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Aloha Celebrated Here, By Lynn Cook

By Rajinder Dogra

Visitors come to Hawaii anticipating a special experience. They"ve heard of the Islands famous Aloha Spirit. They are looking for that magic experience. Island companies work hard to deliver it. For the past twelve years the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has honored those who do with their annual "Keep It Hawaii awards program. The award recipients, selected by cultural specialists, receive a carved wooden kahili depicting the tall feather standards that once announced the arrival of royalty in the islands. Watch for the carved award standard or Keep It Hawaii award signs proudly displayed by Island companies.

For the HVCB Hawaii Travel Planner call (800) GO-HAWAII (464-2924) or visit www.gohawaii.com for a complete list of the award recipients.

The real winners in this awards program are the visitors who come to enjoy the best Hawaii has to offer. When the best of each of eighteen categories has been selected, the judges come together again to select the "best of the best." Receiving the award for programs as well, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - After Dark in the Park program was selected for their excellent evening events in the National Park setting. For 13 years the programs have informed and entertained thousands of visitors with tales of whales and snails, reefs and forests, caves and mountain tops. Presented by cultural specialists, artists, musicians, scientists, and Pacific islanders, the magical evenings expand vistas, fire imaginations and keep the art of storytelling alive. For a schedule of upcoming presentations or to make special event arrangements contact the Division of Interpretation, 808-985-6014.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Waimea Plantation Cottages. Kauai. With classic, turn-of-the-century architecture, visitors find painstakingly relocated and restored plantation-era cottages, filled with appropriate artifacts and surrounded by stately trees and lush plantings, creating an oasis and a visitor experience reminiscent of a quieter time. Bookings can include historical tours. 800-9-WAIMEA (992-4632).

ARCHITECTURE: Hanauma Bay Marine Education Center, designed by Group 70 International, Oahu. The center encompasses nearly 9,000 square feet of theater space, classroom and training facilities, and exhibit areas for interactive computer stations, 3-D models and artifact displays, all tucked into lava and earth berms that blend into the natural landscape, meeting the challenge to create a facility that would enhance rather than detract from one of the most spectacular resources in Hawaii. Meeting space and private tours and events are available, 808-396-HBAY.

ATTRACTIONS: Bishop Museum "Navigating Change: The Northwest Hawaiian Islands exhibit at the Hawaii Maritime Center, Oahu. The exhibit accomplishes the goal of engaging students, teachers and the community in scientific and cultural activities through a creative, interactive opportunity to meet a sooty tern, come eye-to-eye with a gooney bird, and better understand the uninhabited atolls stretching 1,200 miles northwest of Hawaii's eight main islands. The facility has easy access for after-hours special events. 808-523-6151.

ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION: Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Planting Hawaiian program, Oahu. A year-round education program began with the exclusive use of native plants in all available hotel grounds, followed by education sessions on the importance of nurturing native plants. A walking tour is available, in addition to the annual celebration of Arbor Day Hawaiianstyle with workshops, exhibits, and educational hand-out material. For special group events call 808-921-9731

This article is sponsored by: www.grouptravelblog.com

About The Author

Rajinder Dogra is in travel business and has some other websites related to travel also.


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