Thursday, April 26, 2018

polynesian cultural center and pearl harbor


polynesian cultural center
we spent the late afternoon of our final day in hawaii at the pcc in laie. though we didn't have as much time to devote there as we would have liked, it was still one of the kids' favorite destinations. 

my official recommendation is that if you have a full day to spend at the polynesian cultural center, spring for one of the guided tours. we were pretty much a hot mess trying to figure out when to get where for what and feel like our time might have been better managed by a professional. (though that may be a true statement for me, personally, across the board.)



spear throwing in the tahitian village.


bryan actually made a bullseye on this one. try not to let it go to his head.






pearl harbor
a few days earlier, on our drive relocating from waikiki to the north shore, we stopped by the pearl harbor historic sites. our kids are not yet at the ages where they can consume as much history and remembrance and significance as pearl harbor has to offer, so we only scratched the surface while we were there, but it was an important stop for us to make. 

we took the uss arizona memorial tour, which includes a twenty-three minute video covering the basics (and using real footage) of what happened at pearl harbor on december 7, 1941 and its role in WWII, followed by a brief boat ride out to the memorial itself.

the memorial is erected over the sunken uss arizona and the soldiers entombed therein. 





pointing out the parts of the uss arizona that can be seen above water.













Tuesday, April 24, 2018

manoa falls and makapuu lookout

i super heart tropical hikes, and hawaii has some great ones. however, there's quite a bit about exploring island tropics that makes these types of hikes less than conducive for the four and under (or maybe even six and under) set. namely: quick elevation gain (straight up, anyone?), muddy and slippery conditions (make good friends with that red mud, guys), narrow trails, narrow peaks, sheer drop offs, and cliffs plummeting to angry oceans crashing on craggy rocks below. 

so! we found two recommended hikes on oahu that seemed to have the least of all these troubles (comparatively): manoa falls and diamond head. 

we only had time for one and chose manoa falls.


the kids LOVED this one, and it may be one of the only hikes we've ever taken them on where they didn't complain even once. i don't know if it was the unique scenery or the winding trail (which kept them from feeling like they still had forever to go) or the fun slip and slide mud, but they had a great time. 

the above photo was taken while we were walking through a clearing early on in the hike. it started to drizzle light, fast, warm rain, and we saw this beautiful rainbow arch across the gully below (two steps backward is a drop off). with seconds to spare before a downpour, we jumped in front of "our rainbow" (convincing the kids that the light was bending just for us) and snapped a pic. 


the falls.




playing in the roots of a banyan tree at the trail head. 


and while we didn't get in another hike, we did manage a few scenic drives. one was along the southeast coast to makapuu lookout, shown below.



where summer took her first pic in the aloha state.


there's a certain je ne sais quois that i love about this shot.
(caleb is falling, and summer is trying to stabilize him.)


wheeler family album cover, hawaii edition.


Monday, April 23, 2018

hanauma bay

day two saw the wheelers snorkeling at hanauma bay. snorkeling is a favorite beach activity for bryan, and he was excited to have the kids join in. they practiced using their masks and fins in the pool the day before giving the ocean a try.

i also typically enjoy snorkeling, however, if i'm being honest (and what better place for honesty than the internet), the fish were just too close for comfort for me at hanauma bay. 

i snorkeled out a total of maybe four feet before i was inundated with several schools of (beautiful!) fish and started hyperventilating (sort of wish that was hyperbolic. sadly, it isn't).

it's kind of ridiculous to be afraid of fish, i get it. 

and yet, here we are. 

turns out i'm much more of a "look at that pretty fish behind the six-inch glass in an aquarium!" or "look at that pretty fish ten feet or more away from me in the ocean!" kind of girl.

inches from my face and sharing the same two feet of water depth is just not my thing.

everyone else loved it!

ALSO, a seal joined us in the bay. it swam right next to bryan and afton (afton actually hit it with her fin accidentally when it swam behind them) and then beached itself on the shore for a few minutes before heading back out into open water. 

i thought the kids would think that was, like, the coolest thing ever. but since we're being honest here, they were much more captivated by the wild chickens that run around all over hawaii.

(insert shrugging girl emoji here.)











it took caleb awhile to feel comfortable putting his face in the water, but once he did and he saw his first school of fish up close, he was kind of obsessed.






dallin just pretty much enjoyed putting on his mask and fins and having his dad tug him around in the water.

suiting up for her close encounters of the aquatic kind. 


bryan's favorite find of the day was this magnificent sea turtle.


afton heading out with her dad.


summer.














Sunday, April 22, 2018

waikiki

of course! we had to spend the morning of our first day at the iconic oahu beach.

busy and beautiful, with sky-high hotels and resorts that shoot up almost straight from the water, the surf, sand, sunshine, and scenery of waikiki were perfect for easing our crew into their hawaiian adventure (the delicious açaí bowls we had for breakfast via island vintage coffee didn't hurt none either). 

when all was said and done, and we were musing over the very bests from our trip, the kids still reported this their favorite beach. 













it just so happened to be this young man's birthday, too.