If, like me, you need at least one museum visit to feel truly satisfied with a vacation, take a break from the beach and visit 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. The only royal palace in the United States, it has plenty of lavish decor to ooh and ahh over: royal portraits, a throne room full of gilded chairs, opulent furnishings and crown jewels. But there's also some very sad history here about the coup that overthrew Hawaii's monarchy, imprisoning the queen until she reluctantly abdicated. You'll see the room where Queen Lili`uokalani was imprisoned and the large embroidered quilt that she and her maid worked on to pass the time and remember loved ones. The self-guided audio tour is informative and easy to use, but guided tours are also offered. Better yet, make a day of it and visit the Mission House Museum just down the street, too.
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A Slice of Royalty in America
The grand koa wood staircase was shining with a new coat of oil as the focal point of the room; it’s beautiful curves lead the eye gently from the second floor down to the first floor. Men and women dressed in ornate gowns and neck-restricting tuxedos floated around the staircase receiving each other with a proper handshake or curtsy. The party was just beginning as horses pulled up to the ultra modern palace depositing people of stature out of their buggies. The year was 1882 in the island nation of Hawaii.
Even though I like to live in the present, I couldn’t help but imagine the past as I was led through the Iolani Palace in Oahu. The docent painted a perfect picture of arriving at a ball in the mid 1880’s – the sites, sounds, and even the dinner entries that would be served.
After the docent led tour you can have the pleasure of saying the you've been in the only palace in America!
Iolani Palace Tour Information:
Guided Docent Led Tours – Adults: $20 / Children (5-12) $6. This tour is available from 9:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Audie Tours – Adults: $13 / Children (5-12) $6. This tour is available from Monday through Saturday 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Be sure to check the times and costs on the website which will have up to date information and details.
Get all of the details including great historical information, information on the restoration, and learn about upcoming events on the Iolani Palace website: www.iolanipalace.org.
Go on Kamaaina Sunday! Look it up to find the dates. It is free on this day and in addition, there are traditional Hawaiian bands. In the surrounding blocks there are many other historical buildings that are cool to check out.