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.
Since 1989, Dolphins and You has worked to foster interspecies understanding in the open seas. The staff members all carry a deep respect and reverence for dolphins, which they impart on visitors who witness these intelligence creatures firsthand on the popular dolphin swim tour. Tours include everything from a traditional Hawaiian ceremony and song to swimming with sea turtles and learning the hula.
Island Treasures works to bedeck bare walls, shelves, and laser-guarded pedestals around the area with original artwork from about 125 local artisans. Add an air of culture to a home by hanging a few 4”x6” paintings ($20) from a ceiling fan, or add some prismatic pizazz to the den, bedroom, or teleportation chamber with a matted print from one of dozens of artists ($10–$25). Store explorers will also find toys, books, one-of-a-kind knick-knacks, and fashionable accessories. Beaded bracelets and necklaces ($8–$20) from the Island Treasures jewelry chest improve wardrobes, and scented sachets ($8 each) freshen any area with the smell of flowers. Guests can use aloha-print napkins to sop up spilled sauce at a luau ($16) or decorate a coffee table with a 48-inch Hawaiian-print table runner ($24). Like a mad scientist building a hot-rod Frankenstein’s monster, the store adds new items on a weekly basis.
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 water churns along the length of The Treasure Seeker, as the 83-foot galleon slices its way out of storybook pages and into the waters of Waikiki. Crewed by a team of salty dogs, the ship specializes in pirate-themed cruises, with other boats sometimes appearing to do water-cannon battle. Passengers man the enormous squirt guns to help fend off these foes.
The crew of The Treasure Seeker also conducts more adult-oriented excursions, including evening cruises that adopt a club-like feel complete with flashing lights, music, and BYOB adult beverages. Still clad in their pirate garb, the crew leads a bit of themed skullduggery or joins in a dance or two. After de-boarding and becoming a landlubber once more, revelers can visit The Groove Hawaii for go-karting, pizza, and other pirate-free fun.
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.