The servicemen of Pearl Harbor's naval base were taking some much-needed R&R between early-morning repairs inside Hangar 37 when suddenly they heard a buzzing overhead. With the humming of their own planes and battleships periodically filling the air, this rapidly approaching sound wasn't foreign to their ears, but this instance proved to be drastically different. Thunderous explosions soon overtook Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona struggled to stay afloat as the Imperial Japanese Navy delivered a surprise military strike, which resulted in one of the most devastating attacks on American soil. With a mission to preserve the history of this tragic event, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor opened that very same hangar to the public, hundreds of feet from where ships burned and men courageously fought more than 70 years ago.
Hangar 37's 42,000-square-foot space currently houses many of the museum's artifacts, which include a World War II–era B-25B bomber, Japanese Zero, and naval planes such as the SBD Dauntless. Also open to the public, Hangar 79 displays the actual bullet holes that pierced its windows during the attack, while an authentic WWII maintenance shop contains an exhibit that explains how planes ran on Lucky Strike cigarette materials. Visitors can experience the museum's ever-evolving collection of exhibits––which has included segments dedicated to the Korean War's MiG Alley and the Flying Tigers––through guided tours in both hangars and submerse themselves in the virtual world of the museum's combat flight simulator.
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.
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.
As Honolulu’s sole art-house theater, the Doris Duke Theatre is one of the only locations in Hawaii for moviegoers to see current and classic independent and international films. While munching on flavorful snacks such as Hawaii's Best Ever nuts and Yummy-Tummy energy balls inside the intimately sized theater, guests take in documentaries and under-the-radar American films. The space resides at the Honolulu Museum of Art, often serving as an ideal location for film festivals, art lectures, and musical performances.