Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shark's Cove

Shark's Cove is my favorite snorkeling spot we've come across so far. It has shallow tide pools with lots of little critters to explore along the beach and gets deep with huge, amazing, colorful fish out towards the rocky wall! It is awesome!!

We took turns, one parent played and explored in the tide pools with the kids while the other went out and snorkeled in the deep water. We even took the kids out a little ways and let them snorkel!

Getting Set Up. Gotta love the squinty eyes from the sun!

My Snorkelers <3

So pretty!! The waves come crashing over the wall making this pretty waterfall!

This fish was HUGE!!



Tips:
Shark's Cove is only safe in the summer months. The surf is too high in the winter months. Even if it looks safe, waves come in sets and can come at any time! Don't risk it.
Pack sunscreen and water.
There are sea urchins, careful where you step!

Directions:
Shark's Cove is on North Shore along the Kamehameha, between Waimea Bay and Pupukea Beach Park.


The Blue arrow is where we descended down to the beach just behind the restrooms.






Byodo-in Temple


The Byodo-in Temple is an exact replica of 950 year old temple in Uji, Japan. The grounds are absolutely beautiful! It has such a peaceful feeling to it, even the kids loved scoping out the koi ponds, reflecting pool and were fascinated by the inside of the Temple. This also provides a great opportunity to teach them about other cultures and religions.



Gong!







Please remember that this is a religious area and people do come here to meditate and worship so please be quiet and respectful. Also, don't forget to remove your shoes before entering the temple!

Visit Byodo-in Temple for more information!

Dole Plantation - Pineapple Heaven!

Home of the world's largest maze and yummiest pineapple ice cream, Dole Plantation is a place I'm glad we visited once. Honestly, I don't know that it's a place I would repeatedly go to but it was fun to be in Pineapple Heaven for an afternoon. My 3 loved the Pineapple Express train ride through the pineapple fields, the huge pineapple shaped maze and of course the amazingly delicious pineapple flavored ice cream!










Admission to the grounds is free but each attraction is pay per person and there is a gift shop so it is easy to spend a little chunk of change here!

Dole Plantation is located along the Kamehameha over towards North Shore. When we went we made a whole day out of it and went to Dole Plantation in the morning and to Turtle Beach over in Hale'iwa for the afternoon. Made for a great day!

Visit Dole Plantation for more information!



Monday, July 11, 2011

Hiking in Kalihi Valley

About 6 months ago I came across this article and video of a Secret Waterfall. I had to know where it was so I emailed the man that wrote the article but never got a response back from him. This hike pops into my mind every so often and last week as I was looking around on Google Earth I came across two photos in Kalihi Valley that matched the video!

After researching, I couldn't find much but I did find that this is called the Kalihi Valley Ice Pond. I'm sad to say that we didn't make it all the way down to the pool. We just ended up hiking the Old Road, which does only take about 20 minutes, to the trail that leads down to the falls. Sadly, I think the trail is much more worn down now  than it was when the video was made because not only was it steep, it was slick and had ropes to aid in the descent down to the pool. It was not worth the risk with our three kids so we turned around. I'm not saying it isn't doable, but I wasn't going to try it out.

We did really enjoy the hike though! We parked at the end of Kalihi Street, just before the white bridge and walked to the end of  the street and around the road block on the well worn path. There is a no trespassing sign here but we passed a woman and her dog, 2 men fishing and another group of hikers along the old road.


Here is the bridge we parked by. We did drive over it but I was not comfortable with it! It was patched up with ply wood..



Beginning of the hike along the old road.


Creepy old building.. Just before this on the left is some water that comes right up to the road and it looks deep. Very deep! If you go on this hike, watch your kids near it. Also up ahead you have to duck under the branches that are growing over the road.



An old car!



The road becomes decently steep and has running water on it. It is easy to slip going back down if you don't have good traction!



The trailhead down to the Ice Pond. It is hard to see but the white in the very center of the photo is the waterfall coming through the trees.


Even though we were all bummed we didn't get to go down to the falls and pool to swim, we had a great hike!

