The Polynesian Cultural Center is one of Hawaii’s top tourist traps. Founded in 1963, the PCC sits on a 42-acre facility on the North Shore of Oahu. The nonprofit Center was created so that the students of nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii could work their way through college by sharing their island heritage with visitors. The students come from an area that covers approximately 12 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean.
There are eight South Pacific nations represented at the PCC: Samoa, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, Hawaii, Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga and Rapa Nui (Easter Island). At the heart of the Center experience are the island villages, which offer visitors an opportunity to learn about — and participate in — the customs of each island. Visitors are encouraged to take part in a number of activities, representing everything from island games and crafts to food preparation and war training skills. With its large lagoon, waterfalls, lush tropical flora, and an “erupting” volcano, the PCC captures the romance and excitement of the South Pacific islands.
Compared to other attractions, the Polynesian Cultural Center is quite expensive. General admission starts at $49.95 and packages can go as high as $228.95 per person. Add in the fact that there’s no other attractions nearby, no outside food or drinks, a parade of upsells and you might be lucky to escape with a few coins left in your wallet. At least you’re helping some student go through school.
Tourist trap or not, you should experience the Polynesian Cultural Center at least once if you’re in Hawaii. We had quite a good time and the entertainment was both an fun and educational at the same time. Sally really liked those angry Tongas.