WAIMEA -- Parker Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii has rolled out
its 2004 visitor activities and prices, with fresh additions and a
popular new wedding site.
Visitors of any age can find something to do on the 175,000-acre
working ranch, a jewel in a town that is fast becoming a
destination in itself.
"Parker Ranch is a great place for families," said Diane
Quitiquit, vice president of marketing and development.
Quitiquit highlighted the 45-minute Kohala Carriages Wagon Rides
($15 adults) that depart every hour. This narrated tour lets
visitors see some of the ranch, visit an historical corral and
learn more about the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy)
More adventurous travelers can enjoy horseback excursions or
all-terrain-vehicle rides, an activity launched in December.
There's also a sporting clays range and the Parker Ranch Hunt
Club, which organizes big-game hunting expeditions from sea level
up to 7,000 feet. Several outings have been featured on national
cable network hunting shows. Targets include Polynesian boar
Upland game-bird hunting is also available from October through
February, and the Spring Turkey Hunt takes place March 1 through
According to Quitiquit, there's plenty of room to accommodate
such diverse pursuits. "Even horseback riders will not see or hear
the ATVs," she said.
Those interested in culture will enjoy the Parker Ranch Museum
and Visitor Center (admission $8.50 adults), featuring150 years of
Two historical ranch homes, Puuopelu and Mana Hale (admission
$8.50 for both homes), share stories about the Parker family from
founder John Parker to the late Richard Smart six generations
A visit to Parker Ranch can also include romance. The Historic
Homes and Gardens is a unique place to get married. Quitiquit said
an increasing number of inquiries have come in about scheduling
ceremonies in 2004, now that the word is getting out.
Prices begin at $500 for a two-hour site rental accommodating up
to 400 guests. Groups up to 100 have access inside the historical
homes, as well.
Parker Ranch provides planning assistance, flowers, a minister,
photography, entertainment and a white wedding carriage pulled by
Belgian draft horses.
Meetings planners should know that beef cookouts, dancing in the
stables and other special events can be organized. Call (808)
995-2303 for information.
Though Waimea is short on lodging, "This area is becoming a
place where you can spend the whole day," said Quitiquit.
Located about 37 miles from Kona Airport, Waimea has many
excellent eateries and specialty shops, in addition to the
3,500-square-foot Parker Ranch store, which even distant Big Island
residents are frequenting.
Quitiquit said up to 50% of the ranch store's business comes
from locals, a good indication for visitors looking for gifts that
don't fall into the usual tourist fare.
Special events in the coming year will make the destination even
more exciting. Watch for the Cherry Blossom Festival in February,
with a craft fair, tea ceremonies and paper-making.
Rodeos are scheduled for the Fourth of July and Labor Day
weekend, and the Aloha Festivals in August and September are sure
to be a big draw.
For more information, call (808) 885-7655 or visit the Web at www.parkerranch.com.
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