Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Oahu: Waimea Valley

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May 6, 2014

Visit Oahu: Waimea Valley

Many people may know Waimea Valley for its popular Waimea Falls, but as I found out from a recent visit there with my family, it is also tremendously significant in preserving Hawaii's history and in helping to preserve cultural and natural resources.

Highlights of Our Hosted Visit
The mana (life force) of Waimea Valley was evident everywhere we looked. 

Immediately we saw a beautiful pond, in which the endangered `Alae `Ula (Hawaiian Moorehen) was scurrying along with its young.

`Alae `Ula
We saw many other birds throughout Waimea Valley, such as the beautiful pikake, or peacock, and thanks to a handy Bird Identification Guide given out at the ticket booth, my kids had a lot of fun identifying birds we'd see.
Pikake
As we continued to walk the valley's 3/4 mile path to the well-known Waimea Falls (golf cart shuttle transportation can be purchased), we saw hundreds and hundreds of beautiful native and exotic plants and flowers (Waimea Valley is home to over 5000 plants).

I don't ever recall seeing so much natural beauty in one place before! 


Cannonball tree

Thousands of plants and flowers in so many colors

Kalo
Throughout Waimea Valley we also saw many cultural sites, such as the Pa Holoholona (Animal Pens), Pohaku `Aumakua (Guardian Spirit Rock), and Ku`ula Stones (Fishing Shrine).
Pa Holoholona

Pohaku `Aumakua

Ku`ula Stones
It was also so intriguing to see the sacred Hale O Lono Heiau (located near the parking lot).  The heiau, a temple erected to capture spiritual power, was dedicated to Lono, god of agriculture, fertility, peace and music.  
Hale O Lono Heiau
At the end of Waimea Valley's main path is the beautiful Waimea Falls.
Waimea Falls (aka Waihi Falls)

Lots of people were swimming, but our family was content viewing the falls from the path.

There is simply so much to see and do at Waimea Valley.  Visitors can play Hawaiian games, learn the hula, learn to play Hawaiian instruments, take guided walks, and so much more!

Konane (Hawaiian Checkers)

We were there for about half the day, but you could easily spend an entire day at Waimea Valley - perusing the botanical collections, walking the numerous paths, and learning about Hawaii's past. 

Dining
On site is Na Mea Ono Snack Bar (two locations - one before the front entrance and one closer to the falls).  We took a break at the one near the falls to indulge in some cool treats.
Mexican Chocolate Ono Pop

Uncle's North Shore Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwich - Double Dark Chocolate Ice Cream on Double Chocolate Cookies
The Proud Peacock restaurant is also set to open up soon!

Our Experience Visiting with a Special-Needs Child
My oldest son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and although I know kids on the spectrum all behave and react differently in various environments, I always try to share our personal experience when visiting attractions.

Immediately upon entering we made sure my son was given a map since he loves maps.

Because Waimea Valley is so large, we did have issues with him wandering off and wanting to go on different paths, and our efforts to keep him from wandering resulted in a few meltdowns. To try and keep him focused and engaged, we had him read the various plant labels, and we took breaks when needed.

There are several places to sit around Waimea Valley for rest breaks, and there is also seating under covered areas, which would have come in very handy if it rained (my son has sensory issues with rain).

My son enjoyed seeing so many different colorful flowers, and he especially loved the Kauhale, or the traditional Hawaiian living site.
Kauhale
Since my son loves to walk around and explore, he truly enjoyed Waimea Valley and all that there was to see and do.

Final Thoughts
We had an incredible time at Waimea Valley.

I am so happy my children were able to get a glimpse of Hawaii's past, and that we were able to walk through such a significant part of Hawaii's history, while experiencing the abundant natural wonders. 

Waimea Valley is educational, historical, and a beautiful reflection of the wonders of Hawaii.


Waimea Valley
9-864 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 638-7766

Click here for hours and admission prices (Kama`aina and Military discounts available.
 
Thank you to Waimea Valley for hosting our visit.

1 comment:

  1. When we went the waterfall was closed! We had such a great time tho. I absolutely loved this place. It is beyond beautiful!

    ReplyDelete

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