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CLIMB Works Keana Farms Zipline

I don’t know about you, but when I get a chance to do something cool with my kids, I jump at it! In this case, ziplining with my daughter, I literally did jump… Many times! Fortunately, I was well harnessed in my zipline gear.

The CLIMB Works tour takes about 3 hours and includes an ATV ride on the way to some breathtaking views of the North Shore.

CLIMB Works is a class act. Everything about their facility was top notch. I’m not a couch potato, but I’m not “Mr. Outdoors” either and I had no problem whatsoever*.

The construction of the zipline towers was first rate. I never felt nervous about my safety. In addition, the staff was amazing. They were the right blend of funny and serious. They were also great to share about the history of the surrounding “working farm”, as well as great care that was taken to engineer and construct the zipline runs without impacting the grounds.

My daughter and I were part of a group of 8 and varied in age and experience. It was unanimous, everyone had an amazing time!

I did a quick survey of the group and several had previously done zipline at other locations and to a person all agreed that CLIMB Works is an A+ activity.

Personally, I went on a zipline tour in Cancun, Mexico and I would rate CLIMB Works as significantly better. So if you’ve always wanted to try ziplining, this is the place!

*Note: prior to participating in this activity, you should review the safety information, fitness level recommendations, and participation requirements on the Climbworks website.

Climbworks Zipline Hawaii
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Anahulu’s Shaved Ice at Tropical Rush

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My first trip to Hawaii was on Maui in 1994 and therefore, my first Hawaiian shaved ice was at Toby’s Shaved Ice. It was awesome! It became a daily event for our group. Since then no Hawaiian vacation is complete without a large size shaved ice.

Recently I came across Anahulu’s Shaved Ice by the old bridge over the Anahulu River at Tropical Rush. I’ve been several times and have rarely waited in line despite the low prices.

Jessica from Virginia (see photo) delivered a home run and I left happy! Yes, I literally ate that whole thing and only got a little bit on my swimming trunks!

Tropical Rush has a great clothing selection, gifts galore and rentals of snorkel, sup, kayak, surf board, and body/boogie boards.

Anahulu’s Shaved Ice is a definite cool stop to add to your itinerary

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Hawaii Shark Encounters

This experience flat out rocked. It was a picture perfect day heading out from the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor on the North Shore of Oahu. During the 25 minute ride to the diving site, while soaking up the view of the shoreline, I said to one of my fellow tour members that “this sure beats working” and she replied, “You are working!”

Did I say this was awesome?

We arrived at the shark cage location and the sharks began to gather upon hearing the boat. This took me back to the first time I understood that there was such a thing as a shark cage in 1975 while watching the movie Jaws. If you are curious, check out this clip from the movie.

Our guides from Hawaii Shark Encounters, Richard and Kaleo were great at telling us all about the history of the tour and important safety information while interspersing some fun.

The screen capture above is from the optional Go Pro camera I rented during the tour. Can you believe it?

I was able to go down into the water in the cage and with snorkel gear and see sharks in the ocean. Amazing doesn’t begin to explain the experience.

Check out the website link on Seek Spot and go to the Hawaii Shark Encounters website. There is a lot of great information and photos.

As Suzanne from Denton, Texas came out of the water she exclaimed that this tour was “the best money I’ve spent” during her week on Oahu.

Hawaii Shark Encounters tour gets high marks for the tour itself but also for fun, safety and ease of reservations.

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Hiking Waimea Valley

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No wonder people love to come here for special events such as weddings, romantic strolls, or other family gatherings.

In all my fitness tracker indicated about 4500 steps on the round trip. There are also plenty of benches and other places to stop and rest and just absorb the beauty of nature.

The big payoff of course is at the end of the path which is the Waimea waterfall. Free life vests are required. See me to the right. How refreshing!

Once you return there is a great gift shop, a snack bar and for those wanting more of a sit down meal, The Proud Peacock restaurant offers an excellent menu at reasonable prices.

Admission prices are around $16 for adults and $12 for children. It was absolutely worth it. Note, they also offer those with walking difficulties a golf cart like trolley for an additional fee. If nature and activity is a priority for you, Waimea Valley is definitely a must do!