Tips:
Bring mosquito repellent, they are thick!
Wear shoes with good traction! You will be thankful you did when going back down this road.








Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Aikahi Playground

We have lived in Oahu for a year now and never knew this amazing park was right out the back gate to base (we live on MCBH) until one day last week a neighbor posted pics from this park on her Facebook page. I had to know where it was and was so glad she shared!!

Aikahi Playground is (as far as I can tell) the only wooden play structure on this island that promotes creative play! All of the others are cookie cutter metal playgrounds ordered from a manufacturer. I was so happy to find this park and my 3 kids agreed it is one of the best parks we have ever been to.

It had something for kids of all ages (and the husband too) Mine are 7, 4 and 18 months!










The park is pretty much entirely shaded by huge Monkey Pod Trees. No worries about being in the sun too long or it being too hot!



I have to say, our favorite park of the park was the wooden ship! The floor of it is floating so you can rock it back and forth like you are in a real boat riding waves. How awesome is that!? The first time we went we piled 3 adults and 5 kids on that thing and had so much fun!!


The only thing this park is missing is swings. That's something I've noticed since we have been here in Hawaii - not many parks seem to have them! It is one thing I will look forward to when we get back to the mainland, but for now I am super excited that we found this park to keep us entertained until that time comes - 2 years from now!

One last thing, I've got to say I'm proud of my almost 8 year old who started gymnastics today. By this photo I am thinking she will be a natural.



Aikahi Playground is located in Kailua on Ilihau St. at Aikahi Elementary School. It is open to the public!

Side Note: These pictures were taken on 2 different days! I did not change my kids halfway through playing lol. The park is just that awesome that we took them twice between Friday and Tuesday!




Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ho'omoluhia Botanical Gardens - Kaneohe

Ho'omoluhia Botanical Gardens is one of our favorite places to go to just have a relaxing family day. I grew up spending my summer's at a cottage on a small lake in Michigan and coming here and feeding the ducks in the pond brings back some great memories! Pack a lunch, go fishing, feed the ducks and Koi, admire the exotic plants and explore the trails of the gardens. You are sure to make some lasting memories and instill a love and respect for nature into your kids.

This is my favorite exotic plant we saw along the way..




The kids have to much fun feeding ducks...





Climbing trees..




And picking dandelions!!



And just because I think they are really cool looking - a few more pics of exotic plants!!





Tips:
Admission and parking is FREE!

Directions:
 Coming from the H-3 take exit 11 onto the Kamehameha into Kaneohe. Just before you reach Burger King you will see a sign telling you to turn left. Follow that street into the botanical gardens and park by the visitor center. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My new hiking backpack! Love this thing!!

I've been searching for a hiking backpack to haul my toddler in for awhile now. I finally came across one on Craigslist that I love! I bought the Chicco Smart Support. This thing is awesome!! It is so light weight, has a folding frame, sun canopy with attachable rain visor and it is so comfortable! It has everything I could have possibly asked for.  Buh-bye too small and uncomfortable front carrier, hello luxury!!



And the only action shot I got, that I took myself. Not such a great picture, but I gotta share anyway!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Waimea Falls

If you prefer a paved path surrounded by 1,800 acres of botanical gardens that ends at a beautiful waterfall with a pool deep enough for swimming, this is the one for you! The path is about a mile long, paved the whole way. This is great for families of all types! It is very stroller friendly, there are restrooms and changing rooms and even a lifegaurd and life jackets provided at the base of the falls!

There are side trails shooting off the paved trail. The kids loved exploring all the little areas and learning about the different plants!



Taking a break! We are used to hiking under the canopy of the hawaiian jungle; walking this paved trail can get very hot!!



Really neat plants!!


Yay!!! We are almost there!



Entering the pool of the falls with our super stylish life jackets!



Swimming near the base of the falls! 


TIPS:

There is an admission fee to enter the park but it is worth the visit! Like most places on island, they do offer military and Kama'aina Discounts with photo ID.

You are exposed to the sun most of the way! Consider bringing sun screen and water.

Pack a bathing suit and towel!

Visit Waimea Valley for more information.