Earth Month Waikiki Aquarium Honolulu

The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii hosted Earth month celebrations on April 10, 2010. Free admission to drew a long line at the 9AM opening. Special interactive educational displays were popular with the keiki. Scientists, educators and volunteers were on hand to talk about sea life, invasive species, conservation and habitats. The messages were conveyed with coloring books, ring toss games and learning puzzles. A seahorse release was a highlight for many attendees.

The Waikiki Aquarium partners with Duke’s Waikiki for educational events.

In addition to the Earth month special events, we visited the ongoing exhibits including Hawaiian monk seal, puffer fish, anemones, and jellyfish. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Doris Dukes Shangra La Honolulu Hawaii

Doris Duke created Shangra La, a home on a five acre patch of ocean front property over looking Diamond Head. The home is decorated with Duke’s passion, Islamic treasures collected from around the world.

Doris Dukes Shangra La Honolulu Hawaii

Doris Dukes Shangra La Honolulu Hawaii

This is the first view we had when the front door opened.

Oh, to live in Shangra La!

So You Think You Know Hawaiian History?

We travel to Hawaii often and likely know more about Hawaiian history than the casual tourist to the islands. Our visits include stops at cultural and history sights important to making Hawaii the diverse location that it is. Then we met Richard Wong, tour guide for Ohana Tours. When our friends at Ohana Tours heard about our love of history and Honolulu they invited us to check out the weekend walking tour of the downtown area. We took our ohana (family) to meet Richard on a recent Sunday morning.

Our adventure began in downtown Honolulu in front of the golden Kamehameha Statue in the heart of the city. You can see this statue on the Hawaii state quarters released as part of the state series. For the next two hours Richard shared history of Hawaiian culture, religion, politics and people. As history buffs ourselves, we were overwhelmed by the detailed stories our guide shared with us. Richard is a gifted story teller. His vivid words and smooth delivery made the tales come alive for us. Drawing on a long career as a Honolulu police officer, he personalized his tales with accounts from his time on the force.

We found another link between us and our guide. To bring the islands to us when we are in the Midwest, we started watching the Hawaii 5-0 television series starting at the pilot. I get chills every time I hear the Hawaii Five-0 theme song playing. The show ran for 12 years from 1968 to 1080 and was filmed in Hawaii. The second floor of the Iolani Palace was the fictional state police headquarters. Many scenes were filmed at the iconic Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki overlooking Duke Kahanamoku’s Lagoon and the Honolulu Marina. Richard worked security during many of these shoots and shared stories of the cast and crew. He even had a few on screen parts.

You can read more about our tour on the www.808talk.com article. Listen to how Richard started out our tour below. If you are  staying in Honolulu over a weekend, check out Ohana Tours for information or reservations.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While many of us just recently learned of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating 1000 miles off the California coast in the North Pacific Gyre, scientists tell us it has been growing steadily since the 1950’s. Birds and animals get entangled in the trash and ingest tempting looking pieces of plastic causing a high concentration of chemicals in our food chain.

Weight is estimated at over 100 million tons spanning an area twice the size of the state of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch even has its own Wikipedia entry. Experts believe 80% of the plastic comes from land based sources while 20% comes from ships.

I delighted in taking my kids snorkeling in Hanauma Bay in Hawaii this month. They were wide-eyed as they watched the colorful tropical fish swim arms length away. At all the beaches we visited in Hawaii we found plastic bags and other trash on the shore and in the water. It’s not just Hawaii beaches. We find garbage everywhere we go. While out hiking or geocaching, we take a bag to collect garbage. In fact, the other week I had to buy a tactical backpack to carry our hiking snacks/water in one compartment while filling up the others with beach trash. Cache in – Trash out.

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Plastic is 100% non biodegradable. It never breaks down.

What do you do about this growing problem? Start locally.
* Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. It’s an easy step.
* Pick up trash you find on your walks
* Reduce your waste. Can you fix it? Repurpose? Do without?

Only humans are to blame for this disaster and we are the only ones who can resolve the situation.

