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Home » Hawaii Travel Tips » Best Things to Do » Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu

If you’re looking for a great indoor activity on Oahu, head to the Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu. Scroll to read my interview with their Chief Communications Officer and get my top tips for exploring the museum with kids!
This Honolulu Museum of Art post was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

When a lot of families plan their Oahu vacation, they focus on amazing outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, etc. I mean, Hawaii is an outdoor paradise!

However, Oahu also has a ton of cool indoor activities that are perfect for rainy days or to get a break from the sun.

The Honolulu Museum of Art is not to be missed. It is one of the best things to do in Honolulu Hawaii on a rainy day.

I interviewed Kevin Imanaka, the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Chief Communications Officer to find out exactly why families should include this Hawaii museum on their Oahu travel plans.

Be sure to check out the top 101 things to do on Oahu with kids!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu with kids.

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Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids.

Honolulu Museum of Art Interview Questions + Answers

Here is everything you need to know about this Oahu art museum, one of the top things to see Honolulu has to offer.

What is your Role at the Honolulu Museum of Art?

As Chief Communications Officer, I am a member of the Honolulu Museum of Art’s senior management team, accountable for leading the museum’s communications, marketing, and branding initiatives.

I help to develop and refine HoMA’s strategic planning and related communications efforts to reinforce its reputation as a welcoming, community-focused, and forward-thinking institution.

Where is the Honolulu Museum of Art located?

The Honolulu Modern Art Museum is located on the island of O‘ahu, right in the heart of Honolulu at 900 South Beretania Street.

Where is the Best Parking at the Honolulu Museum of Art?

There is on-site Honolulu Museum of Art parking.

Our main public parking lot is located behind the Honolulu Museum of Art School, with entrances on Beretania Street and Young Street.

The parking for Honolulu Museum of Art costs $5 for five hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Honolulu Art Museum parking for visitors with disabilities is available at the museum’s side entrance gates on Ward Avenue and Victoria Street. The five spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

What is there to Do/See at the Honolulu Museum of Art for families?

From special exhibitions to new and inventive ways to display the museum’s encyclopedic collection of artwork from around the world, HoMA is on par with the best museums in the world and is especially one of the best museums in Oahu.

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Kids looking at artwork at the Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu
Photo credit: Honolulu Museum of Art

In addition, HoMA hosts the Doris Duke Theatre, Hawai‘i’s largest independent arthouse theatre, docent tours for art enthusiasts of all ages, educational programs and art classes for all levels of budding artists, gallery hunts for children, and special events like ARTafterDARK and Family Sunday which happen once a month throughout the year.

Are there any Books (children’s or adult books) you would Recommend People Read Before Visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art?

The shop has a few children’s books about museums, including Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum and Arnold’s Extraordinary Art Museum.

Adults may want to brush up on some of the more popular, rare art housed in our galleries by getting a copy of the Honolulu Museum of Art’s selected art catalog.

How Much Time Should Families Set Aside to Explore the Honolulu Museum of Art?

Because of the expansive nature of our 50,000-piece collection and the fact that we continually rotate, you could spend almost all day just exploring the Hawaii Art Museum permanent collection alone.

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Kids playing in outdoor courtyard at the Honolulu Museum of Art in Oahu
Photo credit: Honolulu Museum of Art

We also have special exhibitions, tours, programs, events, and independent films happening every day.

And, when you’re ready for a break, we have an award-winning open-air restaurant, a full-service coffee bar, and a specialty shop stocked with thousands of art-related items from around the world.

So, while visiting HoMA could easily be an all-day affair, you can make your visit as short or as long as is ideal for your family.

Why is the Honolulu Museum of Art Important?

At this Oahu museum, we play an important role in presenting and preserving art from around the world and making it accessible for future generations.

The Honolulu Art Museum hosts free field trips to over 15,000 students annually, some of whom are experiencing an art museum for the very first time.

HoMA also works with schools and teachers to preserve and support art education in schools across the state and ensure children from all backgrounds get to experience the transformative power of creativity.

The Museum of Modern Art Honolulu is committed to serving and being a part of this community as a place to learn, be inspired, and connect to the world.

Why should Tourists Visit the Honolulu Museum of Art on their Oahu vacation?

For over 90 years, the Honolulu Museum of Art has served as a very special gathering place for our community to celebrate the amazing things that can happen when art, history, culture, and education all converge in one place.

As an encyclopedic museum hosting some of the most fascinating art on Earth, our collection holds more than 50,000 pieces from all corners of the globe, from ancient artifacts to contemporary works, and representing all major cultures of the world.

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Girls hugging in the Asian Courtyard at the Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu
Photo credit: Honolulu Museum of Art

Whether you’re exploring our expansive art collection and iconic grounds, getting lost in a thought-provoking special exhibition, reigniting your creative side through an art class, or snagging tickets for the latest independent film, you’ll find that HoMA has something for everyone.

What do you want Visitors to Understand about Hawaiian Culture?

Hawai‘i is uniquely influenced by Western, Eastern, and Polynesian cultures. That virtually assures a diversity of activities, attractions, food, and fun you can find nowhere else in the world.

Hawai‘i’s host culture and language, Hawaiian, is beautiful and strong, and prominently represented throughout the state.

A visitor to Hawai‘i would be remiss not to learn as much as possible about the culture and traditions of native Hawaiian people as well as the state’s unique local culture, and to experience it through foods, language, activities, and of course art.

Is there Food Available at the Honolulu Museum of Art?

