Finding family friendly O‘ahu activities that everyone will enjoy, especially the little ones, can be challenging. This blog post provides you 5 things to do with your children on O‘ahu that will make your entire trip an event to remember.

1. Polynesian Cultural Center 

photo of making fire with sticks in Samoa village at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Making fire with sticks is one of the cultural activities in Samoa village at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Your first choice should be the Polynesian Cultural Center, the top-rated paid attraction on the island of O‘ahu. There are so many family friendly things the Center offers your entire family! Definitely block out an full day for this stop alone. At the Center, you can learn about the different cultures of 6 Polynesian islands: Hawaii, Aotearoa, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and Tonga. There are hands-on activities, presentations, demonstrations and exhibits at each represented island which provides an accurate and educational depiction of these beautiful cultures. You can go from island to island at the Center and experience as many activities as you would like, or you can concentrate those just the items that interest you most. Visit to purchase some tickets for you and your family.   

For an extra fee, the Center offers an exclusive Circle Island Tour that will take you from Honolulu across the island past a number of notable historical sites and delivers you at the the Center just in time to enter the gates for a day of culture and entertainment. Following your visit, you will board the same vehicle, which will deliver you back to Honolulu. You can check out tickets here.  

While at the Center, make sure you allow your group enough time to visit the Hukilau Marketplace, where you will find souvenirs, clothing, treats, home decor, jewelry and specialty items sure to please everyone in your family! There is also a large selection of food trucks and the popular Pounders Restaurant, with it’s elevated island menu, in the Marketplace. Click here to view the different businesses.  


2. Dole Plantation 

Photo of Dole Plantation front entrance. One of the 5 things to do with your children.

The Dole Plantation, located on the North Shore of O‘ahu, offers you and your entire family enjoyable and friendly activities. Photo from the Polynesian Cultural Center Archive.

After a busy day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, you might want to spend your next day at the Dole Plantation. This is super kid-friendly and fun to learn about the history of pineapples in Hawai`i. You can take a tour around the plantation, and don’t forget to grab a dole whip afterwards. Visit the Dole Plantation site and get yourself some tickets.  


3. Kualoa Ranch

photo of Kualoa Ranch beautiful landscape. One of the 5 things to do with your children.

Jaw-dropping Kualoa Ranch, is famous for its beautiful natural landscape and many adventures. Photo Credit:

A visit to O‘ahu with your family wouldn’t be complete without stopping at Kualoa Ranch, known for filming the famous movies and TV shows. Its landscape is beautiful and the things to do at or around the ranch are endless. Click here to see the list of available activities.  


4. Honolulu Zoo 

photo of Honolulu Zoo front entrance with a mom and 2 kids walking out the Zoo. One of the 5 things to do with your children.

Take your kids to Honolulu Zoo for a fun adventure! Photo Credit: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

If you are staying in Waikiki, the Honolulu Zoo is a must do activity that is close to most tourist attractions in Waikiki. The Zoo has a huge variety of interesting animals, from a Galapagos tortoise to alligators, and even gharial. This place is sure to be a hit with little kids. Click here for ticket options at the Zoo. 


5. Shave Ice at Matsumoto’s 

Photo of 2 bowls of Matsumoto shave ice taken in from of M. Matsumoto entrance sign. One of the 5 things to do with your children

Cool down with a YUMMY shave ice from Matsumoto, located in Haleiwa, Oahu. Photo Credit: Matsumoto

Last, make your way up to the North Shore and be sure to stop by Matsumoto Shave Ice. This place is famous for its delicious shave ice flavors. Check out the menu if you want to take a look for yourself.  


Bio of Amber Helfrich, Brigham Young University – Hawaii student and Guest Blogger

Amber HelfrichAmber is majoring in political science at Brigham Young University –  Hawaii. She has lived on O‘ahu for 3 years and has loved every minute of it. She spends her free time surfing, eating yummy food and exploring the mountains. Amber is a marketing minor with a passion for digital marketing and social media.