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Experience All The Polynesian Islands In One Place

Best Way To Learn Samoan LanguageThe Polynesian Cultural CenterNeighborhood: North Shore of OahuLaie, HI96762United States of AmericaA trip to Hawaii would not be complete without visiting the villages at the Polynesian Cultural Center. To see how ancient Polynesians lived in Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, and the Marquesas Islands, this is the place to go. There are 42 acres located on the North Shore of Oahu, about an hours drive from Honolulu.

Actually it is the most popular tourist attraction in Hawaii. The center offers many choices for adults and children. You can visit the villages where you are exposed to the native languages, customs, dress, dance and traditions. You can get a temporary tattoo or learn how to play with the poi balls in the Maori Island Village, experience the pounding of the huge drums in the Tongan Village, try out the hula in the Hawaiian village, and learn how to make fire without a match in the Samoan village. Over six million people visit the center every year.

There is a 600-seat IMAX Theater with a huge screen (65 feet high and 93 feet wide), which shows movies several times daily. For those who like shopping, there are several stores with Polynesian treasures including art, tikis, and more. A daily canoe pageant features dancers from all the islands as they make their way down the center's lagoon.

The Polynesian Cultural Center has been open since 1963. Over 1300 employees, most of whom are students at the Brigham Young University-Hawaii, share aloha with all who visit. There is a night show each evening. The newest show is called Ha, The Breath of Life, which tells the story of a young Polynesian boy and his journey through life, learning from his elders. There is even an 'erupting' volcano and waterfalls in this beautiful landscaped center.

There are a few dining facilities at the center to choose from. One is a take out serving the best fish and chips on the island. There is a Hawaiian luau where they pull a roasted pig out of an underground oven. They serve foods from the islands including poi, lomilomi salmon as well as food that tourists are more familiar with. They offer a buffet at Gateway with delicious food and desserts to die for. Fine dining is also available at The Ambassador for a special night out.

The main purpose that the Polynesian Cultural Center was started was for the students at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. They work and earn their way through college, and at the same time learn more about the native Polynesian customs as well as getting very valuable working experience.

At various times throughout the year there are special events such as hula festivals, the Samoa Fire Knife Dance Contest, Lei Day Lei Competition, Maori Song and Dance Competition, Haunted Lagoon (Halloween) and Christmas in Polynesia Festival. I feel lucky to live in the back yard of the Polynesian Cultural Center and have enjoyed visiting it several times throughout the year.

http://www.polynesia.com/

By Elayne Kongaika - BFA graduate in Art 2007, oil, watercolor, photography, graphic design. Gardener, bicyclist, grandmother.  

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