The Honolulu Art Museum cafe is amazing and has served up great cuisine, thirst-quenching refreshments, and island-style hospitality to generations of Hawai‘i’s families for over 50 years, surrounded by lush gardens, a waterfall, and spectacular sculptures by Jun Kaneko.

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe in Oahu
Photo credit: Honolulu Museum of Art

The café is also a designated ocean-friendly restaurant, dedicated to persevering the beauty of our islands. You can join us for lunch on Tuesdays through Saturdays or brunch on Sundays.

What are your Upcoming Exhibits or Programs?

David Hockney: Perspective Should Be Reversed, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation November 17, 2023 – March 10, 2024

This is one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century.

The exhibition is the largest North American retrospective print exhibition of Hockney’s career, with more than 100 colorful prints, collages and photographic and iPad drawings in a variety of media spanning six decades of the artist’s career.

Navid Sinaki: The Infinite Garden October 5, 2023 – March 3, 2024

Inspired by the mythological works of Persian poets Ferdowsi (940–c.1025) and Nizami Ganjavi (1141–1209), artist Navid Sinaki has created The Infinite Garden, a queer epic about a king who builds a garden for each of his three lovers; one of flowers, one of fruit, and another of glass.

Each lover regales the king with tales of shrinking princes, supernatural trickery, and paramours who never quite meet until death.

Things to Do in Hawaii with Kids: a review of Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: image of Couple walking out the entrance to the Honolulu Museum of Art on Oahu
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Fallas

What to Know Before You Go to the Honolulu Museum of Art

Here is everything you should know about the Honolulu Art Museum.

Honolulu Museum of Art Hours

The Hawaii Museum of Art hours are as follows: Tuesday-Sunday: 10 am-4:30 pm. The Museum is closed on Mondays.

Hawaii Museum of Art Admission Fees

Adults: $20
Hawaii Residents: $10 with ID
Age 18 and Under
: FREE

Entry to the Museum Shop, the café, and the Robert Allerton Art Library is free.

Free Days at the Museum

If paying full price is out of your budget, take advantage of some of the Honolulu Museum of Art’s free days:

Family Sunday: Third Sunday of the month from 10 am-4:30 pm
First Wednesday: The first Wednesday of every month is free for Hawaii residents (with ID)
July 31: Admission is free for Hawai‘i residents (with ID) in honor of La Ho‘iho‘i Ea (Restoration Day)

Additionally, the Art Museum Hawaii is a participant in the Blue Star Museums program.

From Armed Forces Day—Saturday, May 18—until Labor Day—Monday, Sep 2—HoMA joins over 2,000 participating museums in the Blue Star Museums program by offering free admission and 10% off purchases in the Museum Shop to U.S. active-duty military personnel and their families (with ID).

Bags and Backpacks

Staff members will be inspecting all bags and you must check all backpacks, shopping bags, parcels, umbrellas, tripods, and any bags exceeding 16 inches in diameter at the Visitor Information Centers.

Accessibility

All Honolulu Museum of Art galleries and facilities are wheelchair-accessible. You can bring your own or you can borrow one at the museum’s entrance gates on Ward Avenue and Victoria Street at no charge.

If you have a specific question about the accessibility at the Honolulu Museum of Art, contact Kim Hutchison at 808-532-1831 or [email protected].

Taking Photos at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Wondering if you should bring your camera? You can take photos in most Honolulu art galleries, as long as you don’t use a flash and it’s for personal use. The galleries where photography is not allowed are clearly marked.

You can’t bring a tripod and you can only take video in the courtyards and the grounds of the museum (not inside.)

Sketching

A fun way to get kids engaged with the art is to bring along sketchbooks and let them sketch their favorite works of art. Sketching is allowed in the galleries as long as you use a pencil (so no ink or paint.) And your sketchbook can’t be larger than 8.5″ x 11.”

Just be mindful of the visitors around you and don’t bring an easel or sit on the floor to sketch. If the art galleries in Honolulu Art Museum get super crowded, guards might ask you to stop sketching.

Bringing a Baby

Strollers are allowed everywhere at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Another option would be to wear your baby in a baby carrier.

Food and Drink

Outside food and drinks are not permitted in the museum, including in the courtyards and the Doris Duke Theatre. But, you can grab a bite or a drink at the Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe + Coffee Bar.

What Else to do Near the Honolulu Museum of Art

If you are looking for other things to do near Honolulu, here are a few suggestions.

Hawaii State Art Museum

If you want to make a full day of enjoying art, continue on to the Hawaii State Art Museum.

This free art museum has some of the best contemporary art from across the state of Hawaii. Plus, they have a sculpture garden, a gallery shop, and a cafe.

It is another one of the fun art museums in Honolulu.

Iolani Palace

Another great stop is Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States.

Built-in 1882 by King David Kalakaua, Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893.

They have fantastic guided and self-guided tours. Read how to do an Iolani Palace tour.

Thomas Square

If your kids need to get some wiggles out after spending time at the Honolulu Museum of Art, walk over to Thomas Square. It’s located just a few steps from the museum and has a large grassy field.

Thomas Square is a historic landmark. This park is where the British handed back the Hawaiian Kingdom to King Kamehameha III after 5 months of occupation in 1843.

It’s another one of the things to do at Honolulu with kids after a long day of looking at art.

Best Honolulu Museums Wrap-Up

There are plenty of art museums in Hawaii, and the Honolulu Museum of Art is one of the best.

It is one of the best things to do in Hawaii Honolulu if you want to look at some awesome art and learn more about the Hawaiian culture.

Looking for more fun things to do in Oahu with kids? Find out the best Oahu luaus, things to do in Waikiki, and my guide to North Shore Oahu!