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Playing tourist on a budget

by Christine Ah Yee, self-proclaimed budget specialist and assoc. editor Lifestyles editor

Hawai‘i offers those who live here many places to see and visit. Kama‘aina discounts are given for residents and students showing school picture identification. Yes that means you, HPU students.

Here are a few must see places: ‘Iolani Palace, the Bishop Museum, the Maritime Center, and Mission Homes. Many of these tourist attractions offer FREE family Sundays during designated months; this means there is no admission fee for that particular attraction. Most times the attraction is made into a themed event that appeals to the family, thus making it a “Family” Sunday.


‘Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark, and the only royal palace in the United States. Its majestic and haunting beauty is as significant to the Hawaiian people as its history. ‘Iolani Palace was the official residence of the last reigning monarchs of Hawai‘i. It is where the last reigning queen was overthrown in 1893, ending Hawai‘i’s existence as a self-governing nation. Guided daily tours of the palace are given by The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, and generous discounts are available to residents and students. Visitors are to wear “booties” (provided) that will preserve the original hardwood floors, and drinks, food, and gum chewing are eschewed. Every person coming to Hawai‘i should see the splendor of this magnificent palace at least once. ‘Iolani palace stands in the heart of downtown, on King Street next to the State Library. For more information visit the palace’s Web site:

Directly down the road from the palace is the Mission Houses Museum. This historic site displays the story of cultural exchanges of language, religion, and customs in the 19th century between the Native Hawaiian people and the American Protestant missionaries. Daily walking tours are available for an in-depth look at life as a missionary in Hawai’i. There is a store on the premises where souvenirs can be brought, and depending what time of the year you visit there are several craft fairs that display a variety of handmade goods. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9-4 and daily tours at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:45 p.m. For more information visit

Heading back to town, don’t forget to stop at the Maritime Museum located at Aloha Tower. Learn about Hawai‘i’s maritime history from the beginning voyages of Polynesians to these islands through the whaling period to today, and follow the cultures to the islands. The museum offers a wealth of knowledge about the history of the islands and their dependence on maritime vessels for necessities from the mainland. Ocean lovers and marine biology students will enjoy the interactive displays and the chance to board a real ship docked in the harbor and see documented historical information on various marine life. The museum opens every day except Christmas from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All the museums mentioned so far are within walking distance from our HPU downtown campus. But this last one is worth the bus ride. Hawai‘i’s designated museum of natural and cultural history is the Bishop Museum, named by Charles Reed Bishop in 1889 in honor of his wife, the last descendent of the Kamehameha family, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Before the transformation into a museum, the site was used as the Kamehameha Schools, which educated only Hawaiian children and royalty.

The museum has a collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that no one else can replicate. In fact, historians around the world request information from the museum to assemble for presentations on topics related to Hawai‘i and the Pacific. Exhibits change through out the year and themed fairs occur occasionally. A full day is needed to explore the museum, planetarium, and the shop, which offer goods ranging from souvenirs to T shirtsto stone-carved artifacts by various local artists who live through out the island chain. To request additional information call the museum directly at 847-3511. Its friendly staff is always eager to help.

If you’re taking the Bus to the Bishop Museum from Waikiki go to any bus stop and hop on the No.2, bus get off at the intersection of Kapalama and School Streets, cross the street, and walk down Kapalama towards the ocean. At the intersection of Bernice and Kapalama, turn right, and you’ll see the museum on your left, its entrance about 200 feet from the corner.


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