Carpe Diem OUR Way Travel

10 Things to do in Oahu for Preschoolers

10 things to do in Oahu for Toddlers and Preschoolers on your next Hawaiian Vacation10 things in Oahu for Preschoolers (and Toddlers)


Hawaii is one of our favourite places to vacation as a family with young children. We even have a post dedicated to why! Check it Why you should visit Oahu on your next family vacation! Here are 10 things we love to do in Oahu for Preschoolers or Toddlers (and really for kids of all ages!)


1. Visit the Honolulu Zoo

With their affordable entrance rates and stroller friendly paths, the Honolulu Zoo is a great way to spend the day with your kids. It is the perfect size to wander around for a few hours and you are able to see everything! Large trees afford lots of shaded areas around a grassy area and a playground for your little ones to play and enjoy a picnic without the sun beating down on them. I highly suggest asking about the Family Pass.… For $45 you get admission for two adults and up to 4 children for a whole week. Depending on your child”™s ages, this is a better deal than buying individual passes. And if your kids are like mine, they will be asking to go back the next morning and see the animals again! If you are a foodie, make sure you try the Kapahulu Burger while you are at the Zoo. It tastes amazing and I don”™t think I have had anything quite like it!

Getting up close at the Honolulu Zoo

Getting up close at the Honolulu Zoo

2. Play at Waikiki Beach

Early mornings at Waikiki beach are one of our favorite times. Build sandcastles as the sun comes up (make sure you grab a coffee for yourself!) and watch Waikiki come alive! We always share our crackers with the birds in Kapiolani Park and let the kids run around on the sand. It is a great way to spend the morning, or a whole day! Here are some things to pack for your day at the beach!

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater

Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater

Hawaii for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Waikiki Beach at Sunrise

Oahu for Preschoolers or Toddlers

One of our many sand castles on waikiki beach


3. Visit the Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is an Aquarium rich in history, and small enough for your toddler to wander around. Our kids loved running from tank to tank to see what they could find and it is a great way to get out of the sun for a little while. It is stroller friendly but small enough for toddlers and preschoolers to run around without needing one

Oahu for Toddlers

Exploring the tanks at the Waikiki Aquarium

Learning about the rescued wildlife that the aquarium cares for

Learning about the rescued wildlife that the aquarium cares for

4. Watch the Street Performers on Kalakawa Ave

After dinner, put the kids in the stroller and walk along Kalakawa Ave as the sidewalks come to life with street performers. I suggest the stroller because the streets can get packed in the evenings and it can get tough for little ones to navigate!

5. Watch a Parade

Waikiki has dozens of parades every year. Check online… before you leave, or look for the no street parking signs. Those are usually a good indication of a parade date on Kalakaua! Stake out a spot early; bring a chair and a blanket!


6. Explore an Empty Beach

The beach is public property, however you sometimes need to find a way to “access it” but once you do, (via the many beachside parks around the island,) spend some time exploring the beautiful shores. You will often find beaches with no one on them at all!

Wandering one of Oahu's Beautiful Beaches in Punaluu

Wandering one of Hawaii’s Beautiful Beaches

Found a Sea Cucumber in the tide pools

Found a Sea Cucumber in the tide pools

Oahu for Preschoolers

Laie Point (or Hole in the Rock)

7. Attend a Luau or watch Polynesian Dance

It is possible to catch a free Hula performance while in Hawaii. If you are at Ala Moana Centre, they have performances daily. I highly suggest checking out the Polynesian Cultural Centre for the full experience! If you are planning on doing a lot on Oahu, I suggest you try to GO OAHU Card, it offers admission to 30 attractions including the Polynesian Cultural Centre and MUCH more. You can check it out here.

8. See the Fireworks

This one can be hit and miss depending on your own child. But if your child is a night-owl and not afraid of loud noises, consider watching the Friday night fireworks around 8pm at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.


9. Grab some uniquely Hawaiian Food

Hawaiian cuisine is a fusion of Asian, North American, Portuguese … and Native Hawaiian foods. Just go into any local grocery store and you will find many different foods. Grab some ready-made Poi (Taro) for the kids to try. Its taste is bland, consider adding milk and sugar and serve it like oatmeal. Click here for some Hawaiian Foods we think you should try!

