At Bay View Mini-Putt and Zipline, there are two types of people: Pali People and LikeLike People. Luckily, the mini-putt outpost maintains two corresponding courses. The Pali course gives folks a chance to stretch their legs, enjoy a nice walk, and take in a leisurely game of mini-golf. It's type-A brother, the LikeLike course, refuses to go in for any of that nonsense, preferring instead to challenge the pants off players with everything from steep banked walls, multi-level fairways, and faux sand traps. Of course, people can skip the links altogether and head for the trees on Bay View's new zipline that sends guests soaring through the trees at up to 25 miles per hour.
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.
Look up “paradise” in the dictionary and you’d probably find a picture of beautiful Kapiolani Park. Created by King Kalakaua in the 1870s, the views are indeed majestic. The banyan trees are regal and many of the trees within the park are more than 100 years old. There is a lot going on here – it is the historic site of Diamond Head, the famous Kodak Hula Show and the 42-acre Honolulu Zoo. The Royal Hawaiian Band provides free concerts each Sunday afternoon in the park’s bandstand. You can bring your picnic fixings and enjoy the music. For the athletically inclined there are tennis courts, soccer fields, a marathon course and an archery range. Visit at night when things are quiet – Kapiolani Park is a place where you can reflect on the beauty that is Hawaii.
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 story of the Ionali Palace is rich in drama and makes many historical novels look tame. After the original palace was razed because of severe termite damage, the second Ionali Palace that stands today was completed in 1882. Only King Kalākaua and Queen Lili’uokalani governed from the palace. The monarchy was overthrown in 1893 and by 1898 the U.S. flag flew over the palace. The only royal palace now part of the United States, it has been painstakingly restored and is located in downtown Honolulu. The palace is open Monday – Saturday (closed Sunday). There are two tour options – a docent-led tour and a guided audio tour which are 60 – 90 in length. Reservations are required and ticket purchase must be made at the Iolani Barracks.