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.
It’s common to see TRX suspension bands wrapped around the palm trees on the beach near Ala Moana Boulevard. The site is home to SOHI Fitness’ outdoor boot camps, which are run by owner and ACE-certified personal trainer Megan Clark, who has a degree in kinesiology and is the only trainer in Hawaii able to certify military personnel as TRX instructors, and her team of experienced trainers. To keep their clients engaged during their indoor and outdoor boot camps, pyramid workouts, and personal-training sessions, they rely on the TRX suspension-training system’s array of exercises, as well as sports drills. These may include sandbag lifting, agility-ladder running, and plyometrics.
Hawaii’s lush beauty is too abundant to be experienced solely on foot, which is why Botanical World offers up-close-and-personal views of the Big Island's meticulously kept botanical gardens with services including ziplines and Segway tours. Segway riders speed past swaths of exotic plants, trees, and scenic waterfalls as they explore the garden's meandering pathways during self-guided or guide-guided tours. Elevated zipline trips, meanwhile, send guests soaring over the Hanapueo Streams falls, showing off trees’ receding hairlines as well as stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Mauna Kea volcano.
Elsewhere in the garden, guests can explore the arboretum, which houses a sampling of Hawaii's vast array of trees, whereas the paved quarter-mile Rainbow Walk contains a cactus garden, perennial plants, and a wall of orchids. Adventurous young ones can attempt to navigate the world's second-largest permanently-planted maze, covering a space as large as a football field.
Windward Watersports, home to one of the only certified kiteboarding schools on Oahu and professional kiteboarder Jeff Tobias, feeds wave-hungry visitors a steady diet of water-sport thrills on kiteboards, sea kayaks, and surfboards. Beginners steam toward an off-shore sandbar to safely launch into a kiteboard lesson with a certified instructor on a two-way radio helping novices navigate the warm crystal waters and grasp the kiteboarding basics, such as how to set up a four-line inflatable kite, kite theory and the wind window, and how to ensure heirloom swimsuits remain in the family using the double-knot technique. Waterbugs wishing to explore the rolling spray via the self-guided kayak eco-tour will take in a host of native coral, birds, turtles, and if lucky, a glimpse of the rare endangered monk seal. Kayak rental also includes paddle, safety vest, and the combination to Davy Jones' locker.
Designed to recreate Hawaii's native volcanic rock and its thrilling climbs, a multitude of climbing surfaces erupt throughout Volcanic Rock Gym's 3,000 square feet. From 16 feet in the air, a large top-out boulder hangs over an expanse of traversing walls, campus boards, and safety mats. Traditionalists can scale a vertical wall with the reassurance of a physical anchor on the top-rope routes, and rebellious climbers and mountain-goat impersonators can attempt the crack-climbing walls and bouldering façades. In addition, curious spelunkers can explore the bouldering cave, negotiating its ceiling holds and stubborn bats to emerge back in the gym from a massive overhang. Climbing routes change every month to present new climbing challenges and dissuade cheaters from memorizing all the foothold nibs before testing their climbing prowess.
Sequestered between the rolling waves of the South Pacific and the primordial beauty of Kahana State Park’s rainforests, Kualoa Ranch is the Platonic ideal of paradise. There, experienced guides lead expeditions into 4,000 acres of serene valleys and hills, stopping by famed movie sites from Jurassic Park or LOST, peering into an 800-year-old fishpond, and stopping horses or ATVs so that explorers can soak up the expansive views of southern O'ahu. Even the ranch itself is magnificent. Pavilions serve as pristine settings for guests to celebrate or yell at the sunset, nestled at the bottom of lush green mountains and on the edge of cliffs that overlook the tranquil waters of Kane'ohe Bay. Across that glimmering surface, a private, white-sand beach where guests sunbathe and lounge rests among mangroves and hau trees.
Regardless of their exact coordinates, the Ranch’s visitors experience Kualoa's rich history firsthand. A prime example of the benefits of continued preservation, Kualoa has been everything from a family getaway to a World War II airstrip, but the owners have always sought to maintain the beauty that set it apart. The tradition continues today, as employees participate in community-work projects focused on restoration, taro planting, and fostering a sense of Hawaiian pride for every visitor.
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