Polynesian Cultural Center, located on the northern shore of Oahu, Hawaii, is a 42-acre cultural theme park with various areas representing the different islands in Polynesia. We visited for a day trip and immersed ourselves in activities like spear throwing, making fire using wood, and paddling a canoe. We also enjoyed a bowl of delicious shave ice (delivered by a canoe) before the Huki canoe show started. Check all the Fun Things you can Do at Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii plus details on hours, food, how to get there, their luau, and more.
Things to Do at Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, Hawaii
Polynesian Cultural Center is a theme park without the usual thrill rides but it is pack with traditional hands-on activities and shows. They are open Monday to Saturday from 11:45 am – 9:00 pm and I highly suggest arriving on time to really be able to do all the activities and shows (closed Sundays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).
Just outside PCC’s entrance is Hukilau Marketplace where you can enjoy various food kiosks and restaurants. It opens at 11 AM so you can also dine here before entering the park.
Before we entered the park, we rode on the Holo Holo Canoe Tour. The tour took us around the different islands while the tour guide shared details about Polynesia – its history, cultures, tradition, and PCC as a whole.
Canoe Pageant: Huki Canoe Celebration
Upon entering the park, we went to find seats for the daily canoe show at the lagoon. If you arrived early, you can still participate in other activities but make time to find seats before the 2:30 PM performance starts. The Polynesian Cultural Center canoe show showcases dancers and singers on double-hulled canoes as they dance about local history, island songs, myths and customs.
The Huki Canoe Celebration wishes to impart that the ocean doesn’t divide us, it unites us. And as we pull together, we’re one ohana, sharing aloha.
Before the show starts, get your $5 ready for that refreshing shave ice with fresh fruits on the bottom delivered to you via a canoe. It’s one of the best things I ate in Hawaii! There is also a snack bar by the village of Samoa and fresh coconut juice.
One of the activities at Polynesian Cultural Center that I was looking forward to trying was to start a fire. Ater the canoe show, we went straight to the island of Samoa to try to do so – the Samoan way using hibiscus wood. It was hard and I ended up with no fire so I may not survive being left alone on an island, Haha. But I’m happy to have finally tried it.
At the island of Samoa, you can also try preparing and cooking Samoan dishes in an outdoor kitchen, weave fish using coconut leaves, see how to crack open a coconut and milk it, and learn how to spin a fireknife. You can also catch a cultural presentation where a young warrior climbs a 40-foot coconut tree-in his bare feet. Do get a Polynesian Cultural Center map when you get to the park for the daily schedule of various shows.
From Samoa, we crossed the lagoon bridge to get to the other side – Tonga! Here you can tour a replica of the Queen’s Summer Home, compete in a spear-throwing contest, learn how tapa cloth is made, and paddle across the lagoon in a Tongan inspired outrigger canoe. I love rowing boats, paddling canoes, so this is one of my favorites but the kids were really excited as well as this was their first time paddling a canoe.
While I have a penchant for rowing (I must be a seafarer like Disney’s Moana), our eldest daughter is into anything with an arrow. She enjoyed archery at the resort in Yosemite National Park and this time, she was excited to visit Polynesian Cultural Center to try her hand on Tahitian spear-throwing. All four of us did it and none of us hit the target even after two tries. We’re such a talented group, aren’t we? Haha.
Other things you can do in Tahiti include fishing in the lagoon with bamboo poles, learn how to dance the alluring Ori Tahiti, witness a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony (3:30 PM daily) & renew your own vows, and taste handmade coconut bread.
What’s a visit to Hawaii without really learning about Hawaii? At the island of Hawaii, you can practice dancing the hula, learn how to throw fishing nets the island way, watch how poi is made and taste it, play ancient Hawaiian games, and see beautiful items that can be made with lauhala.
After Hawai’i, you can cross the bridge to get to the middle island which is Fiji. Here you can learn how coconut oil is made, play a Derua bamboo instrument, view an authentic Camakau Fijian outrigger canoe, relax in the shade of the towering Bure Kalou (six-story temple), and get a Fijian warrior tattoo.
At Aotearoa, you can test your eye-hand coordination with the Maori stick game, twirl the double-long handled Poi Maori, make your own fish hook replica necklace in the Carver’s hut, view a traditionally carved Maori War Canoe, and participate in the team building activity Maui Matau.
Maui Matau is very exciting, make sure to participate in this game where each person holds a stick and lets it go to grab the next one to your left or right. If you fail at grabbing the stick, you are out. From about 15 of us, I was in the top 4 but I eventually lost coz’ I dropped the stick. It’s so much fun even for our kids.
Visitor’s Guide to Polynesian Cultural Center
How far is the Polynesian Cultural Center from Waikiki?
Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, Hawaii, is 1-hr away from Waikiki Beach. To get there from your hotel in Waikiki, you can either rent a car or add a shuttle service when purchasing Polynesian Cultural Center tickets. They offer 2 transportation options: Motor-coach and Mini-coach.
Motorcoach transportation picks up from designated locations near your Waikiki hotel. Mini-coach transportation option is a curbside service that picks up guests from the lobby of most Waikiki hotels. You can enjoy the scenic ride and a tour narrated by a knowledgeable local guide. Guests will be returned to Waikiki at approximately 10:45 pm.
We visited Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) on the 4th day of our Oahu Hawaii 7 Day Itinerary. We rented a car and started our day with a visit to Dole Plantation, followed by trying out 2 famous food in Oahu – the Matsumoto Shave Ice and shrimp scampi at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck before arriving at PCC.
Make sure to lather up on sunscreen as you’ll be outdoors. Check our Packing List for Hawaii for other things you may need during your visit to Oahu.
Polynesian Cultural Center Prices
How much does Polynesian Cultural Center cost?
General Admission to Polynesian Cultural Center costs $64.95 for adults and $51.96 for kids. With this ticket, you would be able to do all the activities and watch shows between 12 to 6 PM. If you wish to attend any of the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau, they offer 7 different options that include the park admission, luau buffet & dinner show, and the “Ha: Breath of Life” evening show. Price range from $71.96 to $242.95.
Do note that seating for the luau starts before the park activities end for the day so if you have the time, plan for a second-day visit so you can do the rest of the activities at the park. All ticket or packages come with a 3-day pass.
Polynesian Cultural Center Discount Tickets
For Polynesian Cultural Center discount tickets, get a Go Oahu Card. With this card, you get unlimited entry to 40+ top Oahu attractions with the number of days of your choosing (1, 2, 3, 5, or 7). To use it for Polynesian Cultural Center, the 1 and 2-day multi-attraction pass gets you park admission to PPC.
The 3, 5 or 7-day multi-attraction pass gets you park admission to PPC plus their Luau Dinner & Buffet show and HA: Breath of Life show. You will save up to 55% off attraction ticket prices. Check out the complete list of Oahu attractions you can visit using the Go Oahu Card (we used one to save on our Florida vacation).
disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. No Polynesian Cultural Center Promo Code needed to avail of the discount.