We spent a glorious week in Oahu visiting family and enjoying a little warmth during this cold season. It's been almost 5 years since PR and I have been to Hawaii, and it's a little different when you have children with you- but still wonderful.
We enjoyed the Paradise Cove Luau- complete with the opportunity to see and hold parrots, take a canoe ride, make leis, and watch the roasted pig be lifted from the underground pit (I could have missed that part.) The food was okay, but actual show was stellar- hula dancers, fire jugglers (Owen's favorite part), the whole nine yards. I highly recommend it to anyone comparing luau shows. We also hiked Manoa falls- not quite 1 mile each way. The kids did pretty well, it was very scenic and the falls were beautiful. We did get rained on and soaking wet with mud...but it was all in the fun of the adventure. My sister in law also let us know about the Hilton Rainbow, which has just recently opened and has African penguins, flamingos, turtles, a big koi pond, and a man made lagoon perfect for families. It's just off the beach, stocked with tiny fish for the kiddos to enjoy, and open to the public. We were staying at the Hale Koa...it has a great kiddie pool which the kids enjoyed almost every day. It's in walking distance to the mall and all the great restaurants...including the newly opened PF Changs (to my delight!) The food wasn't quite on par with most other PF Changs, but really...can you complain? You're in Hawaii! We also dined at California Pizza Kitchen, which offered 20% off your bill if you asked for the discount when being seated. (We ate there for dinner, lunch, and ordered take out once and were given the discount in all cases.) The prices are higher at all restaurants than their other chains just because you're in Hawaii, so I guess the 20% was an incentive...and it worked on us! FYI- the kids .99 cent hot fudge sundae was ENORMOUS!!! Of course, I tried to enjoy as much seafood and fresh pineapple as possible. Yum. I was a bit disapointed, however, when the woman at the Dole Plantation picked out a $6 pineapple for me and I when I cut into it, it was bruised and past its prime. Thanks alot! The train ride was a big hit with the kids, and I could eat a Dole "WHIP" every single day of my life, so I won't hold it against them.
Other helpful travel tidbits...we went to the store and stocked up on breakfast stuff, juice boxes, and snacks to save and then were able to splurge on ice creams, shaved ice (very big in Hawaii), and seafood for dinner.
Now we're back to the cold. 10 Degrees to be exact. TEN! (And that's during the day.) Brrr.