Pearl Harbor, Dole Plantation, and More
Today would be our running around day. We planned to visit Pearl Harbor, the Dole Plantation, Byodoin Temple, and Lanikai Beach. None of those took large amounts of time, but they weren’t exactly close together either. Thankfully, we managed to make it to all of them, and we didn’t even feel rushed.
We started off early in the morning and set out for Pearl Harbor. We had tried to buy tickets in advance, but they had been all sold out. However, they sell 1,300 walk-up tickets a day, so we made sure to be there early to ensure that we would be able to get one of those tickets. I would have been so disappointed if we had gone to Hawaii and I hadn’t been able to visit Pearl Harbor. Thankfully though, it wasn’t a problem. There was a decent sized line when we arrived, but we were still able to get a ticket without a problem. However, we weren’t allowed to bring any bags inside the memorial, so we left my camera case in the car, but I was still able to bring in my camera.
Once we received our tickets, we went inside and decided to head over to the beginning of the tour. The tour begins with a short movie, giving an explanation of the events that led up to the bombing and exactly what happened when the bombs were dropped. Even though I had learned about Pearl Harbor in school, it was never something that we went real in-depth to, so the movie gave me a lot of the background I needed to fully understand and appreciate the memorial.
Once the movie was over, we boarded the boat that would take us over to the memorial for the USS Arizona. For those who don’t know, the USS Arizona exploded during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, killing over 1,000 people. While many other ships were repaired after the bombing, the USS Arizona was damaged behind repair and was instead dedicated to all those who died in the attack. The ship is still in the water where it sank, and the memorial was built above it on the surface of the water.
Once at the memorial, you walk up the ramp to the inside. In the memorial, there is a big hole in the center, allowing you to look down into the water and see part of the USS Arizona. From the windows you can also see different parts of the USS Arizona sticking out of the water. If you look closely at the water, you can even see signs that the USS Arizona is still leaking oil. A little further into the memorial, there is a wall with the names of all those who died with the USS Arizona.
We decided not to visit the other ships at the memorial. I’m not really a big history buff or anything, and while the bombing of Pearl Harbor was an important event in U.S. history, I don’t have any sort of personal connection to it, so I didn’t feel that visiting the other ships would be overly exciting, at least to me. Instead, we looked around the gift shops for a little bit and then were off to our next destination, the Dole Plantation.
The Dole Plantation was converted into a museum of sorts to honor the boom of pineapples in the 1900’s. There you can take a train tour and see the plantation itself, which features the different stages of pineapples, and you also learn about agricultural history as well as the life of James Dole. Again, not be much of a history buff, we decided to skip the train tour. Dole Plantation also has the world’s largest maze. This sounded cool to do, but we had lots of stuff that we wanted to do today, and being lost in a maze for close to an hour was not how I wanted to spent my time, so we decided to pass on the maze too. We did however go into the gardens. The gardens contained all sorts of different tropical plants and produce such as pineapples, bananas, and more.
When we were done, we decided to explore the store. My mom got the popular pineapple ice cream and she let me try some of it. Let me say, I love sweet food, but that pineapple ice cream was REALLY sweet. While we were in the store, we also got to see a demonstration. The presenter talked about how to determine good pineapples when shopping at grocery stores and such, and then demonstrated an easy way to cut the pineapple and make it presentable for guests.
After we had our fill of the Dole Plantation, we headed to Byodoin Temple, which is a replica of the original Byodoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan. I’ve been to the original, but I was excited to go to this one if only because it was a chance for me to share Japanese culture with my mom without dragging her all the way to Japan. I was even more excited to find that the temple was almost a perfect replica, not just a makeshift or downsized version. I spent a decent amount of time taking my mom around the temple and the grounds, pointing out various aspects of Japanese culture.
When we had finally gotten our fill of the temple, we decided to end the day at Lanikai beach. I had heard that this Beach was a great photography spot since it was so beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. I couldn’t believe that the ocean could be such a light colored blue the ocean and that the water was so clear. We forgot to bring our bathing suits, but that didn’t stop us from getting our feet wet and walking down the beach. If there hadn’t been so many people around, it could have been a scene straight out of a movie. I definitely wish I’d had more time at that beach to just lie around or go swimming.
Once the sun started to go down, we figured that it was time to head back to our hotel, but decided to take a little pit stop on the way. My mom and I are both fans of the TV Show “Hawaii Five-O” so we decided to stop at Wini’s Jewlery at the Hilton Hawaiian village. It’s a jewelry store, but tucked away in a corner is some Hawaii Five-O merchandise that you can get as souvenirs. It’s worth checking out if you’re interested in the show.