Na Aina Kai: fun for kids in the ‘garden isle’ of Kauai

na-aina-kaiKauai is often called the “Garden Isle” of Hawaii, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the Na Aina Kai botanical gardens. Nestled in a residential neighborhood not far from the eco-bed and breakfast North Country Farms, the gardens include 240 acres of gardens, forests, and beaches. For young kids, the Children’s Garden really is a paradise. There are fountains to splash in, a train to climb on, forts and swing sets galore, and even a Navajo village with caves just begging to be explored.

Because the gardens are in a residential neighborhood, and due to the fragile nature of some of the plants, the gardens are only accessible through an organized tour. These tours vary in price and focus, and last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 hours. The “Under the Rainbow” Children’s Garden Family Tour that we were on lasted two hours and included a kid-focused nature walk through the sculpture garden and a chance to feed the fish in the Koi pond. The second hour of the tour was spent exploring the Children’s Garden. If you know your kids are going to want to run and play on their own, rather than participate in an organized tour, you can request that the whole two hours be spent in free-play in the Children’s Garden. However, my three year old had a great time on the garden tour—climbing on bronze statues, picking up fallen leaves and flowers, and exploring the maze.

na-aina-kaiBecause there aren’t many playgrounds to be found on the north shore (oh, right, nature is our playground here!), my toddler had a great time in the Children’s Garden. For the very young set, it can be a nice break from the beaches and hikes and can give parents a little break from the constant vigilance that goes with having toddlers anywhere near crashing waves. In short, Na Aina Kai is an oasis within the paradise of Kauai’s north shore.

Date last visited: September 20, 2011

Hours of operation: Days and times of operation vary depending on the tour you’re interested in. The family tours run on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9:30 and 1:30, and on Fridays at 9:30. For a full list of tours and hours, visit the website.

Admission prices: Again, this varies based on the tour. The family tour was $20 per child and $35 per adult.

Food services: Some of the longer tours include lunch, but for the family tours, your best bet it to come fed and leave hungry!


Directions: Na Aina Kai is located at 4101 Wailapa Road, Kilauea, HI. Driving north from Lihue, on the Island of Kauai, drive past the 21 mile-marker and take the first right turn onto Wailapa Road. At the end of the half-mile road, enter through our iron gate and park next to the Orchid House Visitor Center.

As I disclose whenever applicable, Na Aina Kai hosted our family’s tour of their gardens. This compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.