Waimea Valley's Keiki Day
By: Chaz Mihara
13 April 2020
Every Wednesday, Waimea Valley Hiʻipaka LLC drops its admission fee for kids. It's called Kamaʻaina Keiki day. It allows kids from the age of four through 12 to have an opportunity to explore the Botanical gardens, cultural sites, and history of Waimea Valley.
Keiki Day started four years ago in efforts to bring more of the local community and visitors to the valley. People can bring the whole family to enjoy the valley. Staff members show and demonstrate games, and cultural practices. The games are located at the Hawaiʻi game site which is located behind the upper meadow about half way into the valley trails. There is Konane which is checkers in Hawaiian. ‘Ulu maika is bowling and moa paheʻe dart sliding.
“I think it's a very special experience” said Kimberly Anguiano, Marketing and Events Manager. “Especially when we have aunties and uncles doing demonstrations where the kids get to interact with them at such a special place."
The valley’s vision is to educate visitors on the history of the valley. They want people to experience and see what it was like living in Hawaiʻi back in the day. In the future, kids will get workbooks that will have scavenger hunts, coloring pages, and simple words in the Hawaiian language.
The valley has such a peaceful effect when you walk through and see all the beautiful plants. With over 5,000 unique plants, each one is labeled and has information for viewers to enjoy.
Most of the staff members have family ties to the valley. Some are now working in honor of previous family members that have been a part of the valley. Darrilyn is a cultural interpreter at Waimea Valley. One thing that makes the valley special to her is that her grandmother (Kaiona) was born there. At her hale or station she makes coconut headbands to give to visitors. She says the headbands are for good luck. Darrilyn has been working at the valley for over 40 years now. She has learned about many different cultures when she talks to people everyday.
“I ask them things about their own cultures,” said Darrilyn. “So we share cultural interpretations with each others.”
Waimea valley is a big tourist attraction in Hawaiʻi. For Ryan Martin and his family it was the reason they came to the valley on their vacation. Martin and his family are from Saskatoon, Canada where it is below 14 degrees. The weather in Hawaiʻi is something the Martin’s are not used to. In Saskatoon it snows six months out of the year, says Martin. Outdoor activities don’t happen a lot in Saskatoon. When the Marin’s get the chance to do things outdoors they enjoy every second.
“Developing a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits throughout the course of their life” said Martin. “We are trying to instill that in our children from a very young age.”
To learn more about the Kamaʻaina Keiki day at Waimea Valley, visit waimeavalley.com or call 808-638-776.