Formerly known as the Hawaii Children's Museum, housed in the Dole Pineapple Cannery in Iwilei, the storefront facility quickly outgrew its audience of families with young children and throngs of school children who lined up at the door to visit the 5,000 square foot museum. The museum, started and staffed initially by volunteers, needed to find a permanent home.
In 1998, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center rose from the renovated and expanded shell of an old incinerator next to a city landfill near downtown Honolulu. Today, the landfill has been transformed into a gem of a waterfront park, and the incinerator is now a beehive of activity for children from across the Hawaiian Islands. The facility sits nestled among spreading shade trees and fanning palms, an inviting oasis for families right in the middle of a busy urban Pacific center.
Its staggered three levels rise gently, housing 38,000 square feet of high-tech, interactive exhibits, divided among four major themed "galleries." The only reminder of the facilities former life as an incinerator is a remnant smokestack, under whose shadow the Discovery Center sits.
The symbolism of that transformation from an incinerator to a world class children's "museum" is not lost on those closest to the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center and who know its history. And perhaps it is appropriate that the realization of a dream, a decade in the making, would rise out of the ashes of a discarded entity.
The Children's Discovery Center is the culmination of nearly 20 years of hard work, love, commitment and dedication by a core group of volunteers, along with the generosity of corporations, charitable foundations and caring individuals in the community. The fact that the Center operates so successfully in the manner in which it does (with limited staff and resources) is a testament to sheer grit, ingenuity, determination and a lot of tough love from a very few. It is the only children's museum in the country that started in a pineapple cannery and ended up in a city incinerator!
Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021 at 6:00pm Hawaii Time
Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 4:30pm Hawaii Time
Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 7:00pm Eastern Time
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