Guest Post: Ruth Elayne Kongaika
Bears in Waikiki! There is a new hangout in Honolulu for teddy bear lovers (young and old alike). We recently visited the new museum with some of our grandchildren, and were very excited and amazed at all there was to see. As we approached the museum on Kalakaua Avenue, we were greeted by a huge smiling bear. We were able to take pictures of the grandchildren with him. None of the kids shied away from the cuddly teddy. He was very warm and friendly. Then we took an escalator up a floor to the displays. After paying a nominal fee, we were given a Scavenger Hunt to challenge us on our journey through the museum, with promises of cotton candy at the end of our hunt, if we indeed found all the items listed.
The idea for a Teddy Bear Museum originated in Korea. There are five in South Korea, created with the children in mind and the calming affect the bears have on people. The Teddy Bear Museum in Honolulu is the first one of its kind in the United States. The five million dollar attraction takes up 20,000 square feet and features more than 800 teddy bears, many of which are animated. The cute and cuddly creatures are found playing, sleeping, dancing, playing sports and various other activities. It really is a delightful place for the family.
Exhibits featured different scenarios including 8 wonders of America, Save the Planet, APEC Bears, Dinosaur Park, Bears in Hawaii, and an Art Museum amongst others. Enchanting and intricate details are put into each display. In the eight wonders of America, we traveled from New York to Washington D.C., the Rocky Mountains, on to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and also Hollywood. Various bears participate in many sports, and outings with penguins, seals, otters and other friends.
We learned the history of Teddy Bears and also entered a theatre where Elvis Bear sang his favorite songs and wiggled as only Elvis can. The kids were enthralled with so much to take in. I thought the dinosaur exhibit was very interesting. I would not have thought to put bears together with dinosaurs! It was like mixing your worst nightmare with the typical antidote for many children’s fears.
The displays are created to educate and entertain. The Save the Planet exhibit, in particular, helps children be aware of the endangered bears on the planet due to many current conditions, and how we can help to preserve them.
Since the museum is in Hawaii, there are bears surfing, doing the hula, playing the ukulele, beating the drums and snorkeling. There were even bear mermaids! I could barely keep up with my grandchildren as they darted from one exhibit to the next. And, yes, we completed our scavenger hunt and got cotton candy at the end. It was fun watching the children and appreciating this unique family-friendly venue.
Ruth Elayne Kongaika was raised in the mainland, USA, and has been living in the South Pacific for the past forty years. She enjoys trying to capture the beauty of the Polynesian islands through her photography, painting and writing. She has a blog which shares some of her art and favorite subjects at: