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.
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.
An ideal spot for the whole family to get active, The Groove's facilities feature a range of activities for all ages. Kids as young as 8 can buckle up during go-kart races, which last about 8 minutes and zip around a custom-designed track. Those seeking something a little slower-paced can climb into the party bike, a people-powered trolley that is led around the city by guides for bar crawls, local tours, or just to prove to cars that we don't need them.
Before opening their local shop for underwater adventurers and tourists, The Snorkel Store's founders spent months field-testing hundreds of different snorkel sets for comfort, effectiveness, visibility, and durability. Thanks to their tireless research and firsthand experience, the snorkel specialists equip amateurs and avid swimmers alike with high-end silicone masks, bodyboards, and fins for exploring the beautiful below-sea-level scenery of Maui.
On the windward side of Oahu, the majestic Mokulau Islands embellish the sun-drenched horizon that faces Kailua, a beach town nestled directly below the Koolau Mountains. Here the aptly named Windward Watersports makes its home, under the direction of Jeff Tobias, a professional kitesurfer who helped to pioneer the sport locally. He and his staff leave the region's fragile ecosystem undisturbed as they lead passengers in exploring it via kayak, kiteboard, standup paddleboard, or surfboard. Patrons can rent the vessels for self-guided adventures into a bay teeming with as many sea turtles as a marine biologist's bathtub, or follow guides on kayak tours to surrounding points of natural splendor such as the "Mokes," only 45 minutes away. Strategically located, Windward Sports takes advantage of year-round trade winds and a temperature perpetually hovering around 80 degrees. Kailua serves as the ideal spot for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons. Jeff and his sporty employees craft lessons that cater to all abilities and focus on safe, fun recreation atop frothy crests.