America’s Palace – Iolani (meaning the “Hawk of Heaven”)

Consider this surprising fact: Hawaii is actually more than glorious beaches and ukulele music. Pick a Friday and head to downtown Honolulu for a glimpse of Hawaiian history. Here is the only royal palace in the United States. Bring along a picnic and enjoy music at noon when the historic Royal Hawaiian Band plays and a hula dancer entertains near the original Coronation Stand of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani.

The palace was built in 1882 during the reign of King Kalakaua in a majestic style called “American Florentine.” Take a tour inside later to see the gilded Throne Room, spectacular three-story stairwell with carved koa balustrade, and . . . the first flush toilets known to have been installed in any palace anywhere.

Our 11-year-old got a big kick out of that fact, having never heard of chamber pots. He also loved looking across King Street at the huge statue of King Kamehameha, first ruler of the islands who is decked out in hundreds of flower leis on his birthday in June.

See more on Iolani Palace here.

PS There’s a lot more to see downtown so, more later. . . .

-Penny

Cover photo by Coconut Wireless/Flickr

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