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Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo

Looking Backwards at Forward Thinking

Understanding the history of the Kukuiolono Park will allow for a deeper appreciation of all that this park has to offer and what it represents.  Walter McBryde, a visionary and successful businessman gifted this 178 acre park to the people of Kalaheo and Kauai upon his death in 1930.  His wish was to have the park not only for the residents of Kalaheo, but surrounding communities.

Kukuiolono Park, Kalaheo

Walter McBryde’s burial site

 In 1907, McBryde purchased 346 acres at a public auction and then leased half of it to finance the maintenance of the other half. He built the park and added a golf course in 1928.  When McBryde who is buried at Kukuiolono died, he contributed his life savings to maintain this park.

  

Three Trademarks of Kukuiolono Park

There are three distinguishable things about this park that stand out.

1. Historical Picture Boards:

These pictures boards which are in the entrance to the gardens, in the pavilion and at the golf course clubhouse, pay tribute to McBryde and represent the historical significance of the area. These are from the archives of Kukuiolono, Kauai Museum, and community members.

2. Japanese and Hawaiian Gardens

The Japanese Tea Garden is full of statues, fountains, bonsai trees, and bridges. There is also a Hawaiian Rock garden depicting ancient artifacts and a meditation pavilion.





Meditation pavilion

3. The Pavilion

The Pavilion located ¼ mile from the parking lot up to the peak provides a secluded relaxing area to digest the surrounding peace and unprecedented sweeping views of Kauai’s southern and western shorelines. My son and I made the trek up, as he enjoyed running down the tree lined path just before reaching the pavilion.



Fun for Our Keiki and Visitors

The keiki always love a trip to Kukuiolono park to play in the gardens and to frolic in the open space.  Our family enjoy the safe, relaxing lush environment that this park provides.  The keiki enjoy feeding the chickens, and playing hide and go seek on the offbeat walking paths in the Japanese Tea garden as well as Hawaiian Rock Garden.   Hiding underneath the foot bridge to play out the three billy goats Gruff is always included. 



 Kukuiolono is one of the best places we like to take our children and guests.  It is a great place to take our visitors for a quick game of golf and a nice place to have a family picnic.  Kukuiolono park is one of those hidden gems on Kauai which locals and visitors alike can enjoy. Through the experience, you gain an appreciation to those of our past, such as Walter McBryde’s, who exercised forward thinking.  His vision can help us understand that we can also leave our legacies in our own communities.  Walter McBryde was loving our community and lifestyle, a true L.O.C.A.L.

Getting There

To reach Kukuiolono Park, head mauka, towards the mountains to the town of Kalaheo.  At the light, turn left onto Papalina Road.  The green sign for Papalina Road is undeniably bold and cannot be missed.  Turn right onto Puu Road and then a quick right for the front entrance to the park.  Pass through the stone archway which was constructed to honor Walter McBryde’s mother. You will travel up the path along a rock wall to the parking lot.  If you make a right right turn at the reindeer, before the parking lot, it will take you to Kukuiolono Golf Course clubhouse, (a 9-hole community golf course that is affordably priced).  There you will experience more sweeping views of Kauai’s southwestern side including a view of Kalaheo Coffee Plantation.







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Kauai Marathon Keiki Run

Today the Grand Hyatt Kauai hosted the 5th Annual Kauai Marathon Keiki Run. On the far ocean side lawn toddlers ages 2-4 completed a 100 yard dash as they chased a chicken mascot that marked the pace. It was a one quarter mile lap for the 5-7 year olds and the 8-12 year olds were challenged with a ½ mile run, which was two laps around the course.

Each of the age groups were divided into boys and girls. The chicken mascot ran with the 2-4 year olds, so when the 5-7 year olds lined up, I was surprised to see the chicken mascot (him or her?) again at the starting line. I guess my son will get to “chase the chicken” too which made the event fun for all the Keiki participating. Perseverance demonstrated, the Chicken mascot ran in every race.

What a great family event for the keiki as families gathered and cheered on all the participants as they crossed the finish line. My son was happy to race as all participants received a “medal” and a goodie bag. Inside the bag was a t-shirt, a keychain, bike safety information and a coupon for a free ice cream at Lapperts. It was definitely worth the registration fee.

Hotel Crashing: Is that a thing?

After the race, our family took a walk down by the beach and through the Grand Hyatt Kauai Property. This beautiful hotel and resort boosts a 50 acre oceanfront property.

 We checked out the beach; however conditions were hazardous today as red flags were being bustled by the winds.

We headed up on the path towards the hotel to the koi pond.



 We saw plethora of koi in the pond fronting Tidepools restaurant and the lone swan that makes its home in the tide pools (There is also a pond upon entering the hotel.) There is a casual poolside restaurant where they also serve shave ice drinks as well as food.

We continued to walk up the path to catch a view of the hotel pool.

Up through the lobby were vendors selling locally made products and macaws that welcome visitors in the main lobby. We passed many stores on our way to the grand ballroom where the Kauai Marathon Expo was being held. The meeting space was filled with local vendors and showcased all the information for the Kauai Marathon tomorrow. What a great family event for the Keiki to have their part in the annual Kauai Marathon. The whole experience was worthwhile and our ohana can’t wait to do it again next year!








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Poipu Beach

It was a beautiful sunny day in Poipu.  We were lucky enough to see two Hawaiian Monk seals sunbathing on the beach.  One was on the main beach and the other out on the sand bar.  The water was calm in the “kiddie pool” (which is located to the left of the lifeguard stand if you are facing the water) dispite posted signs on the other side of the beach warning rip currents and strong tides.  There were many people out snorkeling.   The lifeguards were announcing that snorkeling is actually one of the most dangerous activities.  They expressed making sure that you have the proper gear and know how to use your gear.  As a general rule, “When in doubt, don’t go out” and know you and your children’s personal limits.  Always follow posted signs; Lifeguards were recommending snorkeling in front of and to the left of the lifeguard stand.   My keiki like to use a full face snorkel mask like the one shown here that allows for natural breathing.

It was very hot today.  Make sure your keiki are protected from the sun by applying and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.  Rash guards and sunhats also lend protection while in the water.  Also, schedule a break for your keiki to hydrate and have a snack.

This lifeguarded beach has many amenities like restrooms, picnic areas, and showers.  Brenneck’s is located directly across from the beach.  There is a restaurant on the upper level and the lower level has a deli.  You can purchase sandwiches, drink, beach accessories like floats and sand buckets, icecream and shave ice.  If you need shade this beach has a patch of ironwood trees behind the “kiddie pool” and plumeria trees along the rock wall near the street.  There are also some other trees that provide shade.  Nukumoi Surf Co. is located across the street from this beach.  They have clothing and rent beach equipment and gear like snorkel sets, boogie boards, beach chairs, surfboards, fins, and lifejackets.

My sons enjoyed catching crabs along the boulders most of the time they were here.  We took a walk down to check out the Hawaiian Monk seal and then headed to Brennecks for some Shave Ice.

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Beach Safety

Remember to follow the beach safety guidelines, check surf and weather reports for current conditions, and observe posted signage.  Keep a constant watch on keiki who are playing in or around the water.  Never leave children unattended.  Small children should wear safety floatation devices unless they are avid swimmers and are being closely supervised.  



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Kekaha Gardens Kaleimanu Park

Kaleimanu Park is a family favorite.  It boasts to be the western most playground in the Kauai county which means it is the westernmost playground in the United States.

 It is located off of Kaumualii Highway near the end of Ulili Road in the Kekaha Gardens subdivision.  This park is beautifully landscaped, full of plumeria trees and open space.  

There are picnic areas, a restroom, basketball courts, and a baseball feild.  There is plenty parking spaces. The playground area for the keiki consists of climbing structures, swings, and a slide.  It is completely fenced in.  This stop would be a perfect stop on the way back from a Westside beach or after visiting Kokee.

It was Sunday evening and we decided to take our boys out to play.  It was their first day of school the next morning and there is nothing that a little play before a big day!  They conquered the play structure, played basketball, rode their scooters, ran the bases, and picked flowers.




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PLAYGROUNDS

BEST BEACHES FOR KEIKI

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Let’s face it…

Kauai with Keiki

ALOHA

Visiting Kauai with Kids? Check out these low cost and at leisure opportunities for play and exploration given from a L.O.C.A.L perspective:

Loving Our Community and Lifestyle

The honeymoon phase is over. Well, maybe not entirely but this trip you will now bring along your bundle of joy (or joys) that you have created out of the love you have for each other. Keiki is the Hawaiian word for child and is interpreted as “little one”. Yes these little ones can bring us a joy and happiness that we have never experienced otherwise. They teach us things about our character that we didn’t even know. They challenge us in new ways and bring out our biggest fears, one being traveling with keiki!

Kauai with Keiki blog is written by a mother and father of two, ages 4 and 6, both teachers with over 12 years of experience each who like to be prepared and have a plan. I have lived on the island of Kauai since 2002 and my husband is from here. We frequently travel back to the mainland to visit my 5 brothers and sisters. Upon returning from our latest trip in which we visited 4 different states, we realized that we were craving information on what to do with our keiki in these areas. We wanted up to date information from the inside perspective, written by a family that actually experienced it. We wanted suggestions on where to go, where to eat, and what to bring. We wanted to learn about the community where we were.  We created this website as a resource for families who are looking for an inside perspective on where to go and what to do on Kauai. Enjoy! Go Explore.


PLAYGROUNDS

BEST BEACHES FOR KEIKI

THINGS TO DO

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