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Where children can discover Hawaii.

Where children can discover Hawaii

Bringing young children to visit Honolulu museums can be difficult. Some museums don't allow preschoolers. Others welcome them but have little in the way of displays that would interest them.

But at the Bishop Museum--Polynesia's most eminent research facility--two permanent exhibits are geared especially to children. The Hall of Discovery and the Shell Room help youngsters ages 4 through 13 learn about Hawaii by making, doing, playing, and touching.

The Hall of Discovery offers dozens of action-oriented displays and projects. Children can wiggle into a fabric shark sleeping bag or stick their heads, arms, and feet out from under a real giant turtle shell. Rubber stamps of fish, coral, shells, and seaweed are at hand for building a coral reef community on paper.

Other displays invite youngsters to make petroglyph rubbings, play Hawaiian musical instruments, touch a silversword leaf or a starfish. Hall hours are 9 to noon weekdays, also 1 to 4 Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and 10:30 to 2 Saturdays and the first Sunday of the month.

The Shell Room houses Honolulu's principal public collection of shells, most from Hawaiian waters. But for children, the fun is in hearing sea tales and stories of the Islands' origin from the docent, Commander William Christensen. There are conch shells to blow and a shark's jawbone to feel. Though most shells are in glass cases, Christensen will bring out a box of ones for children to touch--and to choose one to take home. The Shell Room is open 9 to 1 weekdays only.

For more encounters with Hawaii's culture, take in the performances and craft demonstrations at the Atherton Halau, next to the main exhibition building. Watch traditional hula in the open-air halau at 10:15 daily, and at 2 Mondays through Saturdays.

From 9 to 3 Mondays through Saturdays, continuous craft demonstrations are held at the halau; depending on the day, Hawaiian folk artists make quilts, string leis from feathers or flowers, weave mats from lau hala leaves, or fashion hula instruments. There's no charge for watching, but to participate, you pay $5 plus the cost of materials. Children are welcome.

Museum hours are 9 to 5 daily except Christmas. Admission (which includes the planetarium and hula shows) is $4.75, $2.50 for ages 6 through 17. For recorded information on the museum, call (808) 847-1443.

The museum's main entrance is at 1525 Bernice Street. From Waikiki, the easiest way to get there is by the museum's free shuttle buses; these stop four times daily (three times Sundays) in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Sheraton Waikiki, and King's Village at Kaiulani and Kuhio avenues. For easy directions to the museum and a shuttle bus schedule, call 922-1770 between 8 and 4:30 daily.

Photo: Laughter and a petroglyph rubbing result from this team effort. Girl at center holds inked ball of cloth to create pattern on sheet over carved stone disk
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Bishop Museum
Date:Jan 1, 1985
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