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.
Cool, onshore breezes swirl through the banyan trees and botanical gardens that frame Koko Crater Stables, a spacious facility nestled in the crater of a dormant volcano. Head trainer Piet Mathews, who has more than 30 years of experience tucked under his saddle, leads the center's staff, which draws on more than 20 years of equestrian know-how to conduct trail rides, lessons, and camps. In addition to helping riders to earn their spurs, Koko Crater Stables provides boarding services that include bedding, watering, and daily stall cleanings, ensuring four-legged lodgers remain comfortable and aren't tempted to tunnel out and begin new lives as bankers.
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.
The scorching Arizona sun beats down on Adobe Dam Regional Park, but visitors to Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix keep cool as they splash throughout more than 30 waterslides and attractions. The 35-acre facility is home to an abundance of adrenaline-pumping rides—including a towering tandem water coaster, a spiraling 45-foot funnel, and a four-story six-tube speedway—to contrast its more laid-back attractions, including an interactive playground and 700,000-gallon wave pool. The junior water park accommodates younger guests with kid-friendly funnels, rivers, and racing slides. Food and beverage carts traverse the grounds, while an onsite restaurant, cafes, and pubs fuel fun with full meals, snacks, and drinks. To ensure guest safety, a vigilant staff of lifeguards patrols the park and will swiftly kick out sharks who've shrewdly disguised themselves in bikinis and sun hats.
Natural bamboo and wood fences surround the miniature fairways of Jungle River Mini Golf, whose aptly named course pits putters against a slew of jungle-themed obstacles. Like rainforest explorers, groups of golfers hack through the wild landscape, forgoing machetes for colorful putters or spring-loaded spatulas sized to accommodate guests of all ages. Monkeypod trees, palms, crotons, and banana plants drape over the course, framing many attractions including sculptures of friendly gorillas and dinosaurs emerging from tar pits. The course also features large bridges and waterfalls that meander throughout to create sharp turns and contoured greens.