visit frequently to see the little superstar of our family. So without further ado…I present to you Ensen’s excellent adventures.

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Ensen modeling the most delicious Ah Fook’s Portuguese sausage from Maui and getting ready to play a little football.

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Ensen with Kailua Grandma and Grandma Myles at Uncle Les’ kanreki party at Hee Hing Restaurant.

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Checking out the awesome play area at Windward Mall.

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Hanging with Uncle Jon and Uncle Kochan!

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Ensen getting silly with his pal Lia and Maui Grandma.

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Posing with the Jabb-ster!

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Enjoying the rides at Chuck E. Cheese with his pal Abigail.

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Getting his pearly whites cleaned at the dentist.

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On the hunt for Easter eggs with his cousins at Aunty Steph’s house.

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Having fun with Kona Grandpa at Ala Moana Center.

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Ensen’s newest obsession is his Thomas The Train set Aunty Kim got for him.

-NGK

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Ensen and Lia checking out the monk seals at Waikiki Aquarium.

One of the great things about having a young child is rediscovering some of the great – and affordable – activities and attractions we enjoyed as kids growing up. Being from the Big Island, it was always a treat to come to Oahu to visit family. It also meant an opportunity to visit the zoo, aquarium, museums, and other fun stuff, things we didn’t have in Kona. On the other hand, Kelly grew up on Oahu and enjoyed these things on a much more regular basis.

But the bottom line is after we both got older, we lost touch with these great backyard treasures which have only gotten better with time. Now as parents, we’re relishing the opportunity to rediscover and explore Oahu’s great family activities and attractions with Ensen (now 20-months old). But more than that, many of our friends also have kids and are reconnecting like we are with childhood favorites. Exploring together as families makes the experience that much richer.

We recently visited the Waikiki Aquarium for the first time in years with my buddy Brad and his daughter Lia. Admission is just $9 for adults ($6 kamaaina) and kids under 4-years-old are free. It’s not the biggest aquarium, but it’s got a lot of cool stuff to explore. I put together this short tour of the facility. Can you name the marine animal in the last part of the video?

One of the coolest things about the Waikiki Aquarium is the Hawaiian Monk Seal feeding show. The trainers there are well educated and share the knowledge with park visitors several times throughout the day. I actually shot the entire show (10 minutes) which was one of the big highlights of our visit.

If you haven’t been to the aquarium in a while, I recommend you head back soon. Lot’s of fun and a great value. And while we’re on the subject, here are some other places we like that you may want to check out that are equally affordable and perfect for the family:

What are your favorite activities and attractions on Oahu that don’t break the bank? I’m always in search for more fun things to do with the family!

-NGK

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Blog followers will remember our first visit to Bishop Museum with Ensen last September didn’t go so well. You can read all about that experience here. But with nine-months passing, Kelly and I were determined to get back there with the little guy since he can now walk, mumble, and understand the world around him much better. Boy did we have a blast!

After having a quick lunch on the lawn, we headed indoors to explore the “Whales: Wonders of the Ocean” exhibit currently on display in Castle Memorial Hall. Who knew whales were originally land based creatures many moons ago? We do now. Ensen enjoyed looking at the whales and singing with them on Cetacean Idol hosted by Lion Seacrest (no joke, you read that correctly…watch the video below).

The one thing we didn’t get to see the last time was the planetarium, so we weren’t going to leave before doing so this time. The “Science on a Sphere” display in the waiting area is quite interesting with lots of great information about the solar system. Then it was into the planetarium for the show. Ensen was well behaved and enjoyed observing the heavens with us. The “Explorers of Polynesia” show featuring Nainoa Thompson’s historic voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti aboard Hokulea put the difficulty of star navigation into perspective. Watching and learning how they used the sky like a compass was amazing. Now, I want to be an astronomer or master navigator when I grow  up.

Bishop Museum is a great deal and place to spend the weekend with the family. We took advantage of becoming members this time which is only $50 for the year. Can’t beat a deal like that. We’ll be back soon!

-NGK

If you haven’t been to The Contemporary Museum (TCM) on Makiki Heights Drive, here’s my recommendation: GO!

It’s been a favorite spot for Kelly and I for years dating back to when we lived in the Punahou area. While we aren’t die hard art enthusiasts by any stretch of the imagination, the relaxing ambiance of the museum and interesting art always make it an enjoyable experience. And now that Ensen is 10 months old, it was time to take him to the only museum in Hawaii devoted to contemporary art. And we had some fun!


Having fun in with the mirrors and Ensen enjoying Cade Roster’s artwork in the main gallery.

After paying the $5 admission fee (yes, you read that right…$5!), we immediately toured the main gallery and wandered through the Biennial of Hawaii Artists (VIII) show currently in full swing through August 17. According to the TCM Web site:

Inaugurated in 1993, The Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawaii Artists (VIII) presents a selected sampling of exceptional recent work by Hawaii artists. The selected artists collectively represent the remarkable range of contemporary expression in Hawaii. The exhibition includes seven invited artists: three from Oahu, two from Maui, and one each from Kauai and Hawaii. Each artist is provided with a space and is able to show a body of work or develop an installation.

We saw a lot of great artwork in the gallery, but one artist whose work we enjoyed most was Cade Roster and his mixed-media cartoonish creations. Just brilliant! Here’s a few of his pieces above and below:

For a “real” review of the Biennial of Hawaii Artists show, check out the Honolulu Advertiser’s story “Spacial encounters” which ran this past Sunday.

After touring the galleries and exploring the grounds for over an hour, it was time for lunch at The Contemporary Cafe. This restaurant alone is reason enough to make the trip up the hill. The menu here is unpretentious and simply delivers delicious food! Not to mention, everything is reasonably priced. After feeding Ensen his lunch, it was time for Kelly and me to dig in. I’ll let the photos do the talking.


Lunch began with the Hummus & Pita and Crostini of the Day which came with a garbanzo bean and couscous spread. Both were very tasty and are must orders. My Grilled Vegetable Salad on homemade focaccia bread with a side of hummus was the perfect lunch.


Kelly indulged in the Hot Special of the Day which was a Bacon Wrapped Baked Ahi with a side of wilted spinach and white rice. We usually don’t like ahi cooked all the way through, but we both agreed that this dish was moist, tender, and full of flavor. Pork fat rules! And for the finale, we ordered the Gateau, a layered chocolate cake with strawberry whipped cream in the middle. Decadent!

I’ve never had a bad meal at the Cafe and highly recommend lunch here if you’re seeking something different. The service is great and atmosphere is wonderful. Your family, friends, and colleagues will surely be impressed.

Once again, it was an amazing day at The Contemporary Museum and the first of many more to come for the Kam family. I hear ArtSpree in July is a wonderful event for adults and kids. If the following photos of Ensen in the Cafe are any indication, he’s sure to have a lot more fun getting hands and creating some art. You can bet we’ll be there.

The Contemporary Museum
2411 Makiki Heights Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: 808.526.1322
Tuesday-Saturday (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) / Sunday (Noon – 4 p.m.)

The Contemporary Café
Phone: 808.523.3362
Tuesday–Saturday (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) / Sunday (Noon – 2:30 p.m.)
Reservations recommended.

-NGK