Ever wonder what the Honolulu Zoo, about one hour from Ko Olina Beach Villas, is like once the visitors leave and the gates close? Every Friday and Saturday evening the zoo offers guided tours between 5:30 and 7:30 PM. Educators lead visitors on a walking tour to learn about and visit with some of their most intriguing animals. Watch some of the animals prepare to sleep, while others are just waking up. Learn about the animals’ biology and behavior, and the zoo’s endangered species conservation efforts.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes and apply mosquito repellent for your adventure! Please note you will have to stay with the group and if your kids’ favorite part of the park is the playground, sorry, that’s not part of the tour.
For more information and to register for a tour, visit https://honoluluzoo.org/twilight-tours/.
Hiking the Kaʻena Point Trail, about 50 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas, is like taking a long walk. The trail was originally used by Oʻahu Railway and Land Co. to transport sugar cane. The trail runs nearly 5 miles (there and back) to Oʻahu’s westernmost point.
Today, Kaʻena Point is a protected bird sanctuary for Laysan albatrosses. Kaʻena Point delivers incredible oceanside vistas with crashing waves and great views of the Leeward Coast. Along the way, you’ll see tide pools, hear blowholes, and come across a rock arch.
At the end of the trail you can visit the bird sanctuary, learn about the beautiful albatross and, if you’re lucky, maybe even spot one. When you go inside, be sure to close the gates behind you. The rocky beach at Ka‘ena Point is secluded and a popular resting spot for monk seals.
Kaʻena Point is literally at the end of the road. Take the H1 freeway west and continue as it becomes Farrington Highway. Just past Keawaula Beach Park, park in the dirt area to the right.
There is no shade along this nearly 5-mile walk. Bring water, wear sunscreen, and a hat. It is an easy hike, but it’s long, so give yourself two to four hours to get there and back.
The Honolulu Festival (about 40 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas) runs from March 8 to March 10, 2019. The festival showcases the rich and vibrant blend of Asia, Pacific, and Hawaiian cultures to the rest of the world. The three-day event features performers and artisans from various countries and regions such as Japan, Australia, Tahiti, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Hawaii, and the mainland United States. Events and activities of the Honolulu Festival take place close to the city center and admission to all of the events is free.
Throughout the Honolulu Festival, you can enjoy various cultural performances at three different locations: Hawaii Convention Center, Ala Moana Shopping Center, and Waikiki Beach Walk. Be sure to explore the Craft Fair with over 100 booths from Japan, Hawaii, and other Pacific countries.
The festival concludes with the Grand Parade followed by the Nagaoka Fireworks. The parade fills the streets with spectacular cultural performances and floats. The Nagaoka Fireworks show will light up the sky over Waikiki Beach beginning at 8:30 PM.
For more information about event times and locations, visit https://www.honolulufestival.com/en/event/.
Taste the history of Hawaii with a unique, contemporary twist at Mud Hen Water in Wai’alae (about 40 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas).
Mud Hen Water is a relaxed local restaurant that’s perfect for a casual dinner with a few friends. Chef and native Hawaiian Ed Kenney reinvents the flavors of Japan, Korea, China, and Hawaii itself.
Because of Kenney’s commitment to supporting local, the menu changes daily and features in-season ingredients. The restaurant sources locally-caught fish and produce only found on the islands. The diverse menu offers memorable plates for every type of diner.
For more information and to make a reservation, visit https://www.mudhenwater.com/.
Panda Dimsum serves up the most adorable steamed buns about 30 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas. The sweet and savory bun designs include pandas, bees, hedgehogs, frogs, pigs, sunflowers, mushrooms, and more. They also include characters from movies and pop culture, including Minions and Angry Birds.
The buns are tasty, steamed hot when you order, and the creatures’ coloring comes from vegetables. Some buns have vegetable fillings and some have meaty offerings. On the sweet side, the pandas and sunflowers are filled with custard, the Minions contain red beans, the Angry Birds are stuffed with lotus, and the bees sweet potato.
Located in Chinatown Market Place at 1199 Dillingham Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817 Kalihi (808) 429-2018
The best fruits, vegetables, plants, and more can be found every Saturday morning about 55 minutes from the Ko Olina Beach Villas at the KCC Farmers’ Market.
