Living on the East Side of the Island of Hawai‘i gives Tūtū and Me East some wonderful opportunities for exploration, learning, and play.
For our April huaka‘i we chose to take a trip to Kīpukapuaulu “Bird Park” in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This bird park offers a 1.2 mile trail for hikers to enjoy. It is nestled in the cool mountain forest, and is easy enough for young keiki to walk. We walked the misty wooded path and encouraged our keiki to listen to the sounds of the birds and reminded them that if we were quiet enough, we might even be able to see the birds that actually make those sweet sounds. As we traversed the trail, several of our keiki watched for 1 of 20 flora plaques along the side of the trail. When we arrived at each one, they were excited to find them and asked that we read what was written. After reading each one we would all look for the flora identified and pictured on the plaque, and then move down the trail looking for the next.
Along the trail we found a very, very large ‘Ōhi‘a tree that had a split in the side, exposing the interior of the hollow trunk. The split provided keiki with a unique opportunity to peer inside a living tree!
By the time we reached the end of the trail we had spotted 3 Kalij pheasants, several small birds, crunchy leaves, sparkling water dew on blades of grass, rustic wooden benches, very tall trees, big steps, colorful flowers, hidden strawberry plants, and a lot of hungry keiki, but our trip was not over yet. We continued our huaka‘i by bus to the Nāmakanipaio Park where we were all able to eat lunch, play in the expansive grass park, roll logs, inspect leaves, and enjoy each other’s company.
It was a fabulous, fun filled learning adventure.