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Monthly Hawaiian Music Series

In January 2016, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority has organized the Ahamele as part of the Monthly Hawaiian Music Series. This is a FREE concert event held on the main lawn of historic Waimea Valley. The Ahamele will feature live entertainment from the Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band, Ryan Tang, Mokuleia, The Peter Apo Band and Jerry Santos & friends. This is just one of the many events that will be held at Waimea Valley for all to enjoy.

Event: ‘Ahamele: Monthly Hawaiian Music Series
Date: January 30, 2016 12n – 5pm
Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-7766
www.waimeavalley.net
Cost: FREE

Lineup:
Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band
Ryan Tang & Ku‘uipo Kumukahi
Mokuleia
The Peter Apo Band
Jerry Santos and Friends

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Wahi Pana (storied place)

Wahi Pana (storied place)

Waimea Valley is a rich and culturally significant wahi pana (storied place) with more than 700 years of Hawaiian history.

Hi`ipaka LLC manages Waimea Valley with a mission to preserve and perpetuate the human cultural and natural resources through stewardship for future generations. Hi`ipaka’s work includes educating all who visit the Valley about the history of this special place as well as Hawaiian culture.

Music and dance is an important part of Hawaiian culture and over the past three years the Waimea Valley Summer Concert Series has provided enjoyment and pleasure for many people. The series includes concerts in the months of June, July and August and was established to help our local community members and visitors to reconnect with the Valley to enjoy its many treasures as well as supporting the up and coming musicians in the community. Check out www.waimeavalley.net for additional information.

Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-7766
www.waimeavalley.net

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HALLOWEEN HAWAIIAN STYLE

The fun begins well before trick-or-treating in Hawaii with many activities to choose from the weekend prior to Halloween. Family activities and adventurous date ideas to follow…

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YEEHAW

Gunstock Fall Fun Day at Gunstock Ranch in Kahuku on Oahu’s North Shore will take place on Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ($10 children; $5 adults). The horses will be dressed up for Halloween ready to take keiki for a pony ride. There will also be a hayride and petting zoo as well as the free games and contests. Outside vendors will be selling food and offering additional activities that the kids will love. See more about Fall Fun Day here: http://gunstockranch.com/events/fallfunday/

 

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Sport your Halloween costume to Hawaii’s one and only waterpark at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii on Saturday, October 24, and the first 250 kids (ages 3 – 12) at the door before 11:30 a.m. in their Halloween costumes will get in FREE! Children 2 years old & under are always FREE and adults can receive 50 percent off regular admission by donating 2 grocery bags full of gently used clothing at any ticket window. These goods collected will be donated to the United Cerebral Palsy Association. Wet’n’Wild is open from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. and one winning keiki with the best original costume will be chosen that morning to be awarded a 2016 Gold Season Pass! See more about Kids Free Admission Day at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii here: www.wetnwildhawaii.com

 

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PUMPTASTIC

Spend a day at Aloun Farms picking the perfect pumpkin for the 15th Annual Pumpkin Festival October 24-25 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy a free hayride, pick other crops like corn and sunflowers, and peruse the farmer’s market. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day and local food vendors will be plentiful! See more about the pumpkin picking here: http://alounfarms.com

 

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Did you know that Ireland is typically known as the birthplace of Halloween? For those who are kid-free, pay homage to Irish tradition in both the holiday spirit and love of libations at Hallowballoo on Saturday, October 31, a multi-event street festival in Chinatown with the main stage at the Hawaii State Art Museum. A free trolley service will run from Alakea to Nuuanu streets from 8 – 11 p.m. The street festival and Hallowbaloo Ball are from 5:30 -10 p.m. while Club Hallowbaloo will go until 2 a.m. at NEXTDOOR, Bar 35, Downbeat Lounge, Manifest, Fresh Cafe, The ARTS at Marks Garage, Scarlet Honolulu and Square Barrels. See more about Hallowballoo festivities here: http://hallowbaloo.com/2015/

 

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Kitesurfing on Oahu…

Oahu, the birthplace of surfing, has also given rise to a new ocean sport which has quickly gained popularity. Kitesurfing, also known to some as kiteboarding, is a way of combining the sports of surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, and even gymnastics! Requiring skill, courage, endurance, and agility, kitesurfing is an ocean extreme sport which is both challenging and exhilarating.

There are lots of places on Oahu that will rent you equipment and give you lessons. Novices can learn the basics pretty quickly, but the experienced kitesurfer can go up to 40 mph, as they skim across the water, and can launch over 30 feet into the air, doing flips and other acrobatics!

Basically, a surfer is pulled across the water holding onto ropes attached to a big kite, similar to those used in paragliding, while standing on a surfboard. You don’t need waves but you do need wind and Oahu has some spots that are a kitesurfer’s dream!

Kailua, on Oahu’s windward coast, draws kitesurfers from around the world. It’s sandy beaches, warm waters, and nearly constant trade winds are the perfect formula. Oahu’s North Shore also offers some popular spots such as Sunset and Mokuleia Beaches, but the waves there are often much bigger and the action is for experienced wave riders only!

The wonderful thing about kitesurfing is that you don’t have to actually get out in the ocean and do it to enjoy it! You may want to just relax on the beach while you watch the graceful kites, with their beautiful bright colors against the blue of sky and sea, and the amazing acrobatic leaps of the kitesurfers. It is a colorful and impressive show so be sure to check out the sport of kitesurfing on Oahu, and maybe even give it a try!

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Green Sea Turtle

Respecting the Honu (Sea Turtles)

Honu is the Hawaiian word for turtle and while visiting here on Oahu, you will most likely encounter a turtle or two. Green Sea Turtles (and also Hawksbill Sea Turtles) can be frequently observed in the waters around our islands or basking in the sun on their favorite beaches. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, these shy and gentle giants live and thrive in the clean waters of Hawaii where they are now protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

This means there are rules in place which must be understood and respected. While turtles may appear friendly or curious, it is important to keep your distance and not to try to feed or “pet” them. If you see a Honu, enjoying the warm sun and sand of the beach, it is perfectly fine to take their picture, as long as you allow a buffer zone of at least 6-8 feet.

At certain times of the year turtles will also come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand, or “nest”. If you are lucky enough to be able to observe this occurrence, be aware that the lawful distance to keep from a nesting turtle is at least 30 feet. The public is also advised not to touch, pick up, “assist”, or harm the turtle hatchlings, as they must crawl out of their shells and down to the ocean on their own. This is nature’s way of regulating their internal navigational compass, which is necessary for their survival!

The Hawaiian Sea Turtles are innocent and beautiful animals, and they are very photogenic too! So have those cameras ready and when you spot a turtle, click away! Check out Oahu Photography Tours to take a tour with a pro and capture stunning images of these majestic creatures!

 

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Take a Listen…to the Royal Hawaiian Band!

Photo credit: thtbln / Foter / CC BY-SA

Whether you are visiting or you are blessed to call Oahu your home, you are missing a real treat if you have not been to at least one performance of the one and only Royal Hawaiian Band!

Founded by King Kamehameha III, in 1836, during Hawaii’s monarchy, this band has been entertaining with beautiful music for over 175 years. There have been over 20 band leaders during this time but Prussian band leader Henri Berger one of the most famous. He introduced Hawaii to the European classics, and also brought global prominence and attention to the band and to Hawaii. He and King Kalakaua collaborated to produce the song Hawai’i Pono’i which is still sung today as Hawaii’s official state anthem (and is sung in Hawaiian).

The present band leader is Clarke Bright and you can watch and listen to the Royal Hawaiian Band for free every Friday at the I’olani Palace Bandstand from 12-1, or on Sundays at Kapi’olani Park Bandstand from 2-3.

The band performs favorite songs of Hawai’i as well as songs from all over the world. You will hear marches, pop music, Broadway tunes, and even music from cartoons to tickle the fancy of the children. At the close of every performance they play Aloha O’e which is a famous song written by Queen Lili’uokalani herself.

Looking impressive in their Royal uniforms, this band is the oldest full-time municipal band in the United States and the only one with a royal legacy! If you have the chance, don’t miss the opportunity to treat yourself, lift your spirits, relax and give a listen to the Royal Hawaiian Band!

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