The farmers and food producers are in attendance to talk about their products, how they grow them, and how to prepare them. Visitors stroll through the many aisles of locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and plants to see the abundance Oahu has to offer. The market also features fresh flowers, handmade items, a variety of live entertainment, and featured restaurants who prepare delicious plates each week. Guests will also find fresh-baked scones, oatcakes, and other baked items to enjoy with a cup of Hawaii-grown coffee.
Every Saturday from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM
For more information, visit https://www.kapiolani.hawaii.edu/project/farmers-market/.
Enjoy a big Thanksgiving meal without turning on the oven or leaving the Ko Olina resort. Holiday dining options include elaborate buffets, special prix fixe holiday menus, as well as a sliced turkey plate with all of the usual sides. Some require reservations and some do not. A full list of the dining options is below.
Roy’s - A special prix fixe holiday menu will be served. Reservations are recommended. Contact the restaurant directly at 808-676-7697 or visit http://www.royshawaii.com/roys-ko-olina.html for more information.
Four Seasons Resort
Mina’s Fish House - Chef Garrick Mendoza’s special dinner feast will be served from 4PM to 10PM. For more information or to make a reservation, visit https://www.michaelmina.net/restaurants/hawaii/minas-fish-house/#events.
La Hiki Kitchen – Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet will be served from 11AM to 2:30PM (last seating at 2PM). A special dinner menu will be served from 5PM to 9PM. For more information or to make a reservation, visit https://lahikikitchen.com/thanksgiving/.
Noe – An Eatalian Thanksgiving dinner menu will be served from 5PM to 9PM. For more information or to make a reservation, visit https://www.noeitalian.com/thanksgiving/.
‘AMA’AMA – A Turkey Lunch Plate special will be served from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. A special prix fixe holiday dinner menu will be served from 5PM to 9PM.
Makahiki - A casual all-you-care-to-enjoy holiday buffet will be served from 4PM to 9PM.
Ulu Cafe – A Sliced Turkey Plate will be served from 5PM to 8:30PM.
For more information about Aulani’s Thanksgiving dining options or to make a reservation, visit https://www.disneyaulani.com/activities/seasonal/thanksgiving/.
Madre Chocolate offers the sweetest classes about 30 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas every Wednesday or Friday afternoon. Learn how their chocolate is made locally from bean-to-bar, sample some of their popular flavors, and make your very own chocolate bar. For a more adult chocolate experience, they also offer whiskey or wine pairing evenings (check the calendar). All class/pairing tickets must be purchased in advance.
Guests can take a monthly Cacao Farm to Chocolate Factory tour. The tour starts at a local organic cacao and diversified farm to see the beautiful cacao pods, learn how to tell when they’re ripe, taste the fresh sweet cacao pulp, help harvest cacao, and see how it’s fermented and dried. The tour moves to their shop where they roast, crack, & winnow your own cacao, show how they grind and temper chocolate into bars, and guests dip a delicious local fruit in their rich dark chocolate to eat on the spot.
For more information about classes and tours, visit http://madrechocolate.com.
September 30. 2018. marks the 35th anniversary of the Annual Hale ‘Aina awards recognizing the best food Hawaii’s local restaurants have to offer. Over the last 35 years, Roy Yamaguchi has won a total of 128 Hale ‘Aina awards, more than any other chef.
Visitors and locals can experience Roy Yamaguchi’s unique Hawaiian fusion fare at any of Roy’s four Oahu locations: Roy’s Ko Olina Golf Club (five minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas), Roy’s Waikiki, Roy’s Beach House at Turtle Bay Resort, and The Original Roy’s in Hawaii Kai. His original location, Hawaiʻi Kai, also holds the record for the most awarded restaurant—70, to be exact.
For more information and to make a reservation, visit http://www.royshawaii.com/.
Locals and tourists are going bananas for Banán’s nondairy, banana soft serve creations available at four Honolulu locations (about 45 minutes from Ko Olina Beach Villas). Visitors can enjoy up to seven different flavors offered in nine different creations, including floats. One of their signature items is a Papaya Boat, which allows guests to eat their dishware.
They use locally sourced foods and buy at least 90 percent of their ingredients from the Islands. This approach ensures the freshest and most flavorful product for consumers and supports local farms and suppliers, It also helps the environment by reducing the need to import food and burn additional fossil fuels. Banán closes the food waste loop by returning their banana peels and other food waste to Waiahole and Waianae farms, which helps feed the pigs or make compost.
For more information about their menu, locations, farm suppliers, and more, visit https://www.bananbowls.com/.