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Oahu’s Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) may be 56 years old, but it’s still a must-see for today’s visitors. Recently, TripAdvisor users selected it as one of the top 10 attractions in the U.S., and USA Today readers nominated it for the 2019 Best Family Attraction in Hawaii award.
With six Pacific Island villages, loads of participatory activities and several live shows, PCC has sustained its appeal thanks to its one-of-a-kind mission, according to Seth Casey, senior manager of marketing for PCC.
“Our founders envisioned PCC as a unique opportunity to teach the world about the magnificent people of Polynesia,” Casey said. “Since then, we’ve entertained and educated more than 40 million guests, committing ourselves to continually improving the way they experience Polynesia and engage with people who are proud to share their culture and heritage.”
Check out these five reasons your clients should visit — or revisit — this North Shore standout.
Farm TourBananas, breadfruit, papayas and tapioca are just a few of the crops on view throughout PCC’s new 20-minute narrated farm tour. Guests board a comfortable, open-air, shaded shuttle for a ride around the attraction’s 7.5-acre spread of produce. Much of what they see is incorporated into dishes that are served in the center’s dining facilities.
Along the way, guides share facts about Polynesian plants, from their use in everyday life to their importance to the culture. Clients can taste what’s ripe during the outing, which is limited to 10 people to keep things intimate. The farm tour is offered Monday through Saturday at noon and costs $25 per adult and $20 per child ages 4 to 11.
Female Fire-knife DancersFor more than 25 years, PCC has hosted the annual World Fireknife Championship, a thrilling display of pyrotechnic prowess. In May, the contest introduced a competition for women to perform the traditional moves.
Recent years have seen an increase in female dancers, who are judged on grace and agility as opposed to the aggressive and warrior-like stances of the men. Plans call for the continued inclusion of both sexes in future fire-knife championships. The sizzling action takes place each spring on stages around PCC, with the finals held in its Pacific Theater during the intermission of the evening show, “Ha: Breath of Life.”
Lunar Legends TourOn this exclusive after-dark adventure, clients explore PCC via kayaks or illuminated paddleboards, on which they can either sit or stand. As guests enjoy rare views of the village from torch-lit waterways, guides regale them with a variety of ancient Polynesian myths and discuss the region’s values and traditions. At one point during the relaxed ride, participants lie down on their boards and stare up at the night sky while listening to time-honored tales of the constellations.
Offered by North Shore Explorers, the 90-minute tour is available Monday through Saturday at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Rates are $99 per adult and $50 per child ages 5 to 9, with reduced rates for tandems.
Samoan Cooking ExperienceDuring this fun and fascinating three-hour immersion, clients roll up their sleeves and go hands-on as they create an island-style feast in the setting of a traditional Samoan hut. After browsing a small, working farm within the village, guests learn how to prepare freshly harvested ingredients, then help cook various exotic foods.
Clients also can try such skills as weaving plates with palm leaves and starting the fire and heating the rocks for the umu (oven). The activity culminates in a meal of Samoan delicacies, including chicken, fish, breadfruit, green bananas and palusami (young taro leaves filled with coconut and onion). The experience takes place on Friday mornings and costs $98 per person.
Vow RenewalsCouples often choose Hawaii as an idyllic destination to renew their vows. Like everything else it does, PCC puts its own twist on the occasion by presenting free, daily vow renewal programs in its Tahitian village. Twosomes gather on a lush lawn to witness a traditional wedding ceremony called Te Here (“forever”), reenacted by a man and woman in elaborate white costumes and ornate headdresses.
An officiant emcees the proceedings, teaching key Tahitian phrases to the assembled couples and encouraging them to reaffirm their commitment to each other. Whether clients have been married for five or 50 years, it’s a fitting example of PCC’s love for the culture of Polynesia.
The Details Polynesian Cultural Centerwww.polynesia.com