We went to Hawaii! We picked the big island, because we like to do more than hang out at the beach, and there is lots to do there. We stayed in Waikoloa, at a condo, but we had pool access at the Hilton resort. As soon as we landed, we bought Dramamine for Dalton, who threw up in the car, the shuttle bus, the airplane, and the Kona airport while John was purchasing the medicine. Luckily, that was the last of illness for anyone on our trip. Next, we went to Costco and bought food for our stay. We saved a lot of money doctoring up premade stuff from Costco, and eating cereal at the condo for breakfast.
Tuesday we went to a nearby beach. We rented a double kayak and paddled around the bay. Arthur slept nearly two hours in the sand. The kayak was so fun, we all got to try it, and it was only $50 for 2 hours. Money well spent.
Wednesday was a long day. We drove around the south side of the island (the long way). We stopped at a black sand beach, which was so cool to see, but we didn't see any sea turtles. I did find a couple pieces of sea glass though. Next, we went to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Maggie has a free national parks pass for fourth graders, so we got in free! We looked at the craters with the binoculars, wandered around the steam vents, and hiked in the dark through a lava tube. Pretty cool!
We went up to Hilo for John and the older kids to do a helicopter ride. They got to see lava in the crater, and also hitting the ocean.
The littles and I had just under two hours to kill in Hilo during the helicopter tour. We went to the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo. Free, and awesome. I wish we'd had more time to spend. Sienna loved all the benches decorated as animals and flowers. There was also an awesome playground. Unfortunately, it was too hot to enjoy either, but it's usually rainy (Rainforest Zoo... get it?). We saw tigers, lemurs, all sorts of tropical birds, anteaters.
Then we went to the Mauna Loa macadamia nut factory. As we drove through the macadamia nut orchards, I told Sienna the story of auntie Rachel getting a macadamia nut stuck in her nose. She came back with "we could get things out of our nose. We can get boogers out of our nose."
Thursday was another rest day. We went to a new beach. It had trees shading the shore, and a rope swing. We were able to see some fish swimming around while we floated on boogie boards in the warm, clear water, and some crabs in the rocks along the edge of the cove. We went to the pool just outside our condo in the evening. So convenient that we left the older kids at home playing Roblox.
Friday we drove around the north side of the island. We had malasadas, went to a few points of interest then stopped at a famous sea glass beach for me. Unfortunately the tide wasn't great, and the beach was difficult to access. But Dalt and I scrambled down and found a few pieces while the others waited in the car. Then we went to Rainbow Falls, definitely the highlight. Everyone had a blast climbing the banyan trees and playing in the shade. We also climbed over the rocks and dipped our toes into the pools at the top of the falls. Our final stop was the Mauna Kea visitor center, where we were hopping to use the solar telescope. But the whole mountain was shrouded in mist. Disappointing, but the Rainbow Falls made up for it.
Saturday we took turns doing a submarine cruise. We wanted to do zip lining but even Maggie didn't weigh enough. We picked the submarine because Sienna was big enough, and she didn't get to do the helicopter. On the girls' trip, we saw three little dolphins, a barracuda, and a lot of different fish. It was pretty cool just to be on the submarine.
In the evening we went for one last swim at the Hilton pool. Water slides, hot tub, towels we didn't have to carry to the car. We also saw a sea turtle in their lagoon.
Then we took the red eye home. Yikes. Arthur slept on the airplane floor for three hours. Everyone but Sienna crashed when we got home. It's bedtime and we're all exhausted! Hopefully we can reset after tonight. What a fun trip. John always plans the most fun things. The kids had trouble picking a favorite thing. I liked the Rainbow Falls and kayaking the best probably. But everything we did was great! Actually, maybe my favorite was John not working. Hurray for actual vacation!