Destinations

Aloha from afar: How to experience Oahu at home

Oahu has welcomed generations of visitors to its shores to experience its unique history, culture, and natural beauty.

Like many destinations, however, Oahu is currently focusing on the health and safety of its community during these unprecedented times.

“Right now, we respectfully ask travellers to postpone any travel to Hawaii until our state and county deems it appropriate,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, executive director of the Oahu Visitors Bureau.

“When we are in recovery and open for business, Oahu will welcome visitors with aloha, and will share the wonderful experiences Oahu has to offer once again.”

In the spirit of aloha, Oahu’s attractions, cultural institutions, chefs, and famed hotels are sending their aloha from afar by leveraging online resources, distance learning programs and virtual experiences to bring a little bit of Hawaii into the home, wherever that may be.

Below is a curated list of online experiences for you and your clients to enjoy until Oahu welcomes visitors back to its shores:

Enriching history and culture

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

The Hawaiian Islands have a story unlike any other state in the US and offer some of the most diverse experiences concentrated within a single destination.

Oahu’s museums, monuments and attractions are producing original content to bring Hawaii’s story into the home like never before.

Pearl Harbor Historic Sites

To celebrate the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, a Learning Center has been developed to share the story of the “Greatest Generation” with those interested in history and as a resource for teachers, students and parents. Families can find timelines, facts and stories about the brave men and women who served, and about those who supported their efforts.

Battleship Missouri Memorial

As the Battleship Missouri Memorial commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII on 2 September 2020, students are invited to ‘visit’ the “Mighty Mo” and experience America’s last battleship through a one-hour virtual field trip or a self-guided virtual tour. Through a virtual field trip, students will be taken back in time to explore the ship’s place in history, length of service and its impressive magnitude of size and power. Students in grades five to 12 have the opportunity to be included in a more in-depth conversation about WWII and the USS Missouri’s famous role in that war. Those interested in scheduling a free virtual field trip can email Neil Yamamoto at neily@ussmissouri.org or visit the USS Missouri website to take part in a self-guided virtual tour.

An audio version of the children’s book, My Grandpa’s Battleship Missouri Tour by Jeff Langcaon, is now available on YouTube. The book is about a Battleship Missouri Memorial tour guide, Toby Langcaon, who takes his granddaughter’s class on an excursion of the Mighty Mo and explains his story of being stationed on that very ship. Children and parents can listen to this narrated book and learn about the role the ship played in American history.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum has launched a new digital resource called Pearl Harbor At Home. The resource was developed to help families stay engaged and entertained in the home and has everything from historic facts, speeches, rare photos, podcasts, books and movies, to educational and STEM activities.

Bishop Museum

Although Bishop Museum is temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its work for the public continues. Through its newly developed Online Learning Center, Bishop Museum is sharing its knowledge about the history, culture, and natural sciences of Hawaii and the Pacific with learners of all ages, creating opportunities to bring their unique work into people’s homes and classrooms. The Online Learning Center will be updated with photos, videos, blog posts, podcasts, activities, and lesson plans on history, culture, science, and other subjects. Families can check back weekly for updated content.

Iolani Palace

Registered as a National Historic Landmark since 1962 and the only official royal residence in the US, Iolani Palace is one of the most recognisable buildings in Hawaii. To keep children, parents and educators engaged at home, Iolani Palace is encouraging everyone to use its variety of free virtual experiences and online educational resources, including a 3D Virtual Tour, Palace Grounds app, downloadable kids’ activities, and video lectures.

Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center, situated on the beautiful North Shore on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the beautiful cultures of Polynesia. Its new Education and History site provides online guests with a number of activities, easy island recipes, how-to videos from Tahitian dancing to coconut tree climbing, and so much more.

Halekulani and Halepuna Waikiki

Halekulani and Halepuna Waikiki, two resorts with a legacy of perpetuating and supporting the arts in Hawaii, are encouraging families to discover #HawaiiFromHome. Based on HalekulaniLiving.TV, the site features seven seasons of Living TV, which follows the lives of those who celebrate the Halekulani lifestyle through their cultural and artistic pursuits. Families can learn about the art of spearfishing and Hawaiian quilting, while other episodes profile contemporary Hawaii artists and their craft. In addition, as a sponsor of the esteemed Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), visitors can explore HIFF@Home. A link provided on the website allows visitors to access content from local, ground-breaking filmmakers and short films from around the world screened at Oahu’s independent film festival.

The great outdoors… indoors

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson

Families can get up close with dolphins from the couch or create their own Hawaii artwork through virtual lessons.

These Oahu businesses are doing their part to bring a bit of Hawaii’s natural beauty into the great indoors.

Sea Life Park Hawaii

Sea Life Park is launching a new series titled ‘Bring the Park to You’. This social media series allows viewers to follow the animal care team and get a behind the scenes experience of the park that’s both exciting and educational. Live feeds follow workers continuing to care for the park’s animals, and viewers are encouraged to interact by asking Sea Life Park trainers questions. Families can also check out the ever-growing Educational Resources page while at home. The resources page contains teaching material, and will be updated with activities and colouring pages to encourage marine life learning from home.

Wild Side Specialty Tours

For years, Wild Side Specialty Tours’ marine biologist-led ocean excursions have been creating lifelong memories and instilling a sense of respect for Oahu’s marine life. Now, the company has launched Wild Side Wednesdays, a series that includes weekly educational videos from on board Wild Side’s boats highlighting Hawaii’s wildlife and maritime citizen science. Families can tune in and even request specific topics to Wild Side’s marine biologist team. For the latest on Wild Side Wednesdays, those interested can follow Wild Side on social media and check their website for updates.

Waikiki Aquarium

As part of an ongoing effort to keep children, parents and educators engaged at home, the Waikiki Aquarium has unveiled a variety of free virtual experiences and online educational resources for both residents and visitors to enjoy. The online initiatives include weekly Marine Animal Drawing Lessons with local artist Patrick Ching, weekly live Q&As with aquarium director Dr. Andrew Rossiter, 15-minute ocean spotlight talks, aquarium webcams, and more.

A taste of aloha in the home

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Oahu’s melting pot of cultures has earned it a place among the greatest cuisine destinations.

Some of the island’s best chefs and top restaurants are offering virtual cooking demonstrations, recipes and how-to videos to bring the flavours of Oahu to the home kitchen.

Chef Chai

Chef Chai Chaowasaree is the chef and owner of his popular eponymous fusion restaurant located in Honolulu, Hawaii and is renowned as a key innovator of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Now, chef Chai is giving away some of his culinary secrets with a series of demonstrational videos and recipes. Home cooks can visit the chef’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to learn how to make larb chicken, pad Thai noodles, spicy pork basil and more in signature “Chai-style” that combines the flavours of Asia and Hawaii.

ESPACIO, The Jewel of Waikiki

This boutique luxury hotel is giving those at home a behind-the-scenes perspective of its high-touch hospitality through a how-to series led by the visionaries behind Mugen, the property’s innovative Japanese-French dining concept. ‘Live with Lee’ features restaurant manager Lee Kamimura leading informative video briefs about topics such as how to select the best bottle of wine from the supermarket. ‘Chef Shorts’ features Mugen executive chef Jason Yamaguchi demonstrating skills such as how to plate a beautiful meal at home using what you have in the pantry.


Featured image credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Heather Goodman (@hbgoodie)

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