By Jamie Hazlett
Sun Star Columnist
As the mercury dips in and out of the below-zero range and a long break from classes draws near, many students’ thoughts turn toward warmer climates. Since Dec. 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, it seems appropriate to take a look at Honolulu as a destination for you sun-seeking Nanooks.
When it comes to winter escapes, Hawaii is incredibly convenient for Alaskans. Round-trip flights between Fairbanks and Honolulu come relatively cheap, with tickets available for less than $500 during some non-peak times. A brief search on Alaska Airlines’ website nets the viewer a four-day vacation package, including round trip airfare and a room at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, for just over $1000 per person. Plenty of other packages are available as well, with deals and upgrades varying depending on length of stay and travel dates. If Alaska Airlines knows anything about Alaskans, it’s that Hawaii is a popular destination for many of us. As such, they offer an array of click-and-go travel options online.
Getting there is only half the fun, however. Naturally, there are plenty of sunbathing, swimming and shopping options in and around Honolulu, but everyone does those things on vacation. For a break from the stereotypical sun worshiping, head to the Honolulu Zoo and hang out with animals from the world over. Featuring more than 30 endangered or threatened species, the zoo is a great chance to see creatures you may never see otherwise. Plus, there’s no better way to learn how to just lay back and enjoy the weather than watching a lazy lion roll around in sun-warmed grass before taking a leisurely nap. Trying to save money? Pack a sandwich and settle down in the grass to watch the animals frolic while you eat.
Those interested in Hawaiian art and culture, or just needing an afternoon out of the sun, should visit the Hawaii State Art Museum. A free attraction, the museum showcases artworks inspired by the islands and made by Hawaiians. Visit the museum’s website and click on “Exhibitions/Collections” to view some of the works on display. Another option is a visit to the Honolulu Academy of Art, where current exhibitions range from a look at “Four Thousand Years of Southeast Asian Art” to a display of Mediterranean textiles to a show focusing on depictions of scenes from the classic novel “The Tale of Genji.” In short, the Honolulu Academy of Art has something to please everyone, and at $10 per person, it’s a cheap and interesting diversion.
It’s not exactly off the beaten track, but anyone who has not yet been to the USS Arizona and USS Missouri Memorials should make the time to take a tour and learn a little history. While solemnity is definitely the attitude to carry with you at these memorials, the Hawaiian sun and sand will have you back in good spirits after your visit to the ships. Those looking for history with a less funereal air might try the Waikiki Historic Trail. With 23 historical markers along its length, this trail offers information while also leading walkers along the water and past attractions such as the International Marketplace and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.
All things considered, one could do much worse than to fly south for a few days and soak up the warm air and fragrant breezes of Hawaii. On your next trip to the islands, remember to pack two things – sunblock and a sense of wonder. Both will serve you well, and will make your trip 10 times more enjoyable.