I realize it’s been weeks since my last post, but I thought I should make good on part two of my Hawaii adventure.
We spent a lot of time in the water, but we did fit in some land adventures too. One such adventure was Kualoa Ranch. Kualoa Ranch is a beautiful, massive ranch with many, many options. We did their movie sites tour.
They load everyone up on a school bus and take you to a bunker filled with movie and tv memorabilia from all the things filmed there. From there they take you around the Ranch, spotting out specific scenes from movies. You can have your picture taken at Jurassic Park or see a giant footstep from the 90s Godzilla. Other movies and tv shows filmed there included Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Hawaii Five O, Pearl Harbor, Mighty Joe Young, and Lost [one of my personal favorites].
The ranch itself is also beautiful. It was interesting hear the guide explain everything that goes on there and the history behind it. In addition to hosting movies and tours, they have some livestock and grow quite a few things. Our guide also mentioned that sometimes the staff gets to take part in the movie making. He had been an extra in Hawaii Five-O a few times. And he once meet Hurley from Lost and had dinner with him, which is arguably one of the best Lost cast members to have dinner with. Basically this means I had to respect him, despite his constant attempts at encouraging audience participation.
We also spent a day at Pearl Harbor. Here are some practical things we learned about making this visit:
- Book in advance! (around 2 months)
- Book directly through the park.
- Set aside plenty of time. This will take you all day.
The USS Missouri comes with free guided tours and this ended up being one of my favorite parts. We had a great tour guide, Fallon, and she seemed to know everything there was to know about the ship. We explored a bit on our own too.
I thought the visit to the USS Arizona was one of the most powerful sites we got to visit. They show a film about everything that happened there before you board the shuttle to the memorial. After the film everyone is pretty quiet and tries to stay that way when they get to the memorial. We saw one family bring a flag to raise.
We also spent some time in the Pacific Aviation Museum.
One of the best things we did on the trip was a dolphin cruise with Dolphins and You. We got on a boat with a few other groups [thankfully not a big group] and they took us out to where they’d heard some dolphin pods were swimming. On the way there they lead us in a Hawaiian song/chant for good luck in seeing dolphins. We did see dolphins but I’m pretty sure our chant performance had nothing to do with it. It was not a pretty sounding song by the time we were done with it, haha.
Once we found the dolphins we hopped in the water with our snorkeling gear and followed them around for a while. We could see them swimming in circles below us. Our guide told us this was most likely because the dolphins were resting or sleeping. Apparently dolphins only sleep with half of their brain at a time so they can always be swimming. Two dolphins left the group and swam up towards us, really close to my parents.
After the dolphins left we hopped back on the boat and headed to a reef area. They cut the engine and we hung out over here for awhile. There was good snorkeling and they had a bunch of water toys we could mess around with. Gabby and my Dad both tried the paddle board and it was harder than it looks! My Dad was probably the best at it and managed to get up a few times. There was also an inflatable slide and a water kayak. After we were done we munched on burgers while our crew performed a Hawaiian dance for us. The girl on our crew was especially good and we loved seeing her performance. The photographer on the boat was a free diver and it was amazing to see how long she could hold her breath and how deep she could get. The captain had some Hollywood experience and was an extra in Jurassic World [he was one of the security crew members sent out after the dinosaurs]. The whole crew was friendly and nice the entire time. They sent us off with macedemia nut hershey kisses as we left the boat.
We also attended church during our visit and on our last day there the members sang a beautiful Hawaiian send off to a missionary leaving their ward. There was also a member with an amazing voice who gave the prayer! We were all around impressed.
It seems wrong to talk about this trip and not talk about the food! There were so many options to try. Everyone you talked to had a shrimp stand recommendation. We ended up at Romys and loved it.
Our apartment was walking distance from Ted’s bakery [Which I swore I took a picture of, but oh well] and loved going down there for breakfast. We also spent a lot of time at Kahuku Grill.
We also tried a few desserts. We picked up some Ono Yo frozen yogurt.
And of course we couldn’t pass up some shaved ice. Somehow it was just better there.
On our last day there my Mom, Dad, and I went on a short hike [more like a long stroll, which is my favorite kind of hike] to Waimea Falls. This “hike” was basically walking through a botanical garden of sorts. There were different trees and plants everywhere. At the end you enjoy the waterfall [lifejackets required] and head back.
It was an amazing trip, so of course, it went by too fast. I’m grateful that I got to spend time with my family in such a beautiful place. Who knows, maybe we’ll be back someday!
Currently: Loving my new bedspread [It’s full of blues and pinks]. Except for the fact that I’m now feeling inspired to redo my whole room, haha! I’ll have to take it one step at a time.