Sprawled out across 42 acres, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a one-of-a-kind Polynesian-themed open-air park and living museum. Located in the northeast of Oahu, Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center focuses on seven Polynesian island nations, each with their own traditional village that visitors can explore.
The seven Polynesian islands that are represented at the center are Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and the Marquesas. Their individual villages are laid out in a way that makes it easy to explore one after the other, providing visitors with a unique insight into some of the true treasures of the South Pacific. Each village features cultural activities, demonstrations, and arts and crafts that come from their island, resulting in an excitingly diverse experience. From learning how to make coconut milk with your bare hands at the Samoa village to trying out the traditional log drum of Fiji to being taught a few basic hula movements, this is a great way to immerse yourself in authentic Polynesian culture. The center has recently introduced some new activities to some of the villages, with the most popular being learning how to make fire by rubbing two sticks together at the Samoa village, practicing Tahitian spear throwing with the locals, and taking a canoe tour all the way from one end of the center to the other.
The luau is a tradition that dates back to ancient Hawaii, and the Polynesian Cultural Center’s award-winning Ali’i Luau is a fantastic way to take part in an authentic Hawaiian celebration. Set against a backdrop of lush tropical gardens, cascading waterfalls and a shimmering lagoon, the luau is held in a covered outdoor venue, with lively Hawaiian entertainment to enjoy alongside the authentic Hawaiian feast. The food is usually the highlight for most visitors, with the menu featuring dishes such as Kalua pork that has been slow-cooked over a stone fire, Shoyu-glazed chicken, Panko-crusted tropical fish with a tangy lemon butter sauce, and Poke, as well as a tantalizing selection of starches, side dishes and desserts. Since the Polynesian Cultural Center strives to be as authentic as possible, no alcohol is served at the luau, or anywhere else on the site.
Ha: Breath of Life
Every evening at 7:30pm, the Polynesian Cultural Center hosts an award-winning show in their 2800-seat theater, making it the only place on the island that casts over one hundred performers each and every night. Telling the story of islander Mana, the show combines traditional Polynesian dance with surround sound music, flaming knives, and special effects, with each production costing around $3 million to put on. Tickets are available by reservation only, so be sure to book well in advance if you want to be guaranteed some of the best seats in the house.
Since the tours and activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center only begin at noon, this gives visitors plenty of time to explore the surrounding areas in the morning. After this, the center will no doubt keep you busy for the rest of the day, with its village tours, traditional luau and award-winning show all worth experiencing.