Before starting last month’s tour of advent and Christmas music, I shared about our trip to Hawaii in October but only got as far as our first stop on the big Island. As I look out the window from my home office today at dull, grey skies and more rain, it seems like a good time to remember the other stops on our Hawaiian getaway.
After a first day in Hilo, we sailed overnight to Honolulu, arriving just after sunrise on Sunday, October 8. The ship docked next to the Aloha Tower, close to the historic and business districts downtown.
I had done a fair bit of research about what was happening in the city that day and we started with a choral service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral. We received the warmest of welcomes and enjoyed the very fine choir and pipe organ (things that truthfully appeal to us more than cocktails at Waikiki).
Incredible wall of stained glass at the Cathedral’s entrance
Our research also came across very high ratings for the Bishop Museum, the designated Hawai’i State Museum of Natural and Cultural history.
replica Polynesian Moai statue on the front lawn of the Bishop Museum
We hopped the city bus downtown and spent a full afternoon taking in the museum,science center and planetarium.
I was always vaguely aware of Polynesian migration patterns but several exhibits in the museum made this incredible history come alive. The planetarium presentation on the Polynesian’s nagvigation by the stars was fascinating- I left the afternoon truly awed by how far and how accurately these brave travelers crossed the Pacific with the most simple of tools and transportation.
Exhibits in the main museum give a great picture of life at different points of Hawaiian history.
I found exhibits on Hawaiian Ali’i (the royal family) particularly interesting. The feathered plumes below, called kahili, were standards used as an honour guard for different Hawaiian kings and queens in the nineteenth century. The primary motivation behind the Bishop Museum’s formation in 1889 was a desire to preserve the Hawaiian royal legacy following the death of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, one of the last members of the House of Kamehameha which ruled from 1794 until 1874 (it was succeeded by the House of Kalākaua which ruled until the kingdom was overthrown and annexed by the United States in 1893).
Kings from the House of Kamehameha wore cloaks made from small feathers as a sign of their power and authority. These cloaks, which each had a distinct pattern specific to its wearer, were astounding seen closeup.
The science center is wonderfully interactive for children- it was very quiet during our walk through and I had great fun with the hot wax lava flow exhibit.
The grounds around the Bishop Museum are full of local flora and fauna that we greatly enjoyed, despite having to duck inside during several afternoon rain showers.
Getting to the Bishop Museum from downtown was fairly simple via city bus and we left with a much greater awareness and appreciation for Hawaiian history. We highly recommend it!