Posts Tagged ‘Bishop Museum’

Ensen enjoying his small...yes that's a small...rainbow shave ice ($3) at Shimazu Store on School Street with Grandma Kam.

As I compose this long overdue blog post, I’m simultaneously trying to recall the last time I had a true spring break vacation. The kind where you leave work and all your worries behind and focus on relaxing and having fun with family and friends. I’m drawing a blank. My guess is it must have been more than 16 years ago way back when I was still in high school.*sigh*

With Ensen‘s preschool out for on break a couple weeks ago, I had no choice but to ditched the office in favor of spending five days watching with my son. It was incredible. We had so much fun exploring Oahu and doing everything we could to fill our days. The only thing that would have made it even better is if Kelly and Avery were there with us, but work and the sitter kept each occupied the entire week, respectively.

My goal was to make each day a new and memorable learning experience for Ensen. Let him experience things that would excite him mentally and physically. Do things that he would anxiously want to talk about with his teachers and friends when he returned to school. I believe we accomplished that. Here’s a photo recap of Ensen and His Daddy’s Uber Excellent Adventures:

MONDAY, MARCH 21
Ensen and I headed to Bishop Museum to check out the new “Dinosaurs Unearthed – Feathered Discoveries” exhibit running through September 5, 2011. We had no idea dinosaurs had feathers. Did you? This place has become a family favorite over the past few years and we’ve taken advantage of the great membership rates which has us coming back frequently. So much to see and do. Nice exhibits. The kids always have a great time here.


Getting ready to head in and check out the rest of the dinosaurs.


This guy was our favorite. A cross between a chicken and brontosaurus.


More feathered friends inside.


We spent quite a bit of time digging for fossils in this discovery box.

TUESDAY, MARCH 22
Before heading to the North Shore to check out the big waves, buddy and I made a quick stop at Shige’s Saimin Stand in Wahiawa for some onolicious saimin and a cheeseburger. It was the perfect “brunch” before we hit the road towards Haleiwa.


The waves were pretty big this day at Pipeline, but windy conditions made for lousy waves and no surfers out in the water when we got there. That didn’t stop Ensen from getting his toes in the sand and picking out some nice shells for mommy and Avery. We also had a nice conversation with some visitors from Michigan and Iowa who were happy to be on Oahu. Ensen told them all about his love of Transformers, showed them how to transform the one he had, and they as they patiently listened and watched.


Ensen loves his shrimp, so we made a lunch stop at the Famous Kahuku Shrimp Truck for some Garlic Butter goodness before heading back home. Soooooooo ono!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
I figured by day three, Ensen would be getting tired of just hanging out with me, so we called Uncle Kevin, Aunty Sherrie, and Aunty Erin and asked them to take us fishing. They agreed! We all met up at Heeia Kea Pier, one of Uncle Kevin and Papa’s favorite fishing spots, to cast our lines into the sea. Ensen caught five fish. Daddy caught three. And poor Aunty Erin (not pictured to protect her identity…hehehehehe) caught ZERO! Ensen got a kick out of that.


Uncle Kevin and Aunty Sherrie help Ensen reel in his first catch of the day!


If this beautiful place looks familiar, it’s because Pirates of the Caribbean was just filming here not to long ago. The Queen Anne’s Revenge was set here during filming in on Oahu.


Ensen with another fish on the line. I think he’s got a great future as a fisherman.


After a few hours of fishing, we headed to Windward Mall for lunch. But there was more fun ahead. A train ride around the mall ($3/person) was just what Ensen needed before his nap on the car ride home.

THURSDAY, MARCH 24
Aunty Erin (my sister) had so much fun with us on day four that she tagged along with us on our visit to Pearl Harbor/World War II Valor in the Pacific and the USS Missouri Memorial (aka The Mighty Mo). I should note that the Mighty Mo is a client of the agency I work for, so they were kind enough to host the three of us at no charge. But honestly, the $20/person adult and $10/kid (4-10 years old) admission for the Mo is still a deal to see a piece of history.


