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To the Big Island/Maui 8 times - What to do with kids ages 5 and 1?

To the Big Island/Maui 8 times - What to do with kids ages 5 and 1?

Old Mar 4, 11, 11:42 am
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To the Big Island/Maui 8 times - What to do with kids ages 5 and 1?

Heading back to Big Island and Maui for the 8th time. Any suggestions what to do with a young family. We are planning to go to Mauna Kea Observatory this time out.. I heard infants are allowed, as its only half way up the mountain. Volcano National Park is always a must do.. How's the lava flows nowadays.

We frequent Surf, Sand, and Stars at Four Seasons Saturdays, and have done the Mauna Kea Clam Bake. Will probably visit the Waikoloa village as its Las Vegas meets Big Island over there.

Maui we'll probably do Spagos, Ruth Chris.. Never done Mama's Fish House.. my friends have, and it was so-so value in their opinion. Worth it to try?

I'll probably sneak in a Luau somehow even though my wife doesn't like it. We've done Kona Village, and Old Lahaina.

Any suggestions?
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Old Mar 5, 11, 1:59 pm
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Mama's fish house with toddler

we went to mama's fish house with our then 1 year old. We went for lunch since we thought it would be best with a kid in tow. that was the last time we went to a fancy/expensive restaurant with our kid. (actually made the same mistake at roys kauai the following year. That was worse.) the setting is beautiful and I thought the food was excellent. But it would have been better if we left our kid with a sitter. I think it's worth the price for the food and the ambiance. Just don't know how much of it you'll experience with the kids.
Wanted to add i wonder how much of the beauty you'll see at dinner vs lunch? I would probably suggest an early dinner if not lunch if you do go

Last edited by ck2003; Mar 5, 11 at 2:04 pm Reason: Dinner vs lunch
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Old Mar 5, 11, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
We are planning to go to Mauna Kea Observatory this time out. I heard infants are allowed, as its only half way up the mountain.

FYI, the observatories are located at the summit and are generally not accessible to visitors. The summit is located at approximately 14,000 feet. The visitor center is located at approximately 9200 feet and is open to the public.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 7:51 pm
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Not sure what you are looking for. High end eateries do not seem like what a 1 or 5 year old would be interested in. The obvious sitter, apparently is not what you are looking for either.

We have not been to Maui or the Big Island as many times as you have, but have made10 trips to the islands in total. We have no children, but can suggest the following on Maui:

Maui Ocean Center
Dolphin/Whale cruise
Sugar cane train
Baby Beach in Lahaina
maui Golf and Sports Park
Weekend Hula show @Lahaina Cannery Mall when the kids dance
Hyatt Lobby..penguins, flamingos, swans and african cranes
Hana Lava Tubes
"Seven secrate pools" in Hana...familes sit in the shallows of the water

Most major hotels also have special programs for children and child services for guests.

The big island is a bit more questionable for children that young, IMHO.
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Old Mar 7, 11, 9:01 am
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Originally Posted by ranles View Post
<snip>
Most major hotels also have special programs for children and child services for guests.
<snip>
As the mother of a 4.75 year old heading to Hawaii soon, it is with great sadness that I report that almost ALL of the resort hotels have supervised children's programs for only ages 5 and up.

On the flip side, we have found that most of the hotels along the Ka'anapali Beach area do have brief programs for families, which of course include kids of all ages. The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel seems to be the best for this. We've also done the babysitter thing on occasion in Maui for a night out, and it worked wonderfully.
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Old Mar 7, 11, 12:39 pm
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Mama's Fish House is great for a special anniversary. Would I spend that kind of money with kids in tow? No. But I do recommend stopping by Ho'okipa Beach in the morning and watching the windsurfers.

I think a 5 year old might also enjoy Ulalena.

We took our 5 and 7 year old kayaking with us in South Carolina, though Hawaiian waters are routinely choppier than SC waters.

It's controversial, but swimming with the dolphins at Hilton Waikoloa might be fun if they're old enough.

