Created in the 1870's by King David Kalakaua and named after his wife, this expansive park appears on the State's Historic Register. Many of the trees here are more than 100 years old and the park has played a pivotal role in community development just as long.
The park is located toward the east end of Waikiki at the foot of Diamond Crater. It takes the form of a huge triangle bordered by Kalakaua, Monsarrat, and Paki avenues, adjacent to the 42-acre Honolulu Zoo.
Originally, this was a marshland marked by lagoons, tiny islands and small fish ponds. Through a land grant issued in 1876, the monarch made an initial 108 acres available to the "Kapiolani Park Association,'' and the area was formally named "Queen Kapiolani Park'' the following year. Landscaping was undertaken by Archibald Cleghorn, father of Princess Kaiulani, and in its early days the park contained a racetrack, then later a polo field.
Hard work and planning over more than a century transformed the park into the true community recreation facility that it is today. Now managed by the State of Hawaii's Department of Parks and Recreation, it is sometimes referred to less formally as Kapiolani Park, although the royal title still applies.
Amenities here include comfort stations, showers and free public parking areas. For sporting enthusiasts, there are three softball fields, a rugby ground, five soccer fields, the Elks Club baseball park, children's playgrounds and an archery range, plus a popular three-mile jogging course. Also available are tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.
Local families and tourists alike enjoy the 28 shady picnic sites and grassy meeting areas, which can accommodate gatherings of up to 500 people. A hibiscus garden and flower nursery are maintained on the park's inland perimeter, while a bougainvillea arbor and sitting area provides respite across Kalakaua Avenue by the shore. This is also where visitors can find the local Natatorium and Waikiki Aquarium, just past the Queen Surf beach area.
Queen Kapiolani Park is the home of Waikiki Shell, an amphitheater where outdoor musical events and shows are frequently staged, including the renowned Kodak Hula Show. Every Sunday afternoon, the Royal Hawaiian Band performs free concerts in the smaller Kapiolani Bandstand, even as local artists set up their works for the park's weekly open-air sale.
Each Wednesday between 10 am and 11 am, the Queen Kapiolani Park People's Open Market (POM) takes place in the tree-lined parking lot adjacent to Waikiki Shell. This market has been going strong since 1973, providing the opportunity to purchase fresh agricultural and marine products and other food items at low cost. It supports the livelihood of local farmers and fishermen, while giving residents an opportunity to socialize. The POM entrance is on Monsarrat Street.
A famous annual event associated with the park is the Honolulu Marathon. On Marathon Sunday, a carnival-like extravaganza erupts here near the finish line, with multicolored tents, flags, and visitors from all over the world. The park serves as the base of operations for more than 27,000 runners and plays host to some 48,000 volunteers and spectators.
Among other annual events, the Na Hula Festival is held in the park each August. Since 1941, this weekend-long festival has celebrated the artistry and grace of Hawaii's native dance, the hula. It is a non-competitive event, featuring food and craft vendors as well as a program of performances by local dance troupes at the Kapiolani Bandstand throughout the day. There is no charge for admission.
Read about other Honolulu tourist attractions:
Review, comment, or add new information about this topic:
Discuss this city on our hugely popular Hawaii forum
|Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses|