To Do on Kauai: Anaina Hou Community Park: A Gift for All to Enjoy
Every Hawaiian Island has a nickname. Oʻahu is known as “The Gathering Place.” Kaua‘i, also known as the “Garden Isle,” boasts a new gathering place of its own. Anaina Hou Community Park, which means “A New Gathering Place” in Hawaiian, offers a beautiful 30-acre community complex where visitors and locals alike can come together to play.
Anaina Hou was the vision of Bill Porter, co-founder of eTrade, who moved to Kaua‘i in 2004 with his wife Joan. After purchasing the property in Kīlauea, they asked the community how they could give back, and Anaina Hou Community Park was formed.
“The campus opened in 2010 with a few programs and, this summer, the Porter Pavilion will complete the full vision laid out by Bill and Joan,” states Thomas Daubert, executive director of Anaina Hou. “Within this new covered multipurpose space, we will present concerts, movies, lectures, lū‘aus, weddings and so much more, becoming the new cornerstone of our community gathering place.”
The Park Welcomes Locals and Visitors Alike
Prior to the opening of the Porter Pavilion, Anaina Hou was best known for its one-of-a-kind, 18-hole miniature golf course set within a lush educational botanical garden. The course escorts golfers on a journey through the origins of the islands, the people that populated Hawai‘i, and the plants and beautiful tropical flora that came with them. “The unique combination of mini golf and a first-class botanical garden makes for a great family experience,” adds Daubert. Guided tours are also available for those wanting a more intimate garden experience.
In addition, Anaina Hou offers access to a free 4.5-mile hiking trail that leads to the historic Stone Dam—a 125-year-old gem from the plantation days of Kīlauea. “The Wai Koa Loop Trail was created by Bill and Joan on their private land to allow access to this cultural treasure that has been enjoyed by generations of community members,” explains Daubert. Since it is on private property, visitors simply need to stop in at Anaina Hou and sign a waiver, where hikers can pick up a map, water, and snacks and access restroom facilities (there are none on the trail).
Casual dining in a beautiful outdoor setting is available 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The Café features Hanalei Roasters Coffee, Laird Superfood lattes, acai bowls, avo toast and fresh-baked goods in the morning. Food trucks provide great local fare including local barbecue plates and fresh fish. Adults can unwind with a beer or glass of wine, and everyone can enjoy a cool treat of shave ice made with local natural syrups, Papalani Gelato or a tasty Ono Pop.
“Our campus offers many opportunities for visitors to mingle with locals and enjoy an authentic Kaua‘i experience,” says Daubert. Shop directly from local farmers at one of two weekly farmers markets held on Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m, and Mondays 2 p.m.-dusk. Enjoy free live music, and food and drink specials every Friday evening under the covered dining patio for Pau Hana. On the last Saturday of every month, experience Kilauea Night Market and shop from over 25 isle artisans, enjoy local grinds from food trucks and listen to live music.
No trip to the islands is complete without the experience of a fire show. At Anaina Hou, guests can partake in the artistic beauty of a Polynesian ahi lele “fire dancing” show every Wednesday. Start the evening between 5 and 6:30 p.m. with a delicious dinner buffet from Skinny B’s Island Smokehouse BBQ and a tasty signature cocktail or choose from a great selection of wines and beer from the Anaina Hou Cafe (not included in ticket price). The performance, featuring the amazing artistry of Coppin Colburn and his ‘ohana, begins at 7 p.m.
Relying on the Aloha Spirit
“Bill and Joan expressed so much generosity in creating Anaina Hou Community Park as a nonprofit organization,” explains Daubert. “All of the proceeds from admissions, ticket sales, Café and Gift Store sales and more help create a sustainable future so that we may serve our valued visitors and local community members for decades to come.” Enjoy your visit to Anaina Hou? They welcome tax-deductible donations and offer opportunities to volunteer your time.
Something for Everyone
Many trips to Hawai‘i come with a “must-see” list. While on Kaua‘i, Anaina Hou is definitely one of those musts. “Whatever your passion, whether it be family fun, learning about Hawai‘i, hiking, enjoying local sounds and tastes or a combination, Anaina Hou is proud to open its arms and invite you to join our ‘ohana during your visit,” concludes Daubert. Plan your visit to Anaina Hou today by visiting anainahou.org.
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