Who gets to see a mammoth whale come barreling out of the ocean behind a group of surprised surfers? My children and I last Friday! We were on a “Mauna Lani Area” adventure to discover the Holoholokai Park and Puako Petroglyphs on Thursday night and Friday morning.
1. A secluded park (Holoholokai) wrapped behind The Shops at Mauna Lani and the Fairmont Orchid. This is a pretty swanky area of the Kohala Coast and to find a park with numerous picnic tables, BBQs and a stunning view of Maui, the Kohala coastline and the Kona sunset was a real treat.
We had a picnic dinner while we watched the sun set into the red voggy glow of Kona. It was high tourist season and there were only a handful of people there to enjoy this serene sight with us.
2. We went to The Shop’s at Mauna Lani’s free Polynesian hula show from 6-8 and enjoyed the way the hula troupe incorporated their entire family into the show including a ten year old and a three year old. My kids really enjoyed watching the keiki up on stage twirling batons and dancing to the pounding Polynesian beat. There were also fire dancers and women wearing coconut bras..yes, really. We sat on the terraced lawn steps in almost the front row, which gave my husband the chance to have one of the performers come up with a scary warrior stance and then shake his hand after the effect of shock was created. Pretty funny.
The next day the kids and I came back around 10 am and went out to the beach park. There we found a very easy to walk beach path and did some exploring. That’s when we saw the breaching whale. It was pretty close to shore and the splash he made literally created ripple waves for the nearby surfers. Then the whale flapped its fins a few times on the water to the delight of everyone watching. Glad to see the whales are back for the season.
3. The Puako Petroglyphs were an easy walk from the beach park. As soon as we passed the sign that explained that these petroglyphs were created between 1,000-1,800 A.D., we were able to walk around a large circle where the most interesting and deeply carved petroglyphs had been cut out of the rock and placed for easy viewing. They were a showcase in cultural artistry. Another circular area contained a few more well placed carved stones and then we followed the path into the Kaiwi trees which led us through the forest where we found few more along the trail. I took a video so you can see it.
It started getting warm so the kids asked to go play in the fountains at The Shops. They had a ball playing with a toddler who was also there to cool off. The water runs in unpredictable spurts and this kept them entertained for awhile until the 4D movie started. After the movie, we got sushi from Foodland Farms, had a nice lunch and headed home.
When I asked the kids what was their favorite part of the day, they said the fountains, but educationally, I was glad that I took them to see the petroglyphs! My daughter made me laugh when she said a possible explanation for the petroglyphs could have been children carving into the rocks when their parents were out fishing! Who knows?