Who Loves Ya, Keiki?
The idea of a family vacation is, of course, to do things as a family. But even the most dedicated parents need some time to themselves, as do their kids. While kids' programs at many resorts are just a glorified babysitting service, in Hawaii they're something special. Programs emphasize Hawaiian history, culture, and geography with a whole range of activities--nature walks, sand-volcano building, tide-pool exploration, petroglyph walks, native Hawaiian storytelling, and Hawaiian arts and crafts like lei-making, poi-pounding, and leaf-painting.
At the Maui Prince Hotel (800-321-6284) in Makena, kids 5 to 12 can join the Prince Kids Club, with bamboo-pole fishing, scavenger hunts, and Hawaiian arts and crafts (half-day, $20; full day, $40 including lunch). For an additional $20, special items can be purchased such as a disposable camera and photo album with T-shirt and tote bag, or a beach package that contains a straw mat, sunscreen, towel, T-shirt, and a tote bag.
Maui's Kapalua Bay Resort (800-367-8000) offers Junior Golf Clinics from the end of March through August, Family Tennis Clinics, and individual lessons for kids 4 to 17. It also has an on-site art school that offers weekly kids' classes in the visual and performing arts, including painting, photography, and drama (about $10-$20 per class). Parents can join their kids in ballet, yoga, and piano classes. Kamp Kapalua features activities like a sand-castle contest, swimming and snorkeling, and nature hikes ($25 for one kid; $45 for two, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., including lunch).
On Oahu, the Hilton Hawaiian Village (800-445-8667) conducts kids' wildlife tours of its lagoon filled with flamingos, carp, and penguins, stressing interesting facts about the water, plants, rocks, and foliage of Hawaii. Kids receive a Wildlife and Ecology certificate and a souvenir photo taken at the penguin pond. The Rainbow Express Young Explorers Club offers Hawaiian arts and crafts, nature walks and wildlife feeding, and fishing expeditions ($32 per day, including lunch) .
The Princeville Resort (800-782-9488) on Kauai has an in-house theater that screens locally-filmed movies like "South Pacific" for its Keiki Aloha program (free from June 15-August 31, otherwise $40 per day). On Friday nights, kids get dinner and a movie for $10.
On the Big Island, Camp Menehune ($45 per day for kids 5 to 12) at the sprawling Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort (800-445-8667) emphasizes special events like Indiana Jones Day and Olympic sports. Its Coconut Club for teens 13 to 17 has free sports--water polo, beach volleyball--and social activities like the Splash Bash ($10).
At the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (800-882-6060), also on the Big Island, the program for kids 5 to 12 (half-day, $20; full day, $40) includes T-shirt painting, treasure-hunting, swimming, and fishing.
Down the road at the Orchid at Mauna Lani (800-845-9905), the Keiki Aloha program offers hula lessons, storytelling, trips to a petroglyph park, and coconut-leaf weaving for kids 5 to 12 ($50 per day).