Hawaiian Food you must Try in Hawaii

Poi (Taro) Like a Pudding Texture

Hawaiians eat a lot of SPAM Courtesy of Mike Mozart

Hawaiians eat a lot of SPAM Courtesy of Mike Mozart

Kalua Pig

Kalua Pig

10. Visit Dole Plantation

Easily accessible by car or by taking TheBus (and we all know that kids love a bus ride! BONUS that kids ride free and Adults are only $2.50) spend a few hours at the Dole Plantation. Take the 20 minute train ride and learn about the pineapple industry in Hawaii and take your children for a run in the “World”™s Largest” Maze (stroller friendly for off road type strollers like the BOB) Don”™t leave before you grab a DoleWhip ice cream! They also have great food if you go for lunch; we enjoyed the Kalua Pig Quesadillas and the kid”™s chicken nuggets! You can also use the Oahu Go Card for the Maze at the Dole Plantation!

Kids will love the Dole Plantation

Kids will love the Dole Plantation

Enjoying some Dole Whip

Enjoying some Dole Whip

Even in the Rain the Boys ran off some energy at the Worlds Largest Maze

Even in the Rain the Boys ran off some energy at the Worlds Largest Maze


Things to Pack for Hawaii with Kids

Here are two of our favourite essentials we packed when we travelled to Oahu with a Toddler and a Preschooler.

JJ Cole Picnic Blanket… AND Stroller… Fan

There are more ideas from our post on what to pack for the beach with toddlers and preschoolers here.

Want more ideas? Check out some ideas from Barbara at Jet-Settera here!

Have you ever traveled to Hawaii?… What was your… favourite thing to do? If you… haven’t been yet, what are you most looking forward to seeing! Let me know in the comments!

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Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She left her career in Canada to share her love of travel with her two young boys. She is passionate about sharing adventure travel activities for families and to encourage others to explore the world. She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.

20 thoughts on “10 Things to do in Oahu for Preschoolers

  1. Tami

    We took our entire family (4 kids) to Hawaii years ago. At the time, the youngest was about 6, though. We visited most of the places you mentioned here, plus Hanauma Bay and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Loved them all! Although it is more challenging to travel with toddlers, how can you miss in Hawaii?!

  2. Francesca @onegrloneworld

    I didn’t know that it was possible to find beaches in Oahu where there weren’t other people. I assumed that all of Hawaii must be overcrowded with tourists! You made a lot of great points, even for people traveling without children 🙂

  3. Vicky and Buddy

    I haven’t been to Oahu yet, but this is a great list of things to do even if you don’t have kids. I really love visiting zoos and aquariums, so I know I’d definitely being visiting those. And of course, laying out on the beach!

  4. Tonya

    I have to agree with Jennifer… I would love all of these too and I’m 41! I’ve been dying to go to the dole plantation… that and the coffee in Hawaii is my heaven!

  5. Jenna

    Ahhh, Dole Whip is my FAVORITE! You just made me crave some with that photo, lol! Great list of things to do in Oahu–we don’t have kids, but I can see my nieces and nephews enjoying everything on this list. We would love to do most of it too, especially exploring the beaches and trying new foods!

  6. Wandering Carol

    Honestly, these things would be fun for any age, though I’ll pass on a the Spam! I spend a couple of months in Hawaii and my favourite things were just walking, and hanging out on the beach. (And I’m not even a beach person.)

  7. Laura

    I don’t have kids, but I’ve done all of those things! I guess that shows that the adults will enjoy the vacation too. It’s not just geared to kids.

  8. Trisha Velarmino - P.S. I'm On My Way

    You have such beautiful children, Lindsay! It’s so inspiring what you guys do! You are definitely creating a rather alternative but nevertheless beautiful way of raising your children! I’ve always believed that a unique childhood experience will resonate well up unto adulthood. More power to your family! You guys are getting me excited for travel when I have my own children someday!

  9. Sophie

    Great post Lindsay! I think i’d like to do most of them anyway despite not being a pre-schooler!! I’d definitely visit Honolulu Zoo and I would love to find an empty beach – I can’t believe the idea of an empty beach!! Sounds like a dream to me!

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