Magazine article Sunset

Where Children Can Discover Hawaii

Magazine article Sunset

Where Children Can Discover Hawaii

Article excerpt

Where children can discover Hawaii

Bringing young children to visit Honolulu museums can be difficult. Some museums don't allow preschoolers. Others welcome them but have little in the way of displays that would interest them.

But at the Bishop Museum--Polynesia's most eminent research facility--two permanent exhibits are geared especially to children. The Hall of Discovery and the Shell Room help youngsters ages 4 through 13 learn about Hawaii by making, doing, playing, and touching.

The Hall of Discovery offers dozens of action-oriented displays and projects. Children can wiggle into a fabric shark sleeping bag or stick their heads, arms, and feet out from under a real giant turtle shell. Rubber stamps of fish, coral, shells, and seaweed are at hand for building a coral reef community on paper.

Other displays invite youngsters to make petroglyph rubbings, play Hawaiian musical instruments, touch a silversword leaf or a starfish. Hall hours are 9 to noon weekdays, also 1 to 4 Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 10:30 to 2 Saturdays and the first Sunday of the month.

The Shell Room houses Honolulu's principal public collection of shells, most from Hawaiian waters. But for children, the fun is in hearing sea tales and stories of the Islands' origin from the docent, Commander William Christensen. There are conch shells to blow and a shark's jawbone to feel. Though most shells are in glass cases, Christensen will bring out a box of ones for children to touch--and to choose one to take home. …

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