What to Do on Oahu

It goes without saying that there is plenty to do all over Oahu, from relaxing on beaches to hiking up mountains to enjoying Honolulu's urban energy. Here are some suggestions for things to do on the island:

The new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit is currently under construction at the Waikiki Aquarium and will open in the spring of 2011. The exhibit will feature a living reef ecosystem representative of that found in the world’s most isolated islands. Interactive touch screens associated with the exhibit will provide additional information on the significance of the islands, their ecology and biodiversity, and the importance of preserving this almost pristine marine ecosystem for future generations.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is introducing three new “Go Native” activities. Beginning in April, Coconut Tree Climbing in the Samoan Village will allow guests to kick off their shoes and climb a tree “Samoan style,” using safety harnesses. Starting in June, couples can profess their love as part of a traditional Te Here Celebration in the Tahitian Village. Then, Canoe Paddling will begin in July. With the help of an experienced paddler and guide, guests can paddle an outrigger canoe through PCC’s winding lagoon. Canoe races will also take place throughout the day.

For aspiring chefs, the Polynesian Cultural Center is offering twice daily cooking demonstrations. The cooking demonstrations feature practical, modern techniques to create savory Polynesian cuisine at home, including tips and tricks for visitors’ own backyard luau. Demo chefs will walk guests through an assortment of Polynesian fare, such as laulau, taro and sweet potato chips, and demonstrate preparation and cooking techniques suitable for all skill levels and adaptable to almost any kitchen.

Kualoa Ranch has recently launched a new Sunset Experience. This late afternoon and early evening activity shares the historical and cultural significance of Kualoa through a combination of tours, dinner and entertainment. The Sunset Experience includes the Hawaiian Fishpond & Garden Tour, Movie Sites & Ranch Tour, island style buffet, and live Hawaiian entertainment.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial’s “defenses” received two dramatic upgrades over the past several months. Visitors can now take aim at phantom targets while peering through the sights of one of eight .50-caliber machine guns, recently installed around the perimeter of the historic battleship’s main deck. The second upgrade is an imposing World War II-era 40-mm quad anti-aircraft gun mount that once defended the Mighty Mo from threats from the sky.

Wild Side Specialty Tours recently launched Whale-opolis Whale Watch, a new full-day charter exclusively focused on whale watching, that ventures to one of the most prolific whale watching areas in the state – Penguin Banks. Penguin Banks, located about two hours south of Waikiki by boat, is part of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and home to Hawaii’s largest concentration of endangered humpback whales and other cetaceans.

New to Oahu is Honolulu City Tour, which recently began operating “hop-on, hop-off” sightseeing tours on double-decker buses. The tour begins at the Duke Kahanamoku Statue fronting Kuhio Beach and stops at 11 locations in, including Ala Moana Center, Aloha Tower, Chinatown, the King Kamehameha Statue/Iolani Palace, and several hotels in Waikiki.

Discover Hawaii Tours recently added a new tour to its popular eco-tour collection. The “Mauka to Makai: Oahu Air, Land and Sea Adventure” includes a waterfall hike, zipline adventure, and ocean kayak excursion on Oahu’s Windward coast.

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor now has two WWII battlefield hangars included in general admission for guests to explore. Newly opened to the public is Hangar 79, which still shows the bullet holes from the December 7, 1941 attack, and joins Hangar 37 in providing visitors with a unique aviation experience of America’s Pearl Harbor battlefield. Guests will see 25+ aircraft and points of interest along historic Luke Air Field during the walk between the hangars.

Hawaii Theater Center ENCORE! Series presents “Defending the Caveman” from May 24-29. “Defending the Caveman,” which portrays the ways in which men and women relate, is the longest running solo play in Broadway history.

For more information, visit www.visit-oahu.com.

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