Winter in Hawaii
I’ll admit it, March isn’t my favorite month on Oahu. There’s a little more rain, a little more gloom and it’s pretty much sock weather all month long. But even in the rain, there is fun to be had and better yet, there are whales! They’re particularly abundant on Maui, but you can see whales on Oahu from shore or on a boat trip. We were on the north shore one particularly gloomy day in March because we had scheduled a whale-watch tour out of Haleiwa. Big surf canceled our plans so we scrambled for a backup plan. On a whim, we decided on Waimea Valley.
The Beauty of Waimea Valley
With the exception of photographing a wedding by the entrance, it was our first time in the valley. Paying a fee to hike likely had something to do with that ($18 for adults and $12 for kids or $12/$6 with kamaaina discount), but on this particular day doing something new made us happy.
The botanical show starts with your drive into the valley where towering trees dripping with vines line the road. Once inside, the magic continues with tropical flowers and plants every shape and size. The entire park is easily accessed so you can push a stroller or wheelchair where you need to explore. They even have trams to take you back and forth to the waterfall a the back of the valley.
Plantings are grouped by region, use, or family and there is a traditional Hawaiian living site under towering monkeypods. That was my favorite section. Most plants are labeled, but otherwise information is limited unless you invest in their self-guided audio tour.
Exploring the Gardens
Mila walked for about a minute until requesting a ride, but Micah happily skipped along searching for birds and investigating interestingly shaped seeds and flowers.
In recent years the garden has expanded its offerings and you can add on a spectacular luau, take a moon walk, eat your way through a farmer’s market or listen to a concert. Check ahead for current events at the garden.
Looking for More Kid-Friendly Activities on the North Shore?
Try nearby shark’s cove for a tidepool adventure and don’t forget to sign up for the Little Bird Post below to receive monthly updates on Oahu family fun!