Polynesian Cultural Center Brings the Island Nations to Life

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center Educates While Entertaining

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a large living museum type theme park that represents 7 major island nations along with a half a dozen or so other islands. The park is quite large as it occupies about 42 acres and you can spend the whole day there and still not see everything. The park is divided into simulated villages which represent the major islands of Polynesian culture. Each of these villages offer hands-on interactive family activities, teachings of the culture, demonstrations and more.

We had a choice of packages that offered the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Oahu Island tour or just the park itself. Since we had heard from many locals that there is so much to see there, we decided to skip the island tour and head straight to the Polynesian Cultural Center. After spending a day at the park, we are glad to have gone straight to the park as we still didn’t have time to see and do all the Polynesian Cultural Center had to offer.

Polynesian Cultural Center Lagoon View

A view from the canoe ride we took in the lagoon of the Polynesian Cultural Center. | Photo by FamilyvacationHub

We were picked up at our hotel in the morning around 10:30 a.m. and took a scenic hour long drive along the east side of Oahu via the Kamehameha Highway (HI-83). We arrived at Polynesian Cultural Center around 11:30 and the park was not too busy at that time. For the first hour in the park there was not too much going on as far as shows and such, so take some time to explore the park a bit until things start kicking off around 12:30.

Polynesian Cultural Center Highlights

  • Large and Beautiful Park
  • Lush Tropical Landscape
  • Ali’i Luau
  • Canoe Rides
  • Hands-On Activities
  • Cultural Education
  • Ha Breath of Life Show

Polynesian Cultural Center Villages

Throughout your day you and kids will venture from one village to another. If you just wander through the park you will find many fun and interesting things along the way, but you might miss some activities that you really didn’t want to miss. We suggest you take a look at the schedule to find which activity you really want to take part in and plan accordingly as shows will take place simultaneously in different villages.

Polynesian Cultural Center Rapa Nui Stone Statue

A huge stone statue in the Rapa Nui village. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Tonga Village

The Tonga village was one of my family’s favorite villages of the park. This village has activities of spear tossing, canoe paddling, shuffleboard and weaving. The Tonga village also has the Tonga Drumming show which was one of our favorite shows of the park. The show is a bit touristy, but we enjoyed the funny jokes and the drumming. I would recommend you plan to catch one of the four times this show is playing.

Samoa Village

The Samoa village has a fire knife show, fire making and coconut husking activities. Our Samoa village favorite was the coconut tree climbing show which was very impressive to see and the host was pretty funny to boot.

Fiji Village

The Fiji village offers a bamboo raft ride (life vests provided), bamboo drums interactive activity and tattoos. Our daughter got to prepare and get an armband tattoo which she thought was very cool.

Madi and her armband tattoo from the Polynesian Cultural Center

Madi loved her armband tattoo that she helped ink in the Fiji village. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Hawaii Village

The Hawaii village at the Polynesian Cultural Center has Hula and Ukulele Lessons, a Voyaging Skills demonstration and ancient Hawaiian games. Our family all thought the hula show and activity was the best of the things to do in the Hawaiian village.

Tahiti Village

Some of the fun things activities offered in the Tahitian village include dance lessons, fishing activity and a Coconut bread making demonstration.

Aotearoa Village

The Aotearoa village Tititorea Maori stick game, Long Poi twirling activity, tattoo and warrior games. The Maori stick game, where you tap sticks and pass them to each other in rhythm, was our daughter’s favorite demonstration and activity.

Canoe Pageant

The Rainbows of Paradise canoe pageant takes place daily in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s lagoon at 2:30 p.m. We found it to be a good idea to get a spot along the lagoon about a half hour before the show to ensure a good view for you and the kids. The canoe pageant takes place on outrigger canoes with each island nation floating out one at a time to perform. The islands represented in the pageant are Samoa (our favorite), Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa and Tonga. Each canoe has music, signing and dancing from each of the respective island nations. We consider this to be a must see when visiting the park.

Rainbows of Paradise Samoa Canoe

The Samoa Canoe and performers from the Rainbows of Paradise canoe pageant. | Photo by FamilyVacationHub

Ha Breath of Life and Ali’i Luau

Before the night show of Ha Breath of Life, we went to the Ali’i Luau which was part of our Polynesian Cultural Center package. The Ali’i Luau is pretty big with tons of tables that are assigned to the visitors. You are sat with around six other folks at the same table and you are called upon by tables to go and get your food at the buffet.

Our family was less than impressed with the food at the luau and no one dish was something worth calling a favorite. Even if you found one thing you particularly liked, you would have to wait until hundreds are done getting their firsts before you can get in line again. On top of the so-so food, the luau show was pretty far down below our table and being able to get a good view was not easy for us or our daughter. On our bus ride home a few people told us the Island Buffet was really tasty, so that might be a good option for dining at the park.

The Ha Breath of Life show was quite the opposite of our luau experience. The show is about the life of a man named Mana and his family. The show was an audio and visual spectacular with plenty of dancing, music, singing, spinning fireknives, special effects and tons of Polynesian natives. This was a great way to relax and enjoy the ending of a great day at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Why We Recommend Polynesian Cultural Center For Families

  • Learning Other Cultures
  • Gorgeous Tropical Grounds
  • Family Friendly Atmosphere
  • Canoe Ride in the Lagoon
  • Hands-On Activities
  • Canoe Pageant
  • Ha Breath of Life Show
  • Demonstrations and Shows

Polynesian Cultural Center Videos

Polynesian Cultural Center Photo Gallery (12 Images)

  • Polynesian Cultural Center Lagoon
  • Polynesian Cultural Center Stone Statues
  • Lagoon and Fiji Temple
  • Rainbows of Paradise Canoe Pageant

Polynesian Cultural Center Links & Information

About Joe Filipowicz

I have a passion for finding fun things to do, good restaurants and places to stay while traveling with my family and friends. Since it takes a lot of research and exploration to find these family friendly places, I wanted to share my findings with others to make it easier for them to plan their next getaway.

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