We spent a lot of time exploring downtown Waikiki. There is tons of amazing shopping! Every high end store you could ever imagine all on one road. We were also happy to find tons of fabulous places to eat all within walking distance. We spent time at the beach every single day. Zion loved it so much and would ask to "go see fisses" as soon as he woke up every morning. He was fearless in the water. The waves would come and knock him over, completely cover his head, and he would just jump back up, lick his lips and say "ummm... delish". Apparently he has inherited his mom's love for salt.
While we were there we celebrated our 7 year anniversary. 7 years! I can't believe it's been that long. I'm so thankful to be married to my best friend and for the wonderful life we have together. I honestly could not be happier! We spent the day of our anniversary at the beach, and then went back to the hotel to clean up, rest for a while and then head out to dinner. On the way to dinner we decided to go for a walk along the beach which was perfect because Zion fell asleep, so me and Zac were able to have a nice quite dinner on the patio at The Cheesecake Factory. After dinner we waked back down to the beach and watched a Hulu Festival that was going on. We made one more stop at Yogurtland for dessert before heading back to our room for the night. It was the perfect anniversary in my book!
Besides exploring Waikiki and hanging out at the beach each day, we found time to do a few other fun things. We went to the Honolulu Zoo which is adorable! It had all the animals like any other zoo, but all of the walking area was lush and gorgeous. It was more like walking through a beautiful garden that happened to have animals than any zoo I've ever been to. We were able to spend 9-11 at Pearl Harbor which was an amazing and humbling experience. I learned a lot of facts that I didn't know before, and have never felt so grateful for our country and all the people that make huge sacrifices to keep us safe. We also took a couple day trips out to the North Shore. Wow, it's so different than Waikiki. It's so laid back and green. The waves are so much bigger (which is the reason we decided against staying on that side with a 2 year old) and everything is a lot more lush. It hasn't been commercialized like Waikiki, and is more of what I picture when I think of Hawaii. Both times we went there we had to stop at The Big Wave Shrimp Truck so Zac could get his fix. He swears they are the best shrimp he's ever eaten, and was happy to find it because it was featured on "Diners, Drive-In's and Dives". I had to get my fix by stopping at the Dole Plantation and getting a Dole Whip both times we were on the North Shore. Zion loved going on the Pineapple Express train ride while we were at the Dole Plantation. We also visited The Polynesian Cultural Center while we were on that side of the island. This was mine and Zac's favorite part. We had heard mixed things about it, so we weren't really sure what to expect. We loved it though. The grounds were beautiful, the little presentations were fun to watch, we loved the food and entertainment at the Luau, and the "Ha! Breath of Life" show was awesome. It just felt like such traditional Hawaii and it made the trip for us first timers.
Hands down this was the best vacation we have ever been on. We were able to do and see some fun things, but even more so, we were able to spend a lot of time relaxing as a family. I'm so grateful that we were able to go, and I hope that we are able to make it back again someday. We literally took over 1,000 pictures while we were there, so Zac made a slide show with some of them. I decided to just upload that rather than add a bunch of picture to this already very long post. Beware, the slide show is really long!