Polynesian Cultural Center
Hawaii’s Top Paid Attraction
If you’re headed to Hawaii you may think you’ll have the opportunity to see, well… Hawaii, right? But did you know that without ever leaving Oahu you can explore the Polynesian islands of Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Hawaii, and more? Or that you can immerse yourself in these cultures via spectacular performances, fascinating hands-on demonstrations, and traditional dancing and foods? If not, get ready for the enthralling, enticing, and always entertaining Polynesian Cultural Center.
Polynesian Cultural Center Overview
This immersive living museum is set on 42 beautiful acres along Oahu’s fabled North Shore. The PCC, as it’s often referred to, is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was dedicated in 1963. The purpose of the center is threefold: First, to actively work to preserve and protect Polynesian cultures and to share their traditions with visitors from across the world. Second, to contribute to the development of students of the nearby Brigham Young University. Third, to demonstrate a spirit of love and service which will touch every PCC guest.
Since its opening, the Polynesian Cultural Center has continually grown and updated in order to provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience. Today, the PCC is the top-ranked paid attraction in Hawaii and is home to the World Fireknife Competition and Samoa Festival. Since its inception, it has hosted over 32 million visitors from every corner of the globe.
Polynesian Cultural Center Things to Do
Explore recreations of traditional villages representative of several different Polynesian cultures. As you visit each one, you’ll enjoy traditional games, crafts, food preparation, music, and more. A few of the highlights include:
Learn how to make a fire by rubbing sticks together, crack open a coconut using nothing but a small pebble, and even make coconut milk your bare hands. Tour traditional-style living quarters, cooking huts, the chief’s home, and sample delicious Samoan foods. The highlight? Watching someone climb a 40-ft coconut tree with bare hands, feet, and no harness.
Explore the beautifully-carved Maori meeting house and discover why the Maori sport facial tattoos. Have good coordination? Find out by trying your hand at traditional games such as tititorea. You can even sport a Maori tattoo- a temporary one, that is.
Think you’ve seen a big drum? Check out the Tongan ta nafa- you may even get a chance to drum onstage. Or, how about trying the mauluuluu sitting dance? Love games? Tongan shuffleboard and underhanded spear throwing are always visitor favorites.
Clubs, weapons, and military hardware abound- learn about Fiji’s fascinating past and how these items were used. You’ll also explore who can enter a home, and which is the correct door for doing so. Pay attention, as tradition states entering incorrectly means you risk death!
Up for some hip (and knee) swinging? Practice some traditional dance movements as you sway to the beat of the to’ere drums. The little ones will enjoy fishing from the little pier and everyone will love sampling tasty Tahitian coconut bread.
Time for some storytelling with your hands as you practice a few hula movements and gain a greater understanding of the importance of this Hawaiian tradition. You’ll also learn how taro is harvested, cooked, and made into poi.
No trip to Hawaii would be complete without attending a luau, and the Polynesian Cultural Center has many options for you to choose from. Each option offers a somewhat different dining experience and selection of foods. However, expect to see popular luau foods such as lomi-lomi salmon, poke, poi, kalua pork, mahi-mahi, and tropical fruit desserts, to name a few. Your entertainment options vary at each dining venue, as well. The most popular luau features the imu ceremony- where the pork is roasted in an underground oven- and traditional entertainment.