What's the latest news from Oahu? We're so glad you asked.
* Phase I of the $58 million renovation of the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center at Pearl Harbor has been completed. New facilities include a central ticketing facility for tours to the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Museum, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum; a research and education center and an expanded bookstore, restrooms and snack bar. When fully completed in December 2010, the new visitor center will include a new museum and expanded landscaped grounds.
* Bishop Museum is adding a new outdoor exhibit focused on Hawaii’s indigenous plants. The Native Hawaiian Garden is expected to be completed this summer at which time Bishop Museum will offer daily educational programming and Garden Tours. The Garden Tour will feature coastal plants, representing the types of plants that voyagers may have seen upon reaching Hawaii’s shoreline; plants brought to Hawaii by its first settlers; and native dry forest plants that replicate what Hawaii’s forests may have looked like in early times.
* Iolani Palace is now open on Mondays to accommodate the growing demand of visitors interested in touring the Palace. The Palace is open for a variety of tour options six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
* On the second Thursday of every month, the Honolulu Academy of Arts will remain open until 9 p.m. for aloHAA, a new art pau hana featuring a bar serving beer, wine and specialty cocktails; pupu from The Pavilion Café; live music; and art talks.
* From May 1-26, the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts holds the Oiwi Film Festival, which showcases the work of indigenous Hawaiian filmmakers.
* The Honolulu Academy of Arts presents “Four Thousand Years of Southeast Asian Art” from September 9 to January 9, 2011. This exhibition of works of art from Thailand and Cambodia, includes many that have never before been displayed at the museum.
* The Honolulu Zoo will present its “Wildest Show in Town” summer concert series on Wednesday evenings from June 9 through August 11. The program includes zoo tours, keiki (children) activities, ukulele giveaways, and local entertainment.
* From now through October, families can Snooze in the Zoo at the Honolulu Zoo. Once a month, on either a Friday or Saturday night, the Honolulu Zoo invites families to camp on the zoo grounds. Snooze in the Zoo activities include dinner, an evening tour of the zoo, campfire and s’mores, breakfast, and a morning tour of the zoo.
* Every Saturday night from June through August, families can watch blockbuster movies while floating on a tube or lounging in a deck chair at the Hawaiian Waters wave pool at Wet ‘N’ Wild Hawaii. Dive‘n’Movies are shown on a 50-foot floating screen and begin right after dusk.
* Children ages 6-12 and their parents can now Doze with the Dolphins at Sea Life Park. During the overnight program, participants will learn about animals’ nocturnal behaviors and can choose to sleep next to the dolphins at the Hawaii Ocean Theater, sharks in the reef tank or camp in a tent in the Makapuu meadows. Other activities include a flashlight tour and treasure hunt.
* On May 14, Chinatown bar Bambu 2 will open Bambu 2: The Venue, a 200-person capacity performing space that will feature live music at least twice a week.
* Sheraton Waikiki is now offering Yogaquatics on the Edge. Yoga inspired water aerobics are offered every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Infinity Edge pool. Yogaquatics is complimentary for hotel guests 16 years and older and is led by fitness trainer Massimo Galluzzo.
* The Pacific Beach Hotel now offers Snuba, a combo of snorkeling and scuba, in its three-story indoor Oceanarium. The Snuba experience is offered from Monday to Saturday and enables divers to roam to a depth of 25 feet and help their guides feed the fish in the Oceanarium.
* Segway of Hawaii now offers a Magic Island Glide Ride tour from its new Aloha Tower location. The two-hour tour departs from Aloha Tower and travels through Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island and Kakaako Park.
Restaurants & Cuisine
* The owners of popular restaurants Formaggio and Wasabi Bistro recently opened Sake Street, a new restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue that specializes in sake and Asian-inspired comfort food dishes. Sake Street offers two-ounce pours of different types of sake to enable sake newbies and aficionadas to taste as few or as many sakes as they desire.
* Pablo McGinty’s, a Mexican and Irish-themed pub/cantina, will open at Ward Centre in 2010. The menu will include traditional Mexican and Irish dishes, as well as contemporary blends of both cuisines, all handmade in-house using only fresh ingredients. Pablo McGinty’s will offer a daily pau hana and late night happy hour menu with half-off appetizers and drink specials. The bar will feature a full line of Irish beers, Irish whiskeys, Mexican beers, Mexican tequila and made-to-order margaritas. Live bands will perform on weekends and select weekdays.
* Cold Fyyre Cookie Cremes has opened a kiosk across the DFS Galleria in Waikiki. Cold Fyyre Cookie Cremes specializes in ice cream sandwiches made with freshly baked cookies and homemade ice cream in flavors such as Kona coffee, Kahuku apple banana, Big Island chocolate, and more.
* Cereal Remix, a café where customers can create their own cereal combinations by choosing from more than 25 cereals and 35 toppings, recently opened in Aiea. The café also serves steel cut oatmeal in the morning.
* On April 1, RumFire at the Sheraton Waikiki launched Night Cap, a new late night happy hour featuring food and beverage specials. The daily happy hour runs from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and includes discounted specialty cocktails, beer, wine, and an assortment of pupu.
* Waiolu Oceanfront Lobby Bar at Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk introduced “The Liquid Artistry of Waiolu,” specialty drinks created from fresh ingredients. Drinks include the Red Dragon, made with dragonfruit rum, Trump Orange Vodka, black pepper syrup, fresh lemon juice, fresh mint, strawberries, and clementine; Sweet Heat with Skyy cherry infusions vodka, fresh lemon, cayenne pepper syrup; Emerald Island, rimmed with 24k gold leaf; and more.
* Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, presents Wine Wednesdays at Beachhouse at the Moana every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Moana Surfrider’s resident certified sommelier James Maher guides wine enthusiasts through several special wines that are featured on Beachhouse’s wine list.
* Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa now offers a wine tasting tour every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Participants can enjoy four selected wines while strolling through the Hyatt Waikiki grounds, stopping to catch great views of Waikiki and taste delicious dishes at Na Hoola Spa, The Elegant Dive, The Colony Restaurant, and Ciao Mein.