Archive for the ‘Family & Friends’ Category

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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If you follow this blog, you know how much our son Ensen loves Transformers. So much so that he wants to be Optimus Prime for Halloween. Instead of buying a costume, Kelly is taking a stab at making one from scratch after watching the Howcast video above. The result will be much cuter and unique in our opinion. Stay tuned for photos of the final result.

Avery is going to be Ensen’s sidekick Bumblebee. What are you planning to be for Halloween?

-NGK

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The Kam family travels to Las Vegas this week to witness the marriage of our cousin Grant and his fiance Morgan. Since that doesn’t happen until Tuesday, we decided to fly in a few days early with other family members to hang out, relax, gamble, eat, drink, and be merry.

It’s our first mainland family vacation with Ensen and Avery and so far everything is off to a great start. Kids slept nearly the entire way on our Hawaiian Airlines redeye flight. And since arriving, it’s been go, go, go. Breakfast at Hash House A Go Go (ridiculous sized portions of good tasting food), In-N-Out Burger, visited Las Vegas Premium Outlets (took advantage of some great deals to buy some clothes), Mariana’s Supermarkets (holy incredible chicarrons here), and Trader Joe’s.

But there’s plenty more to do with the kids and Ensen is excited to explore. Thanks to my friend Nancy Syzdek to bloggs for TheSavvySource.com, we now have a ton of things to see/do on our list. We’re hoping to do at least a few of these things before we head home.

I’ll be blogging more about our family experiences in Sin City when I get back home. But for now, you’re welcome to follow along on our journey (if you care to do so) via the awesomeness of social networking.

  • Wondering which places were visiting? Check out my FourSquare and/or Gowalla accounts. I’m checking in as much as I can and leaving tips.
  • Curious where we’re eating? Foodspotting to the rescue. I’m documenting our eating adventures there.
  • And if we’re friends on Facebook, I’ll be posting photos daily in my “Lost Wages” album.

Hoping this is the trip we hit the big one. But regardless, we’ll have tons of family memories to bring back, and that’s really all that matters.

-NGK

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I have to admit that when my friend Toby invited me and my family to visit his new marine center client near Honolulu International Airport, I was completely skeptical. Having lived five minutes away in Salt Lake for more than six years, I know the area pretty well frequenting the airport and businesses around there quite a bit. But I nearly fell off my chair when he said “no seriously, there’s a Living Art Marine Center (LAMC) on Ualena Street behind Byron’s Drive Inn and it’s a great family attraction.” THERE’S A WHAT?!

We’re always up for new excursions and any opportunity to enlighten ourselves, so the Kam family accepted the open house invitation and complimentary narrated VIP tour to explore the facilities a couple Saturdays ago. And to our surprise, there IS a wonderful marine center there in between the warehouse facilities in what I’ve only thought of as an industrial park all this time. Who would have guessed? It’s only open three days a week right now – Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday – but they hope to expand as demand hopefully rises.

The LAMC offers 75,000 liters of sea life on display in a variety of tropical fish tanks (seemed like more than a hundred), do-it-yourself workshops (including a special area for kids to do arts/crafts), an aquatic touch tank (with starfish, crabs, and other creatures), and a shark museum. The main feature is the “Tour the Six Oceans” display which takes you on a journey around the tropics to discover how the reef and its inhabitants are quite different and unique in the displays highlighting six areas around the world – Hawaii and Christmas Island, Australia, Philippines and Indonesia, Baja Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Red Sea.

Ensen had a great time looking at all the familiar and sometimes unusual sea life along with all of the other kids. Throughout the tour I kept thinking this is really a great family attraction right in our backyard. Not only is it visually stimulating, but the narrated tour was really well done. The staff is very knowledgeable and the content was interesting.

The tour also included a look a the Voyage Into the Deep, Clownfish” breeding area, Fish collecting boat, and a touch tank where visitors can get hands-on feeling different marine life, such as hermit crabs, starfish, and other creatures of the sea.

Once we were finished looking at all of the exhibits, the families found themselves back in the main building preparing to do some arts/crafts in the workshop area. For an extra cost, you can create Gyotaku fish print t-shirts, seashell decorations, decorate an ipu (gourd), and other fun do-it yourself activities.

Ensen was quite happy making his Gyotaku print. Instead of using real, smelly fish which are used in making authentic prints, the LAMC uses fish “stamps” which parents like me appreciate.

Nothing against smelly, slimy fish, but this alternative worked out just fine as evidenced by photo above. After the print dries, the kids were then able to cut out a border from construction paper to frame the photo. We now have a beautiful Gyotaku print in our condo.

