Author Archives: Cindy

Visit the Honolulu Zoo

I love our Honolulu Zoo. It’s big enough that there’s more than you can comfortably see in one trip. We usually head in and go to the right past the lemurs and gibbons. They often put on a great show swinging and leaping from tree branch to bamboo scaffolding on their water-surrounded island. Then we continue on along the right to the African Savanna. You see lots of beautiful birds as you enter. The giraffe, cheetah and meerkats are always highlights for us. The hippo exhibit can be really fun if the hippos are active (feeding times are best). They will swim right up to an underwater viewing area… and if they open their mouths on the way by the kids watching will all squeal!

A lovely place to sit and cool off is the Manyara Bird Sanctuary, where you get to go inside the aviary. If you sit quietly, the birds will come quite close… a great place for photos.

They have a petting zoo that little kids will enjoy, and summer fun programs where participants get to feed the animals.

We always try to go as soon as the zoo opens and we bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lawn (picnic benches available too) as the snack bar is really only OK for drinks, but they do have shave ice. A late afternoon visit can be fun too as the animals get very excited near closing time.

Worth a visit!

4 Ways to Prevent Seasickness in Kids


Follow my tips to prevent seasickness so your child can enjoy that boat trip to the special snorkeling spot.

Hawaii is the perfect location for boat rides and cruises, but when your child gets seasick and motion-sick, these fun activities become a nightmare. Don’t despair– kids who are prone to seasickness don’t have to miss out on these aspects of your vacation!

Our daughter gets miserably seasick and we’ve found several things that prevent seasickness. Just follow my tips to ensure a happy, enjoyable boat ride for your land-lover!

One of my favorite cures for seasickness is accupressure bands. Sea Bands ( are knitted wrist bands that apply pressure to an accupressure point on the inside of the wrist. The steady pressure helps relieve symptoms of nausea without any side effects. You can find these online and at many local drugstores. Put them on before you depart. They’re a must for both me and my daughter!

Another great trick for calming an upset stomach is Ginger Chews. Ginger has been used for thousands of years to quell feelings of nausea. These soft ginger candies also taste delicious, so you won’t have to deal with coaxing little Jimmy to take his foul tasting Dramamine! Have one in advance of the expedition and bring a handful along to chew as needed.

Your location on the boat can make a big difference in how you feel, as well. Staying on deck in the fresh air is far better than going down below, where every motion of the boat is far more exaggerated. The excitement and fresh air above deck can also play a big part in avoiding seasickness– with so much to look at, your child won’t have time to dwell on the fact that he or she normally gets sea sick.

Stay drug-free!- I wouldn’t recommend Dramamine or other anti-seasickness drugs– they don’t usually do much except leave you drowsy and groggy for the rest of the day. Nobody wants that on vacation!

The surest way to avoid seasickness, though, is to avoid the cause altogether. While taking a boat ride out to a snorkel spot sounds fun, there are just as many snorkel spots that you can reach from the shore! Why wreck a whole day with motion sickness when instead you could plan a day with no potential for seasickness?

Kids stay free at these Hawaii Resorts

Kids stay free at Hawaii’s Big Island Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa!

Kids stay free at Hawaii’s Big Island Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa!

Pleasant Holidays is offering some specials for a limited time. Great prices and kids 17 and under stay free!

Oahu: Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
5 Nights from $721 per person, Kids 17 & younger stay FREE.

Hawaii’s Big Island: Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Kids 17 & younger stay FREE! 5 Nights from $657 per person

Kauai: Kauai Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach
Includes complimentary airport shuttle service PLUS Kids 17 & younger stay FREE! 5 nights from $661 per per person

Maui: Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Kids 17 & younger stay FREE!
5 Nights from $797 per person

Haleakala, Maui kids adventure

The sun glows through clouds at Haleakala National Park.

The sun glows through clouds at Haleakala National Park.

The highest point on Maui is the peak of Haleakala. This is a popular destination because of the fantastic views from the Haleakala Visitor Center (at 9,750 feet). On a clear day you can see into the crater which looks so much like the moon that American astronauts trained here when they were preparing for their lunar landing.  Looking in the other direction, you can see the West Maui Mountains, Molokai and Lanai.

We usually try for an early morning arrival at the lookout – best odds for a clear view into the crater. This time we were on a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and by the time we got off the ship, got the rental car and took in a few other adventures, it was mid-afternoon when we started the long drive up the mountain.

Our two kids loved stretching their legs in this beautiful Kula pasture.

Our two kids loved stretching their legs in this beautiful Kula pasture.

Make the drive up Haleakala part of the adventure

It’s a beautiful drive through the upcountry Maui towns of Olinda, Makawao and Kula. You’ll see rolling green pastures, cows and horses, and drive through sweet-scented eucalyptus forests. On the way up, we pulled over and let the kids run through a grassy field. It was a wonderful break from the driving and we all had a great time. Just make sure you don’t park near one of the many blind curves!

The view from the top of Haleakala

Rare silverswords just steps from our car!

Rare silverswords just steps from our car!

The clouds were beginning to roll into the parking lot by the time we got to the top of Haleakala. We saw beautiful and very rare silversword plants growing right next to the parking area. We also got very close to several nene geese – also endangered. The Haleakalā National Park is home to many endangered species. (You can learn a lot about the parks plants and animals at the visitors centers.)

