Regardless of having a child or not, Darren and I are just two big kids. We often choose our accommodations based on the pool, the water slide, water sports or other fun activities and the proximity to the beach. We are out enjoying the grounds and barely see the room unless it’s time for sleep. Unique adventures are the icing on the cake and we pack in as many as humanly possible. With 5 pools, a lagoon filled with water activities and local tours offered from the hotel grounds, Hilton Hawaiian Village is the ideal resort for our fun-loving family.
With five sparkling pools to choose from, there is definitely something for the whole family at Hilton Hawaiian Village but Paradise Pool is where it’s at for kids and kids at heart. The 5,000 square foot family activity pool boasts the longest slide in Waikiki and overlooks the Duke Kahanmoku Lagoon.
We took turns between the large and small slides to make sure everyone in the family was having fun. I ran to the top of the largest slide and anxiously waited in line. I love the turns on open-air slides but the surprise ending on the covered slide shocked me every time. Equally excited, Darren tried going face first, feet first and on his butt. We usually follow the policy of it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission and no one said we had to go on our butts so we just went with it.
Admittedly, we only looked at the other pools. We’d found our happy place; there was no need to mess with perfection.
Although we could spend days on the slides and never tire of them, we did spend a full afternoon trying the water activities at the Duke Hahanamoku Lagoon, a spectacular five-acre salt-water lagoon featuring a state-of-the-art water circulation system.
Aqua bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, floats and peddle boats dotted the lagoon along with swimmers and snorkelers. As a family, we all enjoyed the kayak and splashed around until our hands were too pruney to hold the paddles.
We took turns playing with Athena and testing out the water activities on our own. While Darren played with Athena, I enjoyed the paddle board and a blow-up float. We make a game out of everything so I tried to race them to the shoreline. They paddled the paddle board and I kicked my legs in the water as I laid back in the round tube. I might have won if Athena, and Darren, didn’t splash me with the paddles. Let’s just call it a tie… or better known as me coming in way behind. When it was Darren’s turn to take a spin on the board on his own, I took Athena and a new friend of hers in a kayak. We slowly made our way around an island in the middle of the lagoon. The two girls were paddling so it took a while but we had no where to be and the girls had a great time.
I sometimes wonder if other adults think that we are absolutely insane, but I’m having too much fun to put more thought into it. I’ll stop playing when I’m too old to physically do it anymore. Until then I’ll enjoy the ride.
Local tours and attractions can be booked directly at the hotel so we opted for the Atlantis Submarine tour and the Spirit of Aloha tour to compliment our family adventures.
The Waikiki coastline was waiting for us on the Spirit of Aloha tour. This modern 54-foot catamaran took us to a highly populated turtle reef where we snorkeled with turtles and other marine life. Although Athena didn’t snorkel with us, we took turns in the water and on the boat with her. I went first and returned at the half way point to give Darren a turn snorkeling. As usual, I jumped off the boat rather than using the stairs. Hundreds of fish awaited me just below the surface and two giant turtles gracefully swam by me during my adventure. Darren saw similar amounts of fish and several more turtles. For the rest of the cruise, we relaxed on deck as a family. The calming, refreshing waves rocked us gently as we took in the sights and sun.
The next morning, we climbed aboard the Atlantis XIV, the world’s largest hi-tech passenger submarine. Descending beyond 100 feet underwater, we experienced marine life up close. Sunken ships, airplanes and other artificial reefs were on the bottom waiting to be discovered. Athena and Darren sat with their faces next to the glass; mesmerized by the schools of fish and sunken treasures, they excitedly pointed at the majestic world before us. I could see Darren’s inquisitive nature written all over Athena’s face. At that moment, they looked identical.
You’re never too old to play and enjoy life. In every great parent, there is a child waiting to play a game. At Hilton Hawaiian Village, I anticipate every day as if it’s my birthday and I’m turning 5 again.