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Kona with kids

NYC
3 posts
2 reviews
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Kona with kids

We are going in 10 days and are staying at the Four seasons, but don't want to eat there all the time. We will have a car and 6 and 3 yo w/us. Any restaurant recs? How about excursions, will do Volcano nat'l park, anything else not to be missed with kids? Thanks!

Palm Springs...
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1. Re: Kona with kids

your children are too young to be accepted on most all tours...except the Atlantas Sub. and Big Island Air tour. You are limited by the very young ages and insurance restrictions. I would not do snorkeling at that age

Family dining Kona: refer to the thread Hawaii with kids...Big Island Grill and Tantes.

The volcano is huge...nut the kids to young to walk around the rough terrain.

NYC
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2. Re: Kona with kids

So do you think we should skip Volcano Nat'l park? My 6 yo is going to swim with the dolphins, fwiw. I'm fine to just hang at the hotel, but don't want to miss any great stuff. I'm okay with doing stuff ourselves w/o a tour if you think we are better off. Thanks again for your help.

Kona, Hawaii
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3. Re: Kona with kids

Aloha, here are some suggestions you may want to check out and see if you feel your family will enjoy them, they are for all over the island:

Volcano National Park: Considered a drive through Volcano there are a few walks your children would enjoy like Thurston Lava Tube & Devastation Trail. It is a long trip but if you stop along the way to see other things you should be fine. I am sure there will be more of the volcano you will want to see but hey that is part of having children.

http://www.nps.gov/havo

http://www.nps.gov/havo/forkids/index.htm

Kamakahonu aka "Kids' Beach"

Is between the Kailua pier and the King Kamehameha hotel right on Alii Drive. Near there (directly behind the King Kamehameha Hotel) is Ahuena Heiau

Parker Ranch

http://www.parkerranch.com/

Atlantis Submarine

http://www.atlantisadventures.com/kona.cfm

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park

http://www.nps.gov/puho/

'Imiloa Astronomy Center

www.imiloahawaii.org/

SeaHorse Farm

http://www.seahorse.com/

Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

http://www.hilozoo.com/

Kahalu'u Beach Park if yo want to have them start to snorkel this is the place (near Kailua-Kona town)

Places to eat with children:

Quinns: laid back, great fries

Kona Brew Co.: Pizza and salad

Los Habanero’s: Keauhou shopping center, great to take to go to the beach

NYC
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2 reviews
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4. Re: Kona with kids

Thanks so much for your suggestions! My kids are NYers, so they are used to walking everywhere, but I am definitely mindful of only doing what they can handle. Thanks for all the links!

Big Island, Hawaii
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5. Re: Kona with kids

Congratulations on your excellent choice of hotel, the best one in the state. I understand you not wanting to eat there all the time, but the food there is the best on the island as well. You have several choices, Pahu'ia (breakfast and dinner only...the more expensive, formal dinner choice), Alan Wong's Hualalai Grille (dinner only, very good, overlooks the golf course, slightly less expensive than Pahu'ia and slightly less elegant, but still fine dining), and then the best choice with kids, the Beach Tree, which is open for dinner and lunch. Don't miss the Saturday night buffet on the sand, the Surf, Sand, and Stars. Great for kids too.

Off the property your dining options decline rapidly. The FS can pack you lunches for your day trips, which is a good option. Other off-site recommendations will depend on what your day excursions are going to be. A daytrip to Volcano with children your age will be long and arduous, and I don't know if they'll enjoy it all that much, although my six-year old likes it. Plan on a 10-12-hour day, and the drive is tortuous with little kids. As much as I love VNP, it night be better to save that for a future trip when the kids are older or else stay a night down there.

Another day excursion with small ones might be a drive to the Hamakua Coast to visit Akaka and Rainbow falls and the Waipio Valley overlook. Stop for lunch in Waimea at Tako Taco, Huli Sue's, Solimene's, lots of good little places.

There is a lot on the FS property and within walking distance as well. I think 6 and even 3 is a great age to start your kids snorkeling. All four of my children were comfortable snorkeling by six years old. Luckily at the Four Seasons there is a beautiful little manmade saltwater snorkel lagoon with all sorts of cool stuff including eagle rays where you can start out your kids without having to worry about ocean conditions.

The Kids for All Seasons program would be fun for your six year old (they don't take them younger than five, although you can arrange for babysitting on the property for both the 3- and 6-year olds if you want a night out or a little time to yourself), they have a great game room, take them fishing, etc.

