Activity Finds: Waikiki

1) U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

For history buffs looking to take a step back in time, march on over to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i housed on the grounds of Fort DeRussy in Waikiki to experience stories from early Hawaiian warfare through the Vietnam War. Today the museum salutes visitors with a piece of Hawai‘i history without ever having to leave Waikiki.

Constructed in 1911 as a coastal artillery battery known as Battery Randolph, part of the experience of paying a visit to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i is simply seeing the museum itself -- a massive concrete building with a 12-foot thick roof. Built as part of a coastal defense system with 14-inch guns it was transformed into a museum in 1976.

If you've got a free afternoon carve an hour out of your day to check out the museum's exhibits including the Gallery of Heroes -- which honors local soldiers who have been recognized with the nation's most prestigious military awards - or the popular General Eric K. Shinseki exhibit which features information on General Shinseki's bright military career. For those looking to turn the volume up on their visit, the museum now offers audio tours (available in Japanese and English) for rent for $5 each.


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2) Kaimana Beach

Washing up on the shores of Waikiki, Kaimana Beach is splashed out between the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel and the War Memorial Natatorium. Popular amongst beachgoers who call O‘ahu home, Kaimana Beach is the perfect part of Waikiki to float away the day building sandcastles with the kids, snorkeling in the shallow reef or sunbathing along the beach's wide and sandy shores.

In 1902 Kaimana Beach was the historic site for the state's first submarine cable providing a telegraphic link between Hawai‘i and the U.S. mainland. Today, the remnants of that cable still rest on the ocean floor along Kaimana Beach's channel.

For those who aren't strong swimmers, keep your wits (and fins) about you since the current here can be particularly strong, especially after high tide. Make sure to check in with the lifeguard before getting into the water and if you're a weak swimmer or with young children make sure to keep close to shore.


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