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Hawaii was such a magical place for us. We loved every single moment that we were there. One of our favorite experiences on Oahu with our kids was our day at travel partner, Polynesian Cultural Center . There is so much to do that you could easily spend a full day here, or if you are short on time, do an abbreviated visit and come for the afternoon and stay for the luau.
Polynesian Cultural Center is the best way to experience, learn, enjoy and explore the Polynesian Islands all in one place.
Spend the day exploring the rich heritage of the Pacific Islands. Wander through 42 acres of tropical splendor and enjoy the adventure of traditional hands-on activities. Dine like royalty at an authentic Polynesian luau and top it off with the most spectacular evening show in the islands, Ha: Breath of Life. All of Polynesia in one exciting place.
Before even entering the area you need a ticket for, there is a great area on the outside called the Hukilau Marketplace that is open to the public. There are some great food trucks and snack stands including one that sells Dole Whip!
Grilled cheese served on Hawaiian bread came from this truck and “it's like the best grilled cheese ever”, says Ash!
I also bought the girls some fun treats like a flower for their hair and a t-shirt or two!
After we had snacks and bought some fun things, we went through the entrance and saw this. So beautiful!
There are waterfalls, canoe rides, and so many things to see!
We started at the beginning and worked our way through all the villages starting with Tonga, Tahiti, Marquesas, Hawaii, Fiji, Aotearoa, and Samoa.
Each village has a performance area, a traditional hut or building, and a game. Hawaii even has an area where you can learn how taro is harvested and cooked… and sample some too!
There are different show times for the performances in each village, so we planned our time around those. We also really enjoyed speaking to everyone in each village about the culture and heritage of the area. It was fascinating and just made us want to visit more places! I see Fiji in our future, hopefully soon!
At the end of the day, we were able to check off another important experience from our Oahu travel list… a LUAU!!!
When I visited Hawaii with my family as a teenager, we made sure to go to a luau each time we visited, so I was really excited for Pete and the girls to go to one too!
It was awesome going to one right at the Polynesian Cultural Center since we were already immersed in the experience all day. This felt like a natural progression and a great way to end the day.
We enjoyed some great food, an amazing show, and even some non-alcoholic tropical drinks!
Emmy has always wanted to have a drink in a pineapple so we made that happen! It was really refreshing!
They even had vegetarian and vegan options for us. Once we were seated, Maddie and I just had to notify our waitress that we were vegan and we were brought out tofu stir fry, chili, and taro rolls from the buffet. Everything was really good and I can't even tell you how awesome it was to have food we could eat. We had pretty much accepted that a luau wasn't going to be the most vegan friendly place, but we were so pleasantly surprised!
Such a fun show and there were a lot of opportunities for audience participation.
Everything included commentary too so that we knew what was happening. Although it was pure entertainment, they also gently worked in educational aspects too so that we learned from the whole experience.
After the luau, Emmy was so excited to meet and have her picture taken with the performers.