Hawaii is renowned both for stunning
scenery and for a lively, if often violent, history. In this second
part of a two-part series on national parks and historical sites in
the state, Travel Weekly takes a look at Hawaii's most significant
USS Arizona Memorial
No place in
Hawaii attracts more tourists than the USS Arizona Memorial on
Oahu, which welcomes 1.3 million visitors in a typical year. The
U.S. Navy operates boats that shuttle between the visitor center --
with a museum, memorials and theater -- to the memorial proper,
which rises above the submerged hull of the sunken battleship, on
which 1,177 men died in the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl
Yet there is more
to Pearl Harbor than this impressive memorial. The USS Bowfin, a
restored World War II submarine, welcomes visitors with its own
museum and exhibits. And there's also the USS Missouri, the
battleship aboard which Japan surrendered to the U.S. in 1945; it
welcomes visitors for both self-guided and guided tours.
And on Dec. 7,
the first phase of the Pacific Aviation Museum opened on Ford
Island. Housed in a vintage hangar, this state-of-the-art facility
boasts a museum, theater and restored vintage aircraft, such as a
fabled Japanese Zero. Plans are afoot to offer centralized,
multi-attraction ticketing for the Bowfin, the Missouri and
Kalaupapa National Historical Park
This park on
Molokai is dedicated to the victims of Hansen's Disease, or
leprosy, who were quarantined on the island as early as the 1860s,
when the Kingdom of Hawaii, seeking to stop the spread of the
affliction, sent sufferers to an isolated peninsula at the base of
the imposing north coast cliffs.
In 1884, Belgian
priest Father Damien, recently canonized as a saint by the Catholic
Church, settled at Kalaupapa to care for the then-lawless
community. The church where he preached is a key attraction of any
tour. Kalaupapa boasts one of Hawaii's most spectacular settings,
with the world's tallest sea cliffs, at up to 3,000 feet high, as a
remains home a small and declining group of people with leprosy.
The park is reached by air from topside Molokai or on horseback
down a switchback trail that descends about 1,600 feet.
Guided tours, led
by community residents, are required for all visitors.
Puuhonua o Honaunau
times, places of sanctuary, called puuhonua, existed on each of the
islands. There, retreating warriors, miscreants or those who had
broken kapu, or taboos, would come to be purified by resident
priests and thereby freed from retribution.
This site on the
Big Island was considered sacred because the bones of great chiefs were
kept in a sanctuary called the Hale o Keawe, or House of
Keawe was a
founding chief of an ancient royal line.
The great wall
surrounding the compound and the temple have been restored and
provide unique backdrops for late afternoon visits, with the
setting sun silhouetting the towering carved temple guardians,
figurines called kii.
A daytime visit
includes an introductory film and demonstrations of ancient crafts
in the palm grove adjacent to the puuhonua.
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
In 1789, in the
midst of a civil war for control of the Big Island, a priest told
the warrior chief Kamehameha that he must build a great temple to
the war god Ku.
For one year,
Kamehameha diverted his forces from battle, using them instead to
build a temple at Kawaihae called Puukohola, or Hill of the
It was the last
great stone temple built in Hawaii and remains one of the largest
and best preserved. Although temple platforms were damaged in the
Oct. 16 earthquake that rattled Hawaii, both the site and its small
visitor center remain open.
This most recent
addition to the national park system in Hawaii fronts the Kaahumanu
Highway, which makes its way along the Big Island's Kona and Kohala
coasts. Although the site is a mere 20 acres, there's much to be
seen, including an ancient rock slide that runs for more than a
About half of
this monumental rock structure remains, as does a small coastal
temple and a massive 800-foot-long, rock-walled fishpond that is
being rebuilt from wave-battered ruins. It is a very impressive
site, with a lovely cove for snorkeling and swimming.
information on these national historical sites, visit www.nps.gov. For tour
information at Kalaupapa, contact Ike's or Damien's Tours at (808)
To contact reporter Allan Seiden, send e-mail to [email protected].
For the first
part in the two-part series on Hawaii's national parks and
historical sites, see "National park visitors should take time to