This is a museum for adults and kids alike. For the adults: the original Hawaiian Hall, built in 1889 to house the collection of Hawaiian artifacts and royal family heirlooms of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the exhibits, spread out over three floors, give the most complete sense of how ancient native Hawaiians lived. On display are carvings representing Hawaiian gods and the personal effects of Hawaiian royalty, including a feathered cape worn by Kamehameha himself. In the Hawaiian Hall Atrium, traditions come to life with the daily hula show (2pm).
For the kids, there’s the 50-foot sperm whale skeleton and the Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center, featuring interactive exhibits on how volcanoes, wind, and waves work. There’s even a twice-daily “lava pour,” demonstrating lava in its molten liquid state and then, as it cools, as brittle volcanic glass. Don’t miss the shows at the J. Watamull Planetarium, in which you’ll explore the current evening sky and take home a star map so you can find the constellations and planets.
Hungry? Check out the museum cafe by Highway Inn, a favorite local restaurant that serves ono (delicious) Hawaiian plate lunches.