Profile for Diamond Head

Tikis Waikiki Hawaii Tweet with Chris Pirillo

This week, I was invited to meet up with Chris Pirillo tech writer for CNN.com, Traci Toguchi, Ryan Ozawa, Vern Brown and other Hawaii friends.

I write for Vern’s Insider’s Guide to Hawaii travel website 808Talk.com.

We met at Tiki’s Grill overlooking Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Chris Pirillo set up a Ustream live feed and you can watch some of the video below. Many other Hawaii social networking friends were there and it was fun to see them in real life.

The Thrill of the Hunt Geocaching in Hawaii

Have you heard about geocaching?

I discovered I could incorporate several activities I enjoy within a single hobby. I like spending time with my family and friends, solving puzzles, seeking out new adventures, exercising and being environmentally “green”. Geocaching is treasure hunting with a GPS receiver. You can search for geocaches online by zip code and download the coordinates into your hand held GPS unit. You seek out hidden geocaches based on longitude and latitude.

Sometimes the jackpot is as small as a prescription pill container with a piece of paper rolled up inside so you can log your visit. Some containers are so tiny; you need to bring your own pencil. Other containers are as large as a Tupperware food saver or an army surplus ammunition box filled with trinkets. Our geocaching equipment includes a bag of tchotchkes that we swap based on the theme of the geocache.

For me though, the fun is not in finding the treasure, but the thrill of the hunt. We geocache while in Hawaii as an activity to challenge our brain and seek out new adventures.

This is a hobby the both family and friends can participate in. My husband and I often take others with us to introduce them to the hobby. We took keiki with us to the Honolulu Zoo to find their first cache. When we return to the island, their first question for us is “Are you going to go geocaching?” Other times we need subject matter expertise. One of the geocaches in the North Shore, Hawaii required solving a puzzle to figure out the coordinates. Ten car logos were pictured from different auto manufactures around the world. After identifying the car model and country of origin, the digits of the location could be determined. I recruited a couple of world traveling gear heads to help figure out that one out.

Williams Family geocaching at the Honolulu Zoo

Williams Family geocaching at the Honolulu Zoo

While geocaching we learn about local history. A geocache is hidden on the estate of the last reigning Hawaiian monarch, Queen Lydia Liliuokalani. The site overlooks the drainage canal built to convert water logged taro fields into dry land becoming Waikiki.

A multi-stage geocache requires several stops. At each site you visit, you find clues to identify the next location. We learned about local leaders during a 5 stage history tour to five statues along Waikiki. Each statue had a plaque which told a story. There is Father Damien, who came from Belgium, to Hawaii in 1864. He devoted the rest of his life to the leper settlement on the island of Molokai before succumbing to the disease himself. He has been nominated for sainthood. During the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy led by U.S. business men, Princess Kaiulani spearheaded a campaign to restore the throne. Beloved native son, Duke Kahanamoku, born of Hawaiian royalty, was a swimming sensation earning Five Olympic medals. “The Duke”, starred in Hollywood movies and is known as “The father of modern surfing.”

You can get a good workout in a day hiking up Diamond Head, the extinct volcano which stands at the east end of Waikiki. If you have comfy shoes, cache your way around the volcano on foot enjoying a heart healthy work out and spectacular views of the Pacific, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

Get away from the crowds and cache in Kailua. There are finds along both the busy and the quiet parts of the beach. Don’t forget your sunscreen and snorkel gear. You’ll be hungry after a day of swimming and caching. Check out the yummy handmade cookie store in town for a snack.

When you are on Oahu, you don’t have to go far to find these treasures. There are hundreds of local finds. From the crowded pedestrian malls of Chinatown to the top of Diamond Head to the shores of Kailua, there is a cache for every interest and ability.

While we are getting our exercise, learning about the area and catching up with friends and family, we also pick up trash. We carry in a couple of empty garbage bags to snatch up any litter we spy while we are out. This is referred to as “cache in, trash out”.

You can learn more about the hobby at geocaching.com. I enjoy the opportunity to combine time with my family, brain exercise, and physical activity all in one hobby. If you like history, culture and the great outdoors, you should give geocaching a try.

Profile for Diamond Head

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