Hawaii is full of wonderful places to visit. A friend of our daughter’s noted that our two week visit would not even be enough time to see Oahu as he was still finding new places to explore after two years on the island. He was right but since we will have future opportunities to visit, we decided not to rush from place to place just to say we had been there. The slower pace meant we found some places that are probably overlooked by most tourists. One of these was Moanalua Gardens.
The Gardens are tucked into a neat little 24 acre parcel of land near the Interstate H-201 exit for Tripler Army Medical Center. My guess is that most tourists whiz past on their way to Pearl Harbor or the North Shore. We found the park while out walking. It is a perfect little green oasis for relaxation, reflection or a quite walk in the park.
Once owned by the Hawaiian royal family, Moanalua Gardens is now a privately owned park. The park is the site of the Kamehameha V Cottage. The cottage was the home of Prince Lot Kapuāiwa, who would later become King Kamehameha V. The Gardens also host the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival. We missed this by about two months but now we have another reason to visit in the future.
The koi and duck pond are a fun place to pass time feeding the totally domesticated wild life. The real wild life are the small children who go insane as the ducks and fish approach them for food pellets. If their screams of delight are too much for you then walk across the lawn to the monkeypod trees for a little more solitude.
I had no idea what a monkeypod tree was until I visited the Gardens. As you can see they are huge with fern like leaves that open with the morning sun and close at sundown. In Japan these are called Hitachi trees. This one is so impressive that the Hitachi Corporation pays the Gardens for the rights to use its likeness in their corporate marketing.
Alla found the park to be a great place to paint. She spent a morning there painting. Her subject, the Chinese Pavilion, sets near the duck pond. The passing children gave her high marks for her work. One gentleman noted she was very talented and suggested a local community college as a good place to take classes. He was even more impressed when he learned that she taught art at a community college.
Moanalua Gardens will not displace Pearl Harbor, the North Shore or Waikiki as must see places in Oahu. Still, if you have the time, it is a wonderful place to visit, relax and remember that one of the reasons you take a vacation is to unwind, reflect and enjoy yourself. After you spend a quite hour in the park, then you can rush back to your list of must see places that need to be ticked off before returning home.