Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park

Hawaiian Waters is a decent time for everyone, but a great time especially for kids around 10 years old or so. Parents with older kids might want to consider other fun, and those with young kids infant-sized can still have a good time but might want to think about the admission prices before, um, taking the plunge.

Getting There

Getting to the park requires a car, or a lot of patience, as it is located at the extreme western terminus of highway H-1. It takes a good 40 minutes by car from Waikiki and a whole lot longer if you go by city bus, though that is possible for people who really like buses. The park also has some ticket and direct private tour bus combos that might work out. If you are driving, take highway H-1 west to Exit 1 and then find your way to the north or inland side of the highway, near the big satellite dishes. If you find yourself near a K-Mart and Home Depot, you are on the wrong side of the highway. The water park bizareely has no signs, so look for the satellite dishes or enjoy K-Mart.

Cost

Prices are on the web site, but in 2005 ran US$35 for adults and $25 for kiddies. Like the airline seat you flew in on, however, nobody actually pays that price to get in, so look for discount coupons in the free tourist magazines distributed all over Waikiki, in the magazine that came with your rental car, at Burger King and on military bases if you are a military family. Parking is free and everyone is nice; the woman at the ticket booth loaned me a dime so I didn't have to have 90 cents in coins in my pocket to lose on the water slides. Cool.

Inside Story

Here's the good part; Once inside, there are a bunch of water slides to enjoy. As mentioned above, the slides are not the fastest we've ever ridden, and so seemed awesome to our ten year old and a little tame to our 14 year old and our 45 year old. Most are enjoyed on your backside, some with rafts or mats supplied. The best we found was called the Shaka, named after the two-finger Hawaiian finger gesture which is not obscene. The ride is enjoyed in pairs, with a raft. After climbing a three story tower, you make a vertical drop followed by an ascent up the other side—the slide is sort of U-shaped and sprayed with water. You slip-slide back and forth a few times. Get the fat guy up front on the raft for a faster ride.

Other highlights include the “Flyin' Hawaiian” which slides you downward and then drops you from about five feet high into a pool, and the semi-swift “Cliffhanger,” which allows up to four people to race each other down a long, straight hill laying on their stomachs on foam mats. We went on a Sunday over a holiday weekend and still we never waited more than a few minutes for anything. Check out the whole set on their brochure. The park is not that big, and the rides are in a kind of semi-circle, though the walking is kept within reason, though the gravity requried to ride downhill means a lot of climbing.

All the rides have signs describing how deep the water is, though parents of short kids should note that a minumum height of 48 inches is required to do most anything fun, and the height rules are indeed enforced by the many dutiful but slightly bored acting lifeguards. Some rides allow just-slightly-too-short kids to qualify by passing a simple swim test, so if your heirs are just an inch or two short of the minimum but comfortable in the water they'll do fine. Free lifejackets are available at the locker rental place, just ask. With the exception of the “Flyin' Hawaiian,” which emptied into a 12ft deep pool, most rides ended up in three feet or less of warm, energetically chlorinated water.

Some Fun for All Ages

For smaller kids, down to infant size, there are several things to enjoy. The main one is a special part of the park just for little ones with shallow pools, non-turgid water spraying “cannons” and some very basic slides. The water varies from inches to no more than about two feet deep and was all very easy going. Swim diapers are required and are sold in the park if you did not bring your own. The only question would be if playing in what is basically a very nice bath tub is worth the admission prices and trip out to the water park. Your call. The water is very warm everywhere.

For older kids, say in their 40's, the park has a couple of nice features. In the center is a kind of island that sells beer and a few mixed drinks with pineapple slices and goofy paper umbrellas, and features hot tubs that do not allow anyone under 21 to enter. The area is somewhat isolated so the good news is that kids won't wander in on their own, while the bad news is that you can't relax there and keep an eye on the kids anywhere else.

Parent Alert

In the only cheesy move of the day, the park has you enter and exit through the darn gift shop. At the entrance area you also pass by several other money grabbing opportunities, selling junky stuff and cheapo water squirters. Walk swiftly. The snack bar inside has the legally-mandated theme park items including fried chicken, hot dogs and burgers, surprisingly at about the same prices you've enjoyed overpaying for in Waikiki. No food is allowed to be brought into the park, but you can get your hand stamped and go out for food and return. Water shoes are a good idea, though flip flops will also work. Most of the rides are in the sun, so grease up with sunscreen.

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