I love the North Shore of Oahu. Life there seems to be lived more my speed. High rise hotels are replaced by shrimp trucks and shave ice shacks. It’s home to my favorite snorkel spot on the island (Shark’s Cove) and gorgeous beaches known for their winter swells. It is also home to the Waimea Valley Audubon Center, a beautiful nature park with plenty of opportunities to learn about ancient Hawaiian culture and enjoy lush, bird filled gardens.
This was our second visit to Waimea Valley. I had such fond memories from our last visit that I insisted we return. There is just something so peaceful about this park. Waimea Valley has an interesting history too. It was an important spiritual center to ancient Hawaiians, a theme park for a number of years, and is now a botanical gardens with a focus on preserving plant life and birds.
We were greeted by a very social peacock in the parking lot. Maybe he knew he lived someplace special and wanted to share his gorgeous home with us. Or maybe he was just hoping he would get the last of my corn chips. Either way, we were happy to see him.
Once inside the park you will find a couple small bird seed stations. If there seem to be alot of birds loitering in the area, dig into your pockets, drop a couple quarters into the machine, and buy a handful. When we bought seed all we had to do was extend an arm and it was covered in birds!
One bird we saw plenty of this past visit was fowl. They just seem so happy being free range and fancy free. I especially loved the chicks. Its seems no matter what the species, babies are just plain cute!
Of course the scenery in Waimea Valley isn’t half bad either. From tropical gardens to sacred Hawaiian grounds, you are guaranteed to be wowed.
There is even a Hawaiian games demonstration area where you can take a stab at some of the traditional games native Hawaiians play.
For me, the highlight is always the waterfall at the end of the trail. It is so fun to swim in the pool (bring you suits!) and sit under the falls. They provide boogie boards to help those “not so strong” swimmers and lifejackets are required (and free) for children under 12. There is also a life guard on duty. The water is cooler than the ocean but still very swimmable. Perfect for some safe family fun!
Waimea Valley Audobon Center is located at 59-864 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, HI 96712. It is just off the main highway behind Waimea Beach. Adults are $10 and children 12 and under are $5. Military discounts are available. The hike (more of a walk than a hike) to the waterfall is 3/4 mile and paved. Very doable for children of all ages and very stroller friendly. There is food and a very nice gift shop on site.