The Bishop Museum Is a great experience for the whole family. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, History, Art, and Science with kid friendly hands on activities in a beautiful setting.
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum located in the Kaliki district of Honolulu is quite impressive. The museum itself is stunning. Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style and is home to over 24 million natural history specimens and Polynesian cultural artifacts.
There is something for everybody in the family here at the different buildings and immaculate grounds. There is a Planetarium (the oldest in Polynesia), The Sports Hall of Fame, Art and History in the Hawaiian and Pacific Hall, Science Adventure Center, Libraries and Archives, and Native Hawaiian Gardens.
Before we go any further though I would like to say maybe I am not accustomed to Museums because I thought it quite odd but intriguing all the creepy, morbid, and nude “gems” we found throughout our time here. The kids and I were fascinated around every corner to say the least. Be Forewarned.
The first part of the museum we explored was the planetarium. An educational and research facility devoted to astronomical sciences. They had great hands-on activities for the kids including a small sand bin to shape the earth and build mountains and ravines, that was even equipped with a water shower to fill the oceans you create. There was also small robot arms to control and gravity bowls to throw weighted balls in. Not to mention the planetarium itself!
After that we headed over to the Pacific and Hawaiian Complex Hall that starts off immediately impressive with large hanging marine life like a massive shark and even larger Complete sperm whale skeleton and life like mold.
These structures were once dubbed “the noblest buildings of Honolulu” and it is easy to see why. The walls are adorned with a multitude of gorgeous Koa wood display cases. Today this wood is worth more than the original Bishop Museum buildings!
Each little divet showcases different aspects of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders history. You will find hand carved statues, replicas of the old ways of living, and plenty of things to make your kids oooh and aahhh.
My son especially loved seeing all the wayfarers, ships, and other water craft. The collection of tools, old photos, and showcases of expeditions uncovering the old boats was expansive and instilled a sense of wonder in my little ocean lovers.
There was plenty to keep my touchy kids needs met here also with lots of interactive displays. There were microscopes to look in, string to weave, ships to build, dress-up in native clothing, and pattern blocking.
After you wind your way through the four stories you will find yourself on the top floor where you will finally get to come face to face with the behemoth of the sperm whale they pieced back together from the ocean floor. It was truly impressive to see and my kids couldn’t get enough.
When we made our way to the little building that housed the art exhibits things got a little odd but we laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the little bit of time we spent in the dark rooms filled with odd little and big findings. The art ranged from graphic photos and statues, to large pieces that made you ponder their existence.
After all the excitement we settled down some in a breezy shaded pavilion in the Native Hawaiian Garden. We were the only ones there so I didn’t mind my kids running about like crazies after all the quiet observing they had just underwent. I decided to skip the cafe and instead we chowed on our favorite quick fuel. The Perfect Bar, oranges, and bottles of water. This is not an ad. I am just seriously in love with these organic protein bars.
And finally we made it to our favorite part of the day. The science adventure center. Designed as a learning center for children, it includes tons of interactive exhibits focused on marine science, volcanology and other related sciences.
Right when you walk in you are greeted with a large wall covered in shiny disc that show you the impact of air by turning the windmill and beating on a drum. The kids Loved it.
You will also find all kinds of creepy crawlies like beetles, insects, birds, and butterflies. This was one of the oddest encounters but my children were quite fascinated. The hands presenting dead birds. I was happy to get on to the Volcano play room right ahead.
The volcano had caves, a small slide and when you made you way to the top it was interactive when you pushed buttons to see the effects of gases and geysers. This was definitely geared to the younger crowd though. I can’t imagine older children being nearly as excited as we were.
We also got to walk through tunnels of black light painted walls that seemed other worldly that led to a cavern seeming room that made you feel as if you were under the ocean. Here we met at the “hot spot” and got to watch a live showcase of pouring hot lava. I learned that my Leo Gemstone Peridot, is actually gem grade lava crystals! Fits right in with my fiery nature…
All-in-all, it was an incredible learning adventure for my children and I. There was so much to do and see and the kids had a blast exploring the beautiful museum as much as I did. I can see why this is at the top of the must do lists of things to do on Oahu with kids!
Visit their website for up to date hours, prices, and exhibits.
Have you been to the Museum? If not, I hope this post made you want to go! Let us know if you enjoyed it as much as we did!