10 Best Family-Friendly Museums in Honolulu to Accent a Vacation

Museums are a vacation classic, and Honolulu has a surprisingly varied selection of them. The concentration of museums are in the heart of Honolulu, making it easy to visit several in one day. When it comes to Honolulu museums, the options range from far past the expected history museum, but of course there's some of those too. From Hawaiian history to a contemporary art and a children's only museum, 10 Best put together a list of the best museums for families in Honolulu, so look no further than this for a guide.

Hawaii's largest and most revered museum is the Bishop Museum. With numerous exhibits (both permanent and rotating), a planetarium that children love, and a maritime center, the museum really does offer something for everyone in the family. A gift shop and restaurant complete the offerings.

Purely for families, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center is all about children. Several permanent exhibits call this Waikiki venue home, and they even feature rotating exhibits. Interactive stations offer educational fun, and classes and presentations change on a regular basis to mix it up for local and visiting children alike.

To explore the homes of royalty, visit Queen Emma's Summer Palace or Iolani Palace. The former served as the queen's summer get away and the latter was where the overthrow of the monarchy took place. Both feature decor and furniture from the occupants.

And remember, visiting a place the Bishop Museum at the start of a trip will accent the remainder.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park


Artifacts honoring the military submarine are enormous draws at this facility. In its confines, you'll view photos and posters, scale models, and missile displays. However, the real attraction is the USS "Bowfin" herself, a WWII-era vessel whose...  Read More

Waikiki Aquarium
Photo courtesy of Douglas Peebles


This esteemed facility, affiliated with the University of Hawaii, has been in existence since 1904. Set along the Waikiki coastline, it seeks not only to entertain visitors but to educate them and to preserve delicate marine species. Tropical...  Read More



Commemorating one of Waikiki's most famous native sons, this bronze statue provides the four-time Olympic athlete an eternal presence on his beloved beach. It may not be a museum, but it is one of the most respected and important attractions to...  Read More

Hawaii's Plantation Village


Sugar cane plantations changed both Hawaii's landscape and its ethnic makeup, and this recreated village offers a window into its immigrant workers during the early 20th century. Homes replicating those used by the variety of peoples can be...  Read More

Maikiki Heights


Occupying a lovely estate in the hills above Honolulu, this wonderful museum takes as its focus art created since 1940. It also places an emphasis on Hawaiian artists. A variety of media and of aesthetic styles is presented, and you'll find both...  Read More

World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument


Commemorating the service men who laid down their lives during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, this memorial is a sobering experience for visitors. Prefaced by onshore exhibits and a video remembrance of the attack, tours also include a ride to the...  Read More

'Iolani Palace


Built in the early 1880s, this graceful Italian Renaissance structure is America's only royal palace and was home to Hawaii's last two rulers. When American businessmen overthrew the monarchy, they used the palace as the capitol until 1969;...  Read More

Queen Emma's Summer Palace
Photo courtesy of daughters of hawaii


Set in the Nuuanu Valley, this simple frame house, distinguished by a colonnade, was inherited by Queen Emma (wife of Kamehameha IV) from her uncle, John Young II. A respite from the city to the south, the home was a Victorian showplace that has...  Read More



Located in Honolulu, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center provides an interactive, participatory learning environment designed to inspire the young and "young-at-heart." They offer unique methods of of learning and discovery in an environment...  Read More



Since its founding in 1889 as a repository for Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's family artifacts, this museum has ascended to become the state's premiere institution for documenting the area's cultural and natural histories. Today, its holdings...  Read More


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade