Part 2 of our Parent’s Choice Awards 2012 results focus on the wonderful family friendly places to visit and things to do in Hawaii as chosen by the readers who responded to our online survey last fall. We asked them to complete a short survey to determine which beaches, activities, and events they thought were the best for families. We had an overwhelming response and we appreciate everyone who took the time to complete the survey. We will reveal the top 3 answers to each of our questions as well as what percentage of the votes each had. We think the results will give you an additional perspective on family friendly adventures that are available here in the islands and give you the added comfort of knowing that these are places that ranked highly among parents just like yourselves! Please share your thoughts on the winners or let us know who you think should have been on the list by leaving a comment!
What is the best family friendly hike in Hawaii?
The short hike through Waimea Valley (26%) topped our survey responses. A nice stroll along the paved pathways through the botanical garden and archaeological sites to Waimea Falls was a family favorite amongst our poll responders. Manoa Falls (21%) and the Makapu’u Lighthouse (21%) hikes tied for second in our poll. Manoa Falls is a short 1 mile hike that is easily accessible from Waikiki and rewards hikers with a spectacular 150 foot waterfall treat at the end! The trail can be muddy and there are no facilities, but its easy terrain and short distance make it a great excursion for families. The Makapu’u Lighthouse hike is a 2 mile paved (great for strollers!) hike to an observation point at the end of Makapu’u Point just above the lighthouse. It is an easy uphill climb that boasts spectacular views of the ocean and windward side of Oahu. It is a perfect location for whale watching in the winter! For added fun, families up for the challenge can scramble to the top of the point and explore some old concrete bunkers.
What is the best family friendly activity in Hawaii?
Honolulu Zoo (30%) was the top vote getter for best family friendly activity. Located in the heart of Waikiki, the zoo has a nice selection of animals, good facilities, and a number of great family events throughout the year. It also boasts an excellent kid’s petting area where they can interact with sheep, cows, and other farm animals. It is conveniently located to the beach and other nearby attractions making it an ideal half day excursion. The Maui Ocean Center (13%) and the Polynesian Cultural Center (13%) tied for second. The Maui Ocean Center has a wonderful living reef that contains marine life that you can only find in the Hawaiian Islands. The highlight for the kids is the glass tunnel that passes through a very large fish tank complete with rays and sharks that pass under and over you as you watch from this uniquely safe and dry position. They will also enjoy checking out the turtles in the Turtle Lagoon! The Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu is a fun interactive look at the varying peoples and cultures that exist throughout Polynesia. Each island group has its own village where they teach about their particular heritage and way of life. The center has numerous activities throughout the different villages that are very kid friendly. Don’t miss the daily parade of canoes that meanders down the canal. Aboard the canoes are villagers donning native dress dancing and singing their way through the park.
What is the best family friendly event in Hawaii?
Honolulu Hale and Holiday Lights Parade (70%) was the runaway favorite in response to this question. Maybe it was the time of year that we conducted the survey but it seems everyone loves the holidays and there is no better celebration of the holidays in the islands than the parade and month long celebration at Honolulu Hale! The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (12%) finished second on our list. The series of individual surfing competitions that runs along Oahu’s famous North Shore each winter from November to December culminates in the crowning of an overall champion, making the winner the most proficient big-wave rider in the world. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is second only to surfing's world title as it is considered to be the ultimate test of a surfer's ability to master the big waves at three unique venues. The month long Chinese New Year (6%) celebration in Honolulu’s historic Chinatown rounds out the top 3 most popular responses to this particular question. Cultural festivals, parades and block parties Chinatown’s streets in the weeks surrounding the New Year. It is an excellent opportunity for families to explore Chinatown and its cultural contributions to Hawaiian life!
What is the best National Park in Hawaii for families?
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (38%) on the Big Island received the most amount of votes in response to this question. The chance to see an active volcano is undoubtedly a big draw for all members of the family! Kids 12 and under can participate in the Junior Ranger Program which teaches children about the park, volcanoes, and Hawaii. Completion of the program will earn them a Junior Ranger Badge! The World War 2 Valor in the Pacific National Monument (31%) which includes such infamous Oahu sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, and other historic sites was second in our survey. These sites all explore the United States’ involvement in World War 2, the historical significance of which may be lost on small children, but they will still enjoy investigating the various ships and aircraft that are part of the exhibits. Like Volcanoes, the National Park Service has activities available for children such as the Keiki Ranger Activity Book (for ages 3-6) and Junior Ranger Scavenger Hunt (for ages 7-12). Haleakala National Park (25%) on Maui was third in our survey. The massive volcano offers a variety of climates and contrasting landscapes and is popular for its summit sunrises! Kids ages 7-12 can participate in a Junior Ranger Program just like Volcanoes. All three of these national parks also participate in the National Park Service Passport Stamp program which is very popular with kids!
Look for the rest of our Parent's Choice Awards 2012 winners in our next post! Mahalo!