The Polynesian Cultural Center is an all-day exploration that takes place on a beautiful 42 acres located on the north shore of Oahu. Here, more than 32 million guests have enjoyed this all-day excursion since 1963, making it the top-paid Hawaiian attraction for a reason. The Polynesian Cultural Center remains popular due to an extensive amount of hands-on activities, performances, and lively adventures into historical Polynesian ways of living.
My husband and I selected the Polynesian Cultural Center as an adventure for our family of eight. We had the grandparents visiting us here in Hawaii over the holiday and figured this would offer a broad range of activity for the entire family’s enjoyment.
Polynesia means “many islands” and represents thousands of islands of the Pacific Ocean. These islands form a triangular area that encompasses approximately 16 million miles of the ocean. There are 30 different groups of Polynesian people inhabiting these islands.
The Polynesian Cultural Center features the people and islands of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Tonga. In addition, the Polynesian Cultural Center also provides information on several other Polynesian island groups, including the Cook Islands, Niue, the Tuamotu archipelago, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna.
Entering the Polynesian Cultural Center we are greeted by hosts dressed in traditional attire. They welcomed us as they placed shell leis upon our shoulders. We were amazed in the beauty of the man-created inner world and its surroundings of lush green foliage.
Our first stop was the tattoo stand. For a small fee my two oldest children received a tattoo of their choice. These tattoos were airbrushed on to their skin and lasted through the full day of festivities and the washed off easily enough after returning home.
As we walked on we took in many different villages and the culture displayed within them. We were lucky enough to catch one village putting on a show. We sat atop wooden benches as the show commenced in drum rhythm and vigorous tribal chanting. This show was full of crowd participation and charmingly comical. It was a great way to begin our journey through the seven diverse villages.
Half of my family decided to board a brisk canoe tour. My family members were discontented in that they were ushered to the back row while the guide spoke solely in Korean. One of the fellow members of the audience did graciously translate a few segments in English for my family’s comprehension.
Next my family and I enjoyed the canoe pageant while we sat under the shade provided trees. It was an engaging live display of Polynesian culture with elegant women dressed in vibrant costumes to the fierce warriors who were heavily tattooed with tribal representations. As this pageant carried on friendly ducks walked among the crowd. This was my daughter’s favorite part of the pageant.
We continued on to discover what other villages had to offer our family. We observed as women wove baskets, hats and other decorative accessories. There were games played from ancient days of the past. My children intensively enjoyed these games and in result spent an extended amount of time playing.
We couldn’t experience it all before our evening luau. We stood in line where our drink requests were taken. We were given leis, but only this time made from freshly picked purple flowers. Shortly after being seated we received our tropical drinks contained in hollowed pineapples. They were so large that two people could easily share one and that is just what my children did. To them this was the “coolest” part of the luau.
While eating we were told of old Hawaiian culture while dancers performed the hula. Seating was a bit closer than other luaus we have experienced. The food choices were a bit limited and not up to the solicited proclamations, but we found the hosts courteous and exceedingly generous.
After the luau we were too worn out to see the big show. We were a bit disappointed to miss it, but voiced that we would see it at later time. After all, we chose the Polynesian Cultural Center for the well known performance!
Our family had a wonderful time experiencing Polynesia’s past while gaining memorable quality family time. I hope we can return again soon to experience some of the activities and adventures we missed the first time around.