Things to do in Oahu
Oahu is called the "Heart of Hawaii," so it's the appropriate home to Hawaii's widest range of popular activities and famous sights. You’ll find an activity and attraction for every inclination, from the North Shore to the Makapuu Lighthouse on the island’s southeast tip. Some of the attractions in Oahu are listed below.
Ka Moana Luau
One of the most kid friendly activities Oahu offers is a luau and there are many to choose from. Native dancers with lavish costumes, lively music and traditional foods for dinner always make for an attention grabbing show, now matter how old you are!
There is no shortage of opinions over which luau is best, but you can’t go wrong taking your family to the Ka Moana Luau that’s located at Sea Life Park. The view of the coastline getting to the park is stunning, so the show essentially starts before you even get there.
Your ticket to the luau also includes a day exploring Sea Life, so if your itinerary allows for it, plan time to come early and explore the animal exhibits before your luau starts. (Note: they don’t always operate on the same schedule and some days one is open and the other is not.)
Kids will be entertained by the coconut tree climber that kicks off the show and the constant flow of new dances and costume changes by the performers. The highlight of the luau is the fire dancer that performs a phenomenal finale to wrap up the show.
The entire evening is fun and fairly informal, making it the perfect luau to bring your family to!
Swim with Sea Turtles
Hawaii is famed for having perfect weather all year round. It is the perfect place to visit in every season. Waikiki is the place you’ll see on all the Hawaii postcards; a sun-drenched white sand beach, bikini-clad tourists sun-baking or swimming in the year-round perfect conditions. It’s also a place with plenty of activities to keep tourist entertained.
One of the coolest things to do in Oahu is swimming with turtles. There are various areas you’re almost guaranteed to see them, one such place is a reef just off Waikiki. Spending an afternoon snorkeling with turtles will be a highlight of any trip to Waikiki.
One of the best and most popular tours is Pink Sails Waikiki. Tours run for 2 hours and all snorkeling equipment is provided along with amazing and experienced guides. This tour is suitable for kids over 7 years old.
The tour departs from the main pier off of Ala Moana Boulevard. Expect to have a full 90 minutes swimming with the famous Hawaii green sea turtles at the inner reef code-named Turtle Canyon. Staff ensure people don’t get too close to the turtles and it’s a completely eco-friendly experience for both humans and the turtles.
All you need to take is your camera (lots of great photo opportunities!) sunscreen, towel, and sense of adventure. Drinks are provided following the tour. The views of the Waikiki hotel strip and Diamond Head in the background are pretty spectacular as well. Check Groupons for some great deals on this tour and you might just nab a bargain!
Dole Pineapple Plantation
One the best things to do in Oahu with kids is to visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Not only is it a fascinating look at one of Hawaii’s biggest exports, but the “Pineapple Experience” is so much fun for kids as it is a place that engages all of the senses.
Even toddlers enjoy the Plantation as most simply adore the Pineapple Express Train. You’ll enjoy the narration as you learn about the pineapples in Hawaii and how the Dole company came to be. Older kids will enjoy the Pineapple Maze, and there is also a guided tour of the garden.
It’s a great way to learn about all kinds of tropical plants that grow there, from which many tropical fruits and favorites like coffee and Cacao grow, not to mention pineapples, of course. The garden is a rainbow of colors kids love as there is much to see and smell.
No visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation would be complete without a taste from the on site Pineapple Grill. Whether you dive in for a pineapple chili dog or stick to a dole whip or pineapple float, you will enjoy a delight with something delicious grown right on site.
Polynesian Cultural Center
For many people, a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-do each time they visit Oahu. It’s certainly one of the most kid friendly things to do in Oahu and you can easily spend an entire day there! Plan to arrive when it opens at 12:45 and as the guides will tell you, keep moving right along if you want to try to see most of it.
The main attractions are divided into six “islands” or villages with each featuring a different native culture found on the Hawaiian islands. There is live entertainment scheduled throughout the afternoon at each village and you’ll want to keep your map and schedule handy so you can plan which one to go to next.
In between shows, visitors can learn how to start a fire without matches, play traditional games, learn to hula and so much more! You can also take a ride in a canoe on the canal to get a better look at each of the villages.