A fun venture on Waikiki Beach is having your picture taken with a flock of parrots!
Everybody arose around 7AM the next dayâ€¦not bad since it was really noon on our Texas clocks. This was a solo family outing day for myself, Kim & Spencer. Main target was splendid snorkeling
at Hanauma Bay. Iâ€™ve been here twice previously and returning to Hanauma seems to be a tradition when visiting. Hanauma Bay is a huge sheltered bay along Oahuâ€™s southeastern coast (the drive there from Waikiki takes you past all of the glorious homesteads around the base of Diamond Head) and a MUST destination.
Being veterans we knew that an early start was requisite.
Dances with Dolphins at Sea Life Park...good times!
But didnâ€™t we feel like rookies when we arrived at 9:30AM to learn the parking lot was already full (donâ€™t park along the highway outside Hanaumaâ€¦it is illegal and they do tow!).
Fortunately our motto for this adventure was â€śgo with the flowâ€ť so we simply continued north along the coast of Oahu
â€™s eastern shore.
A beautiful, twisty drive, but unless you are in downtown Honolulu I think every road in the islands is twisty! And going with the flow proved worth the show. As members of our local aquarium in Corpus Christi, I had packed along my membership card because prior research alluded to it granting a 10% discount on entry to the Sea Life Park on Oahu. Before departing, Kim had a hazy recollection of visting this place during her first trip to Hawaii as a youngster (her aunt is Elizabeth Akana, of Hawaiian quilt fame).
Sea Life Park proved to be the same park form Kimâ€™s childhood. Though showing its age, we enjoyed it thoroughly. Didnâ€™t blush at the total entrance fee (think it was around $85 for two adults + one child), but got suckered in by the cashierâ€™s glib description of the â€śDolphin Discovery Swimâ€ť --- we said â€śyesâ€ť and were rather shocked when she exclaimed â€śokay, Iâ€™ll just add another $368 to your chargeâ€ť with our credit card in her clutches! As I will share, we found the experience to be worth the fare of admissionâ€¦but please donâ€™t be naĂŻve as we were!
If you visit this park, please absorb its grand setting. It is poised on the ocean with a lovely volcanic rift behindâ€¦absolutely stunning. The basic exhibits are standard fare and the many performed shows are cheesy but fun. Not stellar, but still entertaining and educational. After wandering about we were pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices and broad range of selections offered at the restaurant inside the grounds.
Soon it was 1:00 PM and time for our dolphin adventure. You get a brief video and then get marched to a large pool area that is secluded from the general admission area. We donned life jackets and marched in two lines to opposite sides of the pool and spanned a grated bridge that was roughly four feet underwater. Then a pair of dolphins emerged and the fun began!
Beyond learning quite a lot and having front row seats for the performance, we got to feed raw fish to the dolphins (the two switched back and forth occasionally), got to dance with them and even received kisses! Our daughter was thrilled and naturally we had to plunk more money down for the photoâ€™s they take of you interactingâ€¦but what a memento! A splendid visit.
After departing Sea Life Park we retraced our steps and returned to Hanauma Bay. It was about 3PM and not only was there plenty of parkingâ€¦they left us in for no charge! Things have changed a bit from five years ago and you have to endure a video of â€śdoâ€™s and donâ€™tsâ€ť before getting into the water. We were a bit disappointed by a marked reduction in the number of tropical fish, but couldnâ€™t tell if it was because of the impact of high-volume tourism or simply related to the time of day.
Even though it was nice getting for free, I would still recommend getting there early for prime snorkeling. The water was decidedly muddy after several thousand people snorkeling before us churned things up. Regardless, Hanauma Bay remains at the top of my list for Oahu attractions.
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One of Oahuâ€™s prime attractions is the snorkeling wonderland of Hanauma Bay. A short drive from Honolulu (you will pass through a lot of wild neigh… read entire review