This entire facility was recently renovated and is beautiful. It’s FREE to enter the general area here and explore the museums (which are beautifully done), grounds, theater and gift shop. That alone is worth the visit to Pearl Harbor. Once you’re in, then you have the option to buy single or multi-attraction tickets. While we also wanted to see the Pacific Aviation Museum, I had a feeling Ensen would be tired after looking around the Mighty Mo for a few hours, so we decided to just do one activity this day. I ended up being right about the tired part.


To get to the Mighty Mo, unless you drive over to Ford Island yourself, you have to take this coach bus from the main entrance.


Photo opp before boarding the ship. It’s huge.


The guns are huge. Can’t imagine being on this thing when they were being fired.


Ensen took his turn as a gunner.


Lunchtime at the Sliders Grill on the dock which serves up burgers, hot dogs and the like. The food is expensive, but it’s the only place to grab a bite near the Mighty Mo. Word is if you can get to the cafe at the Pacific Aviation Museum, there’s some better options there. Nonetheless, we gobbled down a couple of dogs, drank some water, then…


…had Dippin Dots ice cream and made a custom dog tag ($5). We went back on the Mo for a little while after this but Ensen was fading quickly, so we boarded the coach bus and headed back to the main gate. A wonderful day on the Might Mo and at Pearl Harbor. We’ll definitely be back to explore the rest of the sites. There’s just so much to see and do here. I’m estimating two days would be needed to fully enjoy everything.

FRIDAY, MARCH 25
Our last day of spring break began with breakfast at Cafe Kaila (at Market City) with Uncle Regan. I’d been hearing a lot of good things about this place and I’m glad we gave it a try. It was packed and we waited about 30 minutes for a table. But the food and service was great. I had the Italian Sausage Frittata which was the size of my head and very good. Ensen went for the waffle which was yummy. A nice breakfast before we headed off to meet Aunty Erin and Grandma Kam for lunch.


Following lunch, Ensen and I took grandma to National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl to visit my grandpa. Hard to believe it’s already been eight years since his passing. Seems like just yesterday. It was nice to be able to share this moment with Ensen, tell him a little bit about how my grandpa was quite the handyman and all around nice guy, and have him help my grandma with the flowers.


And for his help, Grandma Kam rewarded him with a shave ice at Shimazu Store. Quite possibly the perfect end to a very busy, fun, and memorable spring break vacation.


This whole experience made me realize I need to get away from the office once in a while to kick back, relax, and enjoy this island paradise we call home with loved ones and friends. I’m already looking forward to spring break next year. But hopefully, Kelly and Avery can be there with us as we create more family memories together.

-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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We hit the Hawaii State Farm Fair at Bishop Museum like thousands of others this weekend and had a blast watching Ensen play with the animals, eating ono food, and buying what we could in the produce/goodies tent. But the highlight of the day was being able to wheel our little guy around in his awesome new Radio Flyer wagon. Every kid needs a wagon right? So we didn’t hesitate buying this deluxe model (with canopy) at Walmart on Saturday. Ensen loved the ride around the museum grounds and we enjoyed having the extra space to lug our purchases around. No need for a stroller any more.


Arriving at Bishop Museum early meant we got a space in the parking lot. After loading up, it was straight to the entrance. Being members of the museum enabled us to scoot to the front of the line and enter quickly. Cool perk!


Aunty Kim came along too and since we were starving when we got there at 9 a.m., we headed straight to the food booths for some grinds. After a quick bite, Ensen enjoyed checking out all the animals in the petting area, but was fascinated most by the chicks. There were rides there too, but he was too small to ride any. 😦 Next year!


It was a hot Sunday, so a huge slice of watermelon was just what the doctor ordered. We even ran into my dad’s aunties in the produce/product tent which was a nice surprise.


The fruits (and other goodies) of our time at the Farm Fair. All grown and made in Hawaii. All delicious!

-NGK

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