Named a great place for a first date by Honolulu Weekly, The Contemporary Museum provides lover-candidates with plenty of conversational topics as they wander an assortment of accessible, provocative art. Education programs and exhibitions, such as the Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawaii Artists exhibition, give freshly hatched masterpieces a chance to rub frames with the permanent collection of classics by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and more. The museum's emphasis on works created in Hawaii also makes it easy to meet the archipelago’s homegrown talent, who are often on-hand to answer puzzled stares and challenge you to aesthetically pleasing arm-wrestles.
The 800 teddy bears at Teddy Bear World Hawaii might appear to be alive, but they're actually animatronic. The museum packs its 20,000 square feet with colorful scenes of the bears reenacting famous scenes from history, such as the first space shuttle launch, the construction of Mount Rushmore, and the day stuffed animals gained the right to vote. Complementing the historical exhibits are famous works of art reinterpreted to include bears, a dinosaur-themed exhibit, and the Save The Planet section that details how global warming may affect the planet's future. The building also houses a fully animated Elvis show, where a teddy bear version of the king performs a song-and-dance routine rivaled only by Elvis's short stint as a basketball mascot.
Scream Team creates new nightmares by bringing already existing ones to life, drawing upon horror staples such as demonic clowns and decaying zombies for their fully immersive haunted houses. In 2011, a rogue’s gallery of cinematic madmen—from Michael Myers to Freddy Krueger to Nick Nolte—brought hypothermia to the spines of patrons tiptoeing through Hollywood Horror, which ran alongside the blood-spattered carnival of Twisted Fun House. Their houses stay open through the end of October and then, like an office of candy-corn salesmen, vanish after Halloween.
Cozily tucked within a cluster of missionary houses erected in the 1820s, Mission Houses Tea Parlor reawakens 19th-century English etiquette with old-fashioned tea parties. Named for an 1820s missionary, the Lucia Holman tea service brandishes fine china harboring cups of burbling warm tea steeped from the finest loose leaves. From underneath centuries-old trees, outdoor tea sippers can nibble on flaky, buttery scones, slathering them with generous layers of house-made lemon curd and rich devonshire cream before scarfing them down with the traditional British swiftness. Patrons can munch on an array of dainty sandwiches, grasping the moist miniatures between graceful fingers, or whetting broken broomsticks and piercing them with swift thrusts. Chocolaty desert pastries add elegance to the midmorning feast, allowing guests to enjoy sugar without catapulting bags of it across the street at neighbors’ houses.
Island Treasures works to bedeck bare walls, shelves, and laser-guarded pedestals around the area with original artwork from about 125 local artisans. Add an air of culture to a home by hanging a few 4”x6” paintings ($20) from a ceiling fan, or add some prismatic pizazz to the den, bedroom, or teleportation chamber with a matted print from one of dozens of artists ($10–$25). Store explorers will also find toys, books, one-of-a-kind knick-knacks, and fashionable accessories. Beaded bracelets and necklaces ($8–$20) from the Island Treasures jewelry chest improve wardrobes, and scented sachets ($8 each) freshen any area with the smell of flowers. Guests can use aloha-print napkins to sop up spilled sauce at a luau ($16) or decorate a coffee table with a 48-inch Hawaiian-print table runner ($24). Like a mad scientist building a hot-rod Frankenstein’s monster, the store adds new items on a weekly basis.
Up to 19 passengers sit comfortably on North Shore Catamaran's 40-foot sailing vessel, the Ho’o Nanea, which Captain Don Germain steers along Oahu’s scenic shores. The catamaran’s name means “to pass the time in ease and comfort,” an apt phrase, as guests will find the day quickly and serenely passes when they’re onboard. North Shore can charter the boat for snorkeling adventures in Waimea Bay or for romantic BYOB sunset sails.