Braving the Children’s Discovery Center | Oahu family activities

My kids love, love, love the Children’s Discovery Center in Kakaako. Micah begs me to take them there. He likes to reminisce about past visits and make big plans for future ones. I can see the appeal. It is 3 floors of exploration and activity where you can pretend to be a grownup and travel around the world.

Mila loves the rainforest area which is their newest addition. I’m a huge fan as well. It’s bright, clean and colorful. There are musical instruments, books, soft pillows, things to climb, touch, hide in … and the older kids aren’t allowed in. Nice to keep the little ones from being trampled. Not quite as nice if you have one that wants in and one that can’t get in.


We start by exploring in the rain forest.

Hawaii children's discovery center

Hawaii children's discovery center review

The first floor of the museum is a bit dark and dingy, but of course the kids don’t care.  This light room is tucked to the side on the first floor. It’s a (sometimes) peaceful place to play with a giant LiteBite. There is also an entire section on the body, another with real life setups like a diner, grocery store, post office, theater, etc and a sweet reading room.

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We skipped the second floor which has more of a Hawaiian theme with a cargo ship, airplane, pineapple field, dress-up stage and a giant bubble make. The third floor is fun. It consists of little rooms each with a different country theme. Lots of pretend food and dress-up. You can eat sushi in Japan, catch fish in Portugal, dress like a lion dancer in China, or don a sari in India. It seems less crowded up there. Most people may run out of steam before making it to the third floor. It’s a lot of museum for a toddler/parent to take in.

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Okay, now that I look at the photos, it looks like we had the place to ourselves. It was actually pretty crowded since there were about eight busloads of school kids dumped off when we arrived. I just had Mila with me so we skipped the crowded parts. Rowdy kids make her clingy.

Overall a fun museum. From a parent perspective though, the place can be a little stressful. Notably if you’re visiting while a) super pregnant, b) out-numbered by your children who want to go in different directions c) are visiting during any type of school break when it’s so loud and chaotic your head threatens to explode or d) any combination of the above.

Thinking of braving the Discovery Center yourself? Make sure they’re open first! Twice I showed up when they were closed (they’re closed on Mondays and after 1:00 during the week). Afterwards over to Kakaako Beach Park for a little picnic by the water.

Not in the mood for crowds? Check the Keiki Monday archives for more family activities on Oahu!


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