Kukio beach is an easy walk south of the Four Seasons and has a great beach for kids on the far south end. Tons of turtles haul out along the larger beach on the north end of Kukio (but please don't touch! :-). That long beach surrounds Kukio Bay which is good swimming. Keep walking along that beach and over a short lava walkway and you're on a large sandy area that leads to the public bathrooms and showers and the keiki pond and beach, which has a lovely lava arch and good snorkeling for adults beyond that.

What 'swim with the dolphins' are you talking about? Dolphin Quest at the Hilton? That program has taken a lot of (IMO legitimate) criticism from the Cousteau Society and others for the small size of its dolphin pens and poor health and high mortality rate of its dolphins. FWIW, many people (myself include) wish people wouldn't patronize those programs. The Four Seasons does an excellent job with a variety of programs and demonstrations of local culture and arts, as well as an emphasis on ocean conservation and respecting ocean mammals. You might consider skipping Dolphin Quest and instead have the whole family take a whale watch/dolphin watch boat where these magnificent creatures can be observed in the wild. The FS should be able to suggest a catamaran tour (more comfortable ride) that follows federal guidelines and safety rules (not all Kona tour boats do so) to avoid whale collisions and disturbing dolphins.

Have fun!

Santa Barbara...
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6. Re: Kona with kids

Dolphin Quest is great for kids, they will have the time of their lives. The wild swim programs are surely fun, but it is illegal to swim with wild dolphins on the Big Island.

Washington DC...
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15,528 posts
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7. Re: Kona with kids

famous, "sensitive" dolphin enclosure. Up to that point I'd been interested in the dolphin swims, enjoyed "shows" at acquariums, etc. Had not thought much about the sensibilities and inter-species ethics.

The dolphin pen was rather small. You could hear the surf pounding just a few yards away. I thought about those captive animals, intelligent, great hearing...hearing the sound of the surf all the time. I wondered if they knew what it was. (The captives are Atlantic bottlenose, but nevertheless I found it sad to think of them, knowing the open ocean was yards away....forever.)

I started crying and could not stop. We left.

The Hilton still creeps me out. In the ensuing years, we have eaten at restaurants there a few time but never gone near the dolphins and it hurts me to think about them. This is my perspective.

Thousand Oaks...
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8. Re: Kona with kids

We were in Kona with another family 2 years ago (kids aged 8-11). I asked them to rate things we did so here are their suggestions.

1. Seaquest Snorkel Tour with Capt. Randy...a MUST do. A rafty sort of boat that takes to the hilight snorkel spots. He is a GEM with the kids. They got cold and he got them back on the boat and made palm tree swivel sticks shaped like fish so the adults could snorkel. Your kids will love it. We did too, can't say enough about it. If your kids aren't super confident in water, just grab a noodle at the Safeway for them to use.

2. Sheraton to watch Manta Rays...its a freebe. Just look at other posts here, they swim right up to the lights and it was a fab experience. Please note that the food (at the bar) was a mess here so plan on eating later. There is also a laui that you can see from the balcony.

3. Volcano Park - Plan on an all day trip. We drove around the whole park, did lava tube, hikes, etc. Was very interesting. Wear closed toed shoes, the kids will be jumping everywhere. Its very windy with no snack stops, so pick up water and snacks along the way. On the way home we stopped at the Southernmost Bar in the US (can't remember exactly what is was called). Great mac and cheese for the kids and beer was ice cold. Be aware that alot of the spots close early and if your like us, you'll want to stay late at the park to see the lava. Be aware at the park, if you go down to where the lava is flowing, its quite a hike and you cross lots of lava rocks to get there. You hike back in the dark, so if you plan on that bring sturdy flashlights. Our kids weren't up for that, so we just saw the steam coming up from the ocean.

On the way there, please stop at the black sand beaches. The kids will love the black sand, its very coarse. When we were there in July, there were tons of sea turtles everywhere. Actually, every time we snorkeled, it was with turtles. There is a pretty safe snorkel spot (close in Kona) by White Sands Beach on Ali Drive.

4. Went one day to the "other" great hotel. It has a fun, white beach that has no waves. Good place to just float in the ocean.

5. Plan on hitting some of the outdoor markets that are in town. We gave the kids $$ and told them to find presents for friends back home. They have great rain sticks and wood carvings.

6. Eating...hate to admit it, but my kids loved Bubba Gumps. Request a table outside...I know they are everywhere but somehow, sitting looking at the ocean in Hawaii, having drinks and seafood at one end of the table while everyone else is having hamburgers was wonderfull. Get shaved ice in town, everywhere was good. Be aware that the small ones are huge.

Have a great time. We are heading back to Maui after Costa Rica this year.

9. Re: Kona with kids

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