As far as family activities, there are more than beaches and hiking when in Hawaii. If you find yourself on Oahu and craving a day of air conditioned fun, where the kids can be entertained, than let me show you a little slice of heaven.
What To Know
Tuesday through Friday…..9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday……10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Discovery Center is a bit pricey with general admission running $12 for anyone over 1 year. If you are local or military it is $10. Is it worth it for the price? Look on and judge for yourself.
The only other part that is a total bummer is the outside of the building. There is a homeless encampment directly out the doors and across the street and it can make you feel a bit uneasy right off the bat. Sadly, you will find that through most of downtown and Oahu in general.
Once inside you will be transported to another world of magical discoveries.
The first room you come to in the center is one of my favorite. It offers an immersive water play area that also has a gated tot section. Here the kids get to learn about nature, rainforests, natural resources, and how to take care of our environment.
There are clouds that rain down the mountains and travel to the lower pond. Here kids can fish and play hands-on with ocean and water related toys.
There are splash guard aprons to wear if you don’t want to worry about your littles getting to wet. There will be splashing. This is also a great environment to learn about sharing and cooperating with other children.
There is a tree house the kids can climb to look down on it all and tons of little interactive activities. We may have spent way too much time playing with the smoke dome. This room closes earlier than the rest of the center so make sure to come early and make it your first stop.
Once you leave this room there is a multitude of other rooms with hands on play to explore.
There is fun mirrors, magnetic play, hidden rooms, a room to play indoor baseball, a stage to dance on that gets shown on a big screen. And that is just the beginning of the kids activities.
This room held thousands of these blocks to build whatever you could imagine. There were bins full of humongous blocks, small blocks, magnetic blocks, and building blocks.
While the boys built and destroyed, my daughter and I took our turn at being a vet. This little room had clipboards with pictures of animals in the room. There was info showing what was wrong with them and how to treat them. We would find the animal and administer shots and medicine or give them a good teeth or ear cleaning. She loved it.
There were many other rooms in this area where kids can be a grown-up for a day, and learn how a community functions. They can dress up and play a fireman, a banker, a mechanic, a doctor, and more.
The kids loved dressing up as little chefs and cooking for us. We sat down at the diner and ordered food from the menu. The menus showed pictures of what the meal consisted of and our chefs were able to go to the pantry and find all the ingredients. There was a stove for cooking and all the pots, pans and utensils needed for a kids kitchen.
In the doctors room, there were babies to take care of, beds for sick daddies to get shots, and even an x-ray machine.
The kids knew all about grocery shopping and were eager to show they could take care of the food picking. The cart was loaded with fish, ice cream, and chocolate milk. Apparently that is all you need.
Dressing up as a fireman is tough work. It may be a job in itself. Cooper loved putting on the whole outfit and running around pretending everything was on fire. There is also a big “truck” to sit in, drive, and climb around in the back. The area was even complete with a slide down pole. Though it is blocked from the top for obvious safety reasons. Dang.
Once fireman duty was over it was time to learn how to keep up a car as a mechanic. I had lots of experience with broken cars when I was young from driving my first beater. Where was my little mechanic then?!
When it is time to get out from under the cars they can go up in the sky! Cooper made the cutest pilot in the plane room, and willow pushed the beverage cart down the aisle to serve the seated guests.
The huge bubbles is the main attraction for our family. At one point during our second visit my husband actually said, can we just get to the bubbles already! Yes babe, lets go blow some bubbles!
In this area you can also learn about what makes living in Hawaii so special. From the plantation days to modern Hawaii, there is a lot to learn and discover.
Explore a rainbow of cultures, countries and celebrations from different parts of the world. Take a trip to far away places and experience how life is similar and different in other areas of the world.
A great family activity, there is so much to see and do here. I recommend making a day of it. We came the first time when rain cancelled some of our outdoor family plans and we couldn’t have been happier.
With rooms for all ages you can bring the whole family. Even mom and dad will have a blast here and I promise you will fill up your camera roll with all the cuteness.
Have you been to the Discovery Center or one like it? We are always looking for childrens museums and family activities all around the world so don’t hesitate to share your favorites!