And as we were about to leave, these interesting pieces of art caught my eye and I couldn’t help but snap a photo.  This would actually look quite neat in my office.

After taking the tour and talking with President Richard Xie, it made sense why the LAMC was located here. It’s part of Hawaiian Sealife, a marine ornamental fish business (they export cool fish to pet stores and aquariums). Xie and his team are trying to do their part to showcase the beauty found below the Hawaiian waters, while educating residents and visitors about the hundreds of different species of tropical fish here.

So who exactly is the LAMC is a great experience for? In my humble opinion:

  • local families looking for something new and interesting to do
  • visitors interested in seeing and learning about Hawaii’s marine life (or maybe killing time if your flight happens to get delayed and you don’t want to spend hours at the airport…this place is just 5 minutes away)
  • die-hard aquarium/fish fanatics who want to know more about ornamental fish
  • teachers and their students as an educational too (they do tours for school groups on a regular basis)

While we enjoyed the VIP tour, I can see us returning again to do the self-guided version at our own pace…especially because we have kids who are on their own schedule and program when it comes to experiences like this.

And as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. The exterior of the LAMC is nothing to look at, but the quality of exhibits inside is what you’re really here for. Go check it out!

—–

Living Art Marine Center
3239 Ualena Street, #100
Honolulu, HI 96819

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday
Guided Tours: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (90 minutes) – Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday
Reservations: 808-841-8080
Online Information: www.hawaiiansealife.com

Entrance Fees:
Kamaaina
Adult: $14.95
Children (4-12): $9.95
Children (3 & under): Free

Non-Reisdent*
Adult: $50
Children: (4-12): $35
Children (3 & under): Free

* cost includes Waikiki transportation (pick up twice a day at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and Ala Moana Center). 20 perecent discount off the non-resident rate on Saturday and Sunday without transportation.

[Photo taken by me with my Canon EOS Rebel T1i and a Tamron 18-200mm XR DiII lens.]

-NGK

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First post from my iPhone

Posted: July 17, 2010 by Nathan Kam in Ensen & Avery
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Testing…testing…Here goes nothing. My first post from the WordPress app on my iPhone 4 as I ride in the back of the RAV on our way to town. Little Avery was quite a happy ham this morning. Hope you’re having a great Saturday too.

Fourth of July weekend started off with a bang in Kailua as usual. My brother-in-law Kevin can always be counted on to entertain us with his amazing stash of fireworks and his “little apprentice” Ensen was having a ball playing with morning glories and pop-pops. It’s clear he aspires to be like his uncle and already likes playing with fire at the tender age of 3.1 years old. Wonderful!

The following day, we headed back down to the windward side to have some fun. We ended up doing some backyard fishing at my in-law’s house and Ensen again had a blast catching talapia with Uncle Kevin out of a river that runs behind the house.

As we looked on, Ensen wasn’t the only one that wanted to prove he could catch fish with ease.

Out of nowhere, this herring swooped in and started to do some fishing of his own. I got lucky and was able to catch him in action as he plucked out his sushi dinner. In case you’re wondering, the bird downs the entire fish at once and probably had 4-5 fish that evening. NOM!

And as the sun started to set on another beautiful day in paradise, we happened to spot a rat dwelling in a hollowed out papaya. So of course I had to pull out my camera and take a shot. Isn’t he/she cute? Yuck!

I love three day weekends! Hope your Fourth of July was a memorable one too!

[Photo taken by me with my stock Canon EOS Rebel T1i and a Tamron 18-200mm XR DiII lens.]

-NGK

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A few weeks ago, Kelly took Ensen and Avery for a walk to visit the Salt Lake Fire Station in our neighborhood. It’s one of those great free things to do that kids…especially boys…really enjoy! Ensen is no exception. He loves firetrucks and was quite excited to find himself up close and personal with them.

Here’s Ensen getting ready to head inside…

The friendly fire fighters at Station 30 allowed him to sit inside the truck and pretend he was on his way to fight a big fire.

According to Kelly, Avery enjoyed herself too. 🙂 A quick photo of the kiddies before leaving.

If you’re even in need of something to do with the kids on a whim, consider visiting your local fire station.

A big mahalo to the brave firefighters of Honolulu Fire Department’s Station 30 for showing Ensen around. Becoming a fireman is definitely on his consideration list as a future occupation…right up there with doctor, rubbish man, and astronaut. We’ll definitely be back soon at night to see them turn on the lights!

-NGK

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