Clouds usually fill Haleakala crater by mid-day, and since we arrived close to sunset, the crater was filled with billowy white. In spite of not being able to see into the crater, we had a fantastic time.

The thick clouds engulfed the summit.

The thick clouds engulfed the summit.

The kids wore as many warm clothes as we had with us. We watched as the sun slowly sank towards the horizon. Every once in a while the clouds would clear enough to see the rest of Maui Island. Other times, we were engulfed in a cold fog, glowing orange from the setting sun.

It was dark and we were all starving by the time we got back to the ship, but we all agreed it was a fantastic Maui day!


Bring plenty of snacks and drinks, fill up with gas.  Stores and services are at least 30 minutes from the top. It’s about 2 hours one-way from Kahului and slightly less from Wailea.

The view of West Maui from the summit.

The clouds parted and we had a spectacular view of West Maui from the summit.

Be prepared for extremes in temperatures; very cold weather, rain or very hot, sunny weather.

Check the Haleakala Park site before driving, the road can be closed during severe weather:

Park is open 24hrs, three visitor centers have different hours with the one at the top open at sunrise and closed by 3:00.

More fun familiy activities in Maui…

Hawaii hotels that kids and families will love

Aulani Disney Resort

Disney’s Aulani has lots of activities for kids.

Hawaii is a great place to visit with kids and choosing the right place to stay can make your visit that much more special. Whatever your budget, Hawaii has a spot for you!

One of the best, and most popular, hotels for families to stay on Oahu is the Hilton Hawaiian Village overlooking the beach in Waikiki. With multiple pools (one is the largest in Waikiki!) and animals like parrots and penguins scattered throughout, your kids will be having too much fun to ever get bored. Their “Camp Penguin” organizes activities and excursions for ages 5-12. Another top choice for those with children is Disney’s Aulani Resort. Situated on the beautiful and sunny west shore, kids will have a blast swimming in the pools, making sandcastles on the beach, and listening to traditional Hawaiian stories with Mickey and Minnie! Kids can hang out at “Auntie’s Beachhouse,” a supervised play and activity area.

One of our favorite’s on Oahu is the Turtle Bay Resort, on the North Shore. Located out in the “country,” it offers a more rural experience. You can take a horseback ride along the beach, watch turtles swim in the surf just steps from the hotel’s really fun water slide and pool, play tennis, or just relax on the beach. We came across a rare Hawaiian Monk seal sunning himself on the shore the last time we were there.

On the Big Island, the Hilton Waikoloa Village is a great choice! With many kid-friendly amenities and the opportunity to swim with dolphins, your kids will have a blast. The Marriott on Kauai and the Four Seasons on Maui are ideal hotels on the outer islands– each have activity programs for children and the best beaches on the island. Many of these hotels offer excursions for the whole family– perhaps you’d like to go on a horseback ride along the beach or attempt to learn how to surf!

If you’re watching your budget, many of the more affordable chain hotels like Best Western and Holiday Inn can be great options for traveling with kids, as well. Just make sure they’ve got a pool and you’ll be set. After all, what kid doesn’t like a buffet breakfast?

For a more adventurous and often economical option, you might want to rent a home or apartment on Airbnb. This site lists homes all across the islands at various price points. You can stay in the heart of the city or perhaps stay a little off the beaten path and see Hawaii the way the locals see it. It’s a great way to feel like you live in the islands. Often, staying in a rented home can be far more comfortable and less stressful than a hotel for younger children. With a whole house or apartment to spread out in, kids feel much more at home. With a kitchen, you can have a laid back breakfast together or a late-night dinner when you don’t feel like going to yet another restaurant. The ability to cook favorite foods is always a plus! Many of these homes also have pools and jacuzzis, so you won’t be missing out on any water time. Just make sure that the house is listed as “kid-friendly” and you’re good to go!

Must-haves for your kids’ carry-ons

Must haves for kid's airplane carryonsIf you are heading to Hawaii from just about anywhere, you’re going to have at least a 5-hour flight. You’ll want to pack the carry-ons with these items to keep your children happy and entertained:

1. Keep them warm and comfortable…

Airplanes can get very cold and blankets are no longer always provided for every passenger. Bring a favorite blanket and a small pillow. A set of pajamas to wear during the flight can be a good idea too. A fleece or polartec hoodie is a must.

2. Pack plenty of snacks

Pack several single-serving packages of chips, trail-mix, raisins or other dried packaged fruit. Granola bars and cheese crackers are always popular. Don’t try to bring fresh fruit… it will be confiscated.

3. Bring an empty water bottle or sealable sippy cup.

It’s much easier to have your own that you can fill with water or juice once you’re through security at the airport.

4. Electronic Entertainment is a must

iPad, Kindle, or whatever loaded with games, movies and books. Be sure to bring headphones!

5. Small games, books, drawing tools keep hands and minds busy

Favorites are a deck of cards, a small notebook for games like tic-tac-toe or hangman and inexpensive storybooks (you can leave them behind if your bags are stuffed on the way home). For budding artists, bring a blank notebook and crayons or colored pencils for drawing.