Experience the natural beauty and culture of the entire vast Pacific in a single day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, a kind of living museum of Polynesia. Here you can see firsthand the lifestyles, songs, dance, costumes, and architecture of seven Pacific islands or archipelagos -- Fiji, New Zealand, the Marquesas, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Hawaii -- in the re-created villages scattered throughout the 42-acre lagoon park. A recent $1.1-million renovation project remodeled the front entrance and added an exhibit on the story of the Polynesian immigration.
You travel through this museum by foot or in a canoe on a man-made freshwater lagoon. Each village is "inhabited" by native students from Polynesia who attend Hawaii's Brigham Young University. The park, which is operated by the Mormon Church, also features a variety of stage shows celebrating the music, dance, history, and culture of Polynesia. A luau takes place every evening. Because a visit can take up to 8 hours, it's a good idea to arrive before 2pm. Just beyond the center is the Hawaii Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which is built of volcanic rock and concrete in the form of a Greek cross and includes reflecting pools, formal gardens, and royal palms. Completed in 1919, it was the first Mormon temple built outside the continental United States. An optional tour of the Temple Visitors Center, as well as neighboring Brigham Young University, Hawaii, is included in the package admission prices.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Recommended 2010