Museum, cultural center add to island's attractions

KAPAA, Kauai -- Tucked away at the back of Kauai Village, a shopping center at Kapaa on Kauai's east coast, are two new and little-known attractions.

Kauai Heritage Center The Kauai Children's Discovery Museum opened here a year ago. The Kauai Heritage Center of Hawaiian Culture and the Arts opened last summer and held its grand opening Nov. 19. Both are nonprofit, operate on a shoestring and are dependent upon a volunteer staff.

Through Feb. 14, the discovery museum has its major exhibition of the year. The traveling exhibition, from the National Science & Technology Center in Canberra, Australia, is called "Science on the Move." Designed for Polynesia, it explores life in the Pacific islands through hands-on displays.

Also included will be the discovery museum's own displays, including interactive computers, access to the Internet and its portable planetarium theater. The exhibition is open Thursdays 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays noon to 4 p.m., and Mondays through Wednesdays and on Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for children.

Started in 1994, the discovery museum has been headquartered at various locations, moving to Kauai Village in late 1997. It is raising funds for a permanent home. (Its present tower building location still displays an old sign: Kauai Village Market & Museum.)

Robin Mazor, executive director, said visitors should call or fax for a schedule and a list of upcoming events. Events (with an emphasis on science and the arts) include day and weeklong camps, a Christmas children's program, summer planetarium shows and special exhibits throughout the island.

Near the Discovery Museum, the Kauai Heritage Center is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hawaiian artifacts on display include gourds, featherwork, traditional implements, games and tapa cloth. There also is a section on archaeological finds. Most are from personal collections.

Weaving and other arts and crafts demonstrations are held throughout the day. Some items are for sale. However, according to director Kehau Kekua, who has headed Hawaiian cultural programs at Outrigger Kauai Beach and Kiahuna Plantation, the major focus is the preservation and promotion of Hawaiian culture.

The center also organizes workshops, education programs and special events.

Kauai Village, designed in plantation-era architecture, is on Highway 56, eight miles north of Lihue. Tenants include A Pacific Cafe, known for its Pacific Rim cuisine; Safeway and Longs drugsstores, several art galleries and Waldenbooks.

Kauai Children's Discovery Museum, Phone: (808) 823-8222, Fax: (808) 821-2558, Web:
Kauai Heritage Center, Phone: (808) 821-2070, Fax: (808) 821-2545

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI