19 November 2009

Hawaii's #1 Tourist Attraction and My Old Backyard

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a place that is near and dear to my heart and the most popular tourist attraction on the island of Oahu. First let me give you a little history about my relationship with the center. My parents both worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center as college students and after I was born I made myself welcome hanging out with the students and family there.  As a toddler I fell off one of the show canoes into the lagoon at the PCC. This may explain my lifelong fear of water which I only recently overcame.

Elvis was a frequent visitor to the Polynesian Cultural Center and filmed part of Paradise Hawaiian Style at the PCC. My mother was part of the lei welcome for him once when he arrived in Hawaii and she and my aunt danced in the finale of Paradise Hawaiian Style. There is even a shop dedicated to Elvis at the PCC now.

The center features eight cultural villages with fantastic activities for guests, a canoe pageant, beautiful scenery, luaus and this year a fantastic new night show called HA, the Breath of Life. I have seen many of the night shows and this one by far is the best yet. It is a visually and spiritually inspiring. There is also an IMAX theater where we viewed a fantastic 45-minute movie on coral reefs. On a hot day, the theater also makes a fantastically cool retreat.

There are wonderful stores throughout the center with treasures in all price ranges and styles. The center continually improves the quality, originality and variety of items available in the shops. This year I was received my first ukulele, something I’d wanted for some time, as a gift from there. It is gorgeous stripped wood and I have already played a bit on it and am looking forward to becoming proficient someday soon.

The center is a great place for guests of all ages. They have a charmingly designed little book for children explaining each village which they can carry with them throughout the day and get stamped in each village or event they attend. There are so many things to do that you could easily spend two days there, so they give you a come-back free within 5-days offer with the purchase of your ticket. We went to the night show one night then went back two days later to visit all the villages and we still could’ve had more time I think. This year for some reason I was especially tickled by the Tongan drum show, even though I’ve seen it a few times. The guest participation in all the villages adds to the fun in a big way.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is the best place on Oahu you could spend a day learning about the Pacific Islands. The people are friendly and it’s a great place to relax and have fun. Look for discounts and special offers on the website www.polynesianculturalcenter.com.

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