Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-letter: June 14, 2004

THE 4TH ANNUAL TAHITIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL takes place on July 16 and 17 at the Polynesian Cultural Center, on Oahu's North Shore. A highlight of the festival is the Tahitian dance competition, which will take place at 6 p.m. July 16 and 9 a.m. July 17. The competition is held for both solo and group performers, and is divided into two categories for each competitor--a fast dance that spotlights dancing skills and rhythmic movement, and a slower dance that tells a story passed through generations of Tahitians. Tickets are $30 per person, however prices can vary depending on the package type purchased at the PCC. www.polynesia.com or 800-367-7060

THE HONOLULU ZOO is offering various Day Camp adventures for children--and their parents--who have with an interest in animals and their habitats. The "Keiki Zookeeper" program lets kids age six to 10 to go behind-the-scenes to meet the animals and participate in feedings. "Ohana Adventures" is geared for kids five years old and older and focuses on animal enrichment. Families participate in creating treats for the animals. "Twilight Tours" allows families to explore the zoo after dark when most visitors are gone. All ages are welcome for this program. Finally, a "Snooze in the Zoo" program lets families and kids of any age camp out on the zoo property. They can eat pizza and s'mores and listen to animal stories around the campfire. Also, every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the zoo presents a summer concert series with local performers. www.honzoosoc.org or call 808-926-3191

UNITED said it will relaunch daily nonstop service between Chicago [O'Hare] and Honolulu airports. The flight--which uses a Boeing 777 with 348 seats--departs Chicago at 10:15 a.m. and arrives in Honolulu at 1:45 p.m. The return trip will depart Hawaii at 4:25 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 5:15 a.m. the following morning. Also, the carrier initiated a second daily nonstop Tokyo-to-Honolulu flight onboard a Boeing 777, as well. United already flies nonstop daily to both Tokyo and Osaka, Japan. www.united.com

THE WAIKOLOA BEACH MARRIOTT is offering incentives to entice groups with an affinity for astronomy to visit Mauna Kea, the 14,000- foot mountain nearby. It is home to the world's largest observatory. Thirteen telescopes, operated by 11 countries, speckle the mountain's snow-capped summit. The hotel is extending a special rate to groups that decide to book a minimum of 25 rooms for three nights. In addition to the special rate of $165 per room and assistance with transportation for the two-hour journey to Mauna Kea, guests will be invited to a cocktail party, can enjoy recreational activities and VIP arrangements. The offer is valid through Dec. 24. www.waikoloabeachmarriott.com

FUNJET VACATIONS is offering discounted packages to travelers visiting Maui from the mainland, in addition to cash bonuses and extra commissions for agents. For travel through Dec. 15, travelers will save $75 on the Maui Magic package, and agents will earn an extra $25 cash bonus when booking at one of more than 25 participating hotels through VAX VacationAccess. Agents also can earn additional commissions when pre-booking add-ons such as the Royal Lahaina Luau, Molokini Snorkel excursions, sunrise bike tours of Haleakala, or helicopter tours. Maui Magic is valid for passengers visiting other islands, as long as Maui is on the itinerary for four nights and a minimum reservation amount of $1,800. www.vaxvacationaccess.com

CORRECTION: In the June 7 Hawaii E-Letter, the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui was misidentified as the Fairmont Orchid.

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