When we went on our catamaran cruise last time, we saw lots of dolphins. I'd trust a catamaran with young kids. Sailboats are great, but not with younger kids.
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Old Mar 7, 11, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by ck2003 View Post
we went to mama's fish house with our then 1 year old. We went for lunch since we thought it would be best with a kid in tow. that was the last time we went to a fancy/expensive restaurant with our kid. (actually made the same mistake at roys kauai the following year. That was worse.) the setting is beautiful and I thought the food was excellent. But it would have been better if we left our kid with a sitter. I think it's worth the price for the food and the ambiance. Just don't know how much of it you'll experience with the kids.
Wanted to add i wonder how much of the beauty you'll see at dinner vs lunch? I would probably suggest an early dinner if not lunch if you do go
Believe it or not, we've been to Ruth's Chris, Sansei, Royal Kona Luau, Surf Sand & Stars, Clambake.. the last time we were out on Big Island.. Over to Maui.. Spago's, Nick's Fish House, Italiano Ristorante, Thai Palace (I think), Ruth's Chris.. all last year, and more restaurants with our then 3 month old and 4 year old. Just finished 21 nights at Disney World, 20 days in a row at Disney Christmas Break.. Rarin to go.. may try Mama's.. a couple of friend mentioned it this week again about the quality of food, to be excellent and a must try.

Originally Posted by tudorcity View Post
FYI, the observatories are located at the summit and are generally not accessible to visitors. The summit is located at approximately 14,000 feet. The visitor center is located at approximately 9200 feet and is open to the public.
Maybe I shouldn't have observatory.. as they are all on the summit.. I meant the visitor center.. I've heard was accessible half way up the mountain.. plus Alamo allows rentals half way up where its paved. Anybody been, and can elaborate how the visitor center is like?

Originally Posted by ranles View Post
Not sure what you are looking for. High end eateries do not seem like what a 1 or 5 year old would be interested in. The obvious sitter, apparently is not what you are looking for either.

We have not been to Maui or the Big Island as many times as you have, but have made10 trips to the islands in total. We have no children, but can suggest the following on Maui:

Maui Ocean Center
Dolphin/Whale cruise
Sugar cane train
Baby Beach in Lahaina
maui Golf and Sports Park
Weekend Hula show @Lahaina Cannery Mall when the kids dance
Hyatt Lobby..penguins, flamingos, swans and african cranes
Hana Lava Tubes
"Seven secrate pools" in Hana...familes sit in the shallows of the water

Most major hotels also have special programs for children and child services for guests.

The big island is a bit more questionable for children that young, IMHO.
Done Maui Ocean Center.. but Hana Lava tubes is a new one.. we did the Thurston Lava tubes.. will have to try Hyatt.. Waikoloa Hilton I think has similar, so definitely worth a try.. I've seen the weekend Hula Show.. pretty nice.. Seven sacred pools I think we visited a number of years ago.. maybe worth another visit. Thanks for the ideas.
Originally Posted by mechteach View Post
As the mother of a 4.75 year old heading to Hawaii soon, it is with great sadness that I report that almost ALL of the resort hotels have supervised children's programs for only ages 5 and up.

On the flip side, we have found that most of the hotels along the Ka'anapali Beach area do have brief programs for families, which of course include kids of all ages. The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel seems to be the best for this. We've also done the babysitter thing on occasion in Maui for a night out, and it worked wonderfully.
Thankfully our oldest is now 5 and yes it has been an issue in the past.. would like to have him take part of programs at Fairmont Orchid. Hopefully, it'll be affordable, because I remember it to be quite expensive. Do the hotels check ID.. I guess its more of a liability issue if something happens with the child I guess.

Originally Posted by Recreation View Post
Mama's Fish House is great for a special anniversary. Would I spend that kind of money with kids in tow? No. But I do recommend stopping by Ho'okipa Beach in the morning and watching the windsurfers.

I think a 5 year old might also enjoy Ulalena.

We took our 5 and 7 year old kayaking with us in South Carolina, though Hawaiian waters are routinely choppier than SC waters.

It's controversial, but swimming with the dolphins at Hilton Waikoloa might be fun if they're old enough.

When we went on our catamaran cruise last time, we saw lots of dolphins. I'd trust a catamaran with young kids. Sailboats are great, but not with younger kids.
We've done Ulalena before having kids.. great show. My wife wants to go on a dinner cruise.. is the catamaran cruise choppy.. we went on one years ago and basically it was motion sickness for me.. wasn't worth it.. hopefully we can find a stable boat where I can enjoy it a bit more.. but with a 1 year old, may not work. Thanks.. this must be a pretty difficult subject with a 1 year old and 5 year old what to do..

Another question.. with Kiluaea blowing its top.. how's the air quality in Kohala coast?
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Old Mar 8, 11, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
We've done Ulalena before having kids.. great show. My wife wants to go on a dinner cruise.. is the catamaran cruise choppy.. we went on one years ago and basically it was motion sickness for me.. wasn't worth it.. hopefully we can find a stable boat where I can enjoy it a bit more..
I suffer from motion sickness but usually have no difficulty on a catamaran. But I'd take Dramamine just in case.

I originally read that your kids were 5 and 8. 5 and 1 is even trickier!
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Old Mar 9, 11, 3:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Recreation View Post
I suffer from motion sickness but usually have no difficulty on a catamaran. But I'd take Dramamine just in case.

I originally read that your kids were 5 and 8. 5 and 1 is even trickier!
Did I type in 5 and 8.. I meant 5 and 1..

We love it on the islands, and this young there's a bit more flexibility compared to when the kids both attend school. Plus booking 4 tickets on Aeroplan miles will be really tricky.

So Expert Flyer I keep hearing about.. is there a fee to use the services?.. May need it as our kids grow older, and family grows bigger.. hence more tickets required to go to the islands.
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Old Mar 10, 11, 5:35 am
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Originally Posted by Ancien Maestro View Post
Did I type in 5 and 8.. I meant 5 and 1..
No, you typed it correctly. I misread it.

ExpertFlyert costs between $5 and $10/month, depending on the level of service. Never tried it because I have most of my miles on one airline.
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Old Mar 11, 11, 12:06 pm
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Maui:
Sugar Cane Train -- hands down best attraction (outside pool and beach) for young kids.
Kids were in absolute heaven. Even their Thomas the Train Souvenirs are cheaper than the mainland?! Even kind of fun for the adults.

Kona:
I would skip Volcano. It is just a lot of driving and just not the same payoff for kids. Old lava tubes and park are nice but young ones have limited attention span.

I would recommend Punaluu Bakery. I think it is delicious.
Also dinner for adults at Merriman's. It is downright amazing and so reasonably priced. By far best meal I had on Kona. The cost could have been double and I'd be just as happy.
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Old Mar 11, 11, 5:00 pm
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My two kids have been to those two islands at ages 6,8,10 and 1,3,5 - my experiences:

Maui Ocean Center - yes, we go every time
Dolphin/Whale cruise - fun off Napali on Kauai, didn't do it on Maui/BI, but the kids enjoyed it as long as there are animals to see
Sugar cane train - they were bored, we were bored.
Baby Beach in Lahaina - lots and lots of beaches, hard to go wrong. Snorkling was popular with both from age 3 up
maui Golf and Sports Park - right outside the ocean center? We haven't been there, but the glow-in-the-dark indoor mini-golf in Lahaina was a huge hit with everyone
Weekend Hula show @Lahaina Cannery Mall when the kids dance - didn't go
Hyatt Lobby..penguins, flamingos, swans and african cranes - didn't go
Hana Lava Tubes - yes, very popular. Much more involved than the Thurston tubes.
"Seven secrate pools" in Hana...familes sit in the shallows of the water - they enjoyed wading in the pools, but it was a long trip.

Other popular trips:
Road to Hana, especially wading at the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa (water is a bit rough for "swimming")
Waterfalls on BI - Akaka, Umaumau triple falls and the surrounding World Botanical Garden
Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation tour - biggest hit of all - they mourned when the closing was announced and rejoiced when the closing was cancelled. Take the early tour. Go early in your trip, take a bunch of 5 ripeness pineapples back to your room, chill, and enjoy for the rest of your trip. One of the best things I've ever eaten.
Sunrise from Haleakala, hiking through the trail of many different types of trees at one of the stops on the way down.
Sugar Museum
Iao Valley for a picnic
Submarine trip
Glassblowing at a small shop in Makawao, if you stop there coming down from Haleakala
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Old Apr 8, 11, 6:17 am
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Big Island
Browns Beach House restaurant at the Fairmont Orchid is really good.

Maui
Capische Italian in Wailea very good
Spago highly overrated
New MonkeyPod Kitchen in Wailea is fun for pupus and all the beers on tap
Food Ok atmosphere fun
As always the Waterfront restaurant in Maalaea is good.
Lunch best value and good quality is Cafe O'Lei in Kihei
Best lunch items include chicken lettuce wraps, hot seared steak salad and their fresh fish daily special
All those are below 10 dollars each !
Best of all, it's not a mainland chain restaurant
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