Saturday, July 29, 2017

Hawaii Vacation - Day 7: Polynesian Cultural Center

On our last full day on Oahu, we went to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

But first, we started our day by going to one last Oahu beach. This time it was Lanikai Beach, just a 5-minute drive south of us on the windward side of the island. This is the beach we saw the other day from the top of our Lanikai Pillbox hike, and has been called one of Oahu's best beaches.

We did some snorkeling. The water was not as clear as the water at Waimea Bay, and there were fewer fish, but Kai still enjoyed the water. His name means ocean in both Japanese and Hawaiian, so it is apropos that he loves swimming in the ocean so much.

We swam for about an hour and a half before coming in to get ready for the rest of the day. And while the snorkeling wasn't the best here, Lanikai cannot be beat for the softness of its sand, and its scenery is very picturesque.

We showered, changed, and made the hour drive north to the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). Before we went into PCC, we had lunch at the adjacent Hukilau Marketplace. My wife had the Poke (pronounced po-kay) for the first time. Poke is a Hawaiian appetizer of raw fish and rice that seems to be becoming very popular on the mainland these days.

Kai had a Hawaiian pizza with pineapples, ham, green pepper, and black olives.

I had a Hukilau sandwich (mahi-mahi), not pictured.

And then we entered Polynesian Cultural Center.

PCC is a theme park of sorts. It has authentic villages (well, as authentic as you can get in a theme park), with natives from six Pacific cultures demonstrating their arts.

We signed up for a tour so a guide took us around for the afternoon. While we were observing the demonstration at Samoa, Kai spotted a cart where you can get fresh coconut juice right from the coconut. It was a hot, muggy day, perhaps the muggiest yet (almost Japan-like) so the cold coconut juice was very refreshing.

Below is a picture of one of the native performers at Samoa, who was demonstrating a fire dance.

Mid-afternoon, we started to watch the canoe pageant as representatives of the six cultures rode by.

About halfway through the pageant, it started to rain heavily so we scrambled for shelter. It has rained every day that we have been here, but as on other days, the rain ended in a matter of minutes and we were able to enjoy the rest of the day.

Our next stop was Aotearoa, now known as New Zealand. My wife and Kai participated in a Maori stick game where you toss sticks to your partner at the appropriate time.

They were able to do it for a little while, but it was tough to keep up as the moves went faster and more complicated.

Late in the afternoon, we took the canoe tour down the canal as it passed the different cultures.

We signed up for the full experience at PCC including a luau dinner. That included a buffet dinner. After having the coconut juice earlier, we added on a virgin pina colada drink served in a pineapple.

In addition to the dinner itself, the luau included Hawaiian entertainment.

The final part of our PCC experience was to watch the evening show - Ha: Breath of Life. No photos are permitted during the show which featured performers from the six island cultures as it told a story of a from the birth of a baby to him growing up into a young man.

The highlights were some very amazing fire performers. We had seats in the third row (bought them weeks ago) so we could feel the heat of the flames. It was remarkable that the performers do not burn themselves as some of the feats looked very dangerous.

The only real issue we have had with Kai so far on this trip is his wanting to use electronics at all times except when at the beach. But on this day, I had told him that he could not use it in the car as I preferred he nap as it would be a long day. I also set expectations that there would be no electronics while we were touring the center or watching shows. He complied nicely and the day went well.

And so the Oahu portion of our trip is nearing an end. One more morning and by late afternoon we will be in Maui.


  1. A long day for Kai, but he seemed to hold up well. I loved the Samoan fire dance. Maui should be a great time for also. I will be glad to see where you go. I have never been there.

    1. Yes, he held up well through the long day. Loved the fire dances; the ones during the evening show were especially spectacular.


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