One of the things I added late in the game to our Bucket List was a trip to ‘Iolani Palace. It’s got the distinction of being the only palace on US soil which is kind of cool but the palace isn’t really “advertised” as a tourist destination so we didn’t know about it at first. Most people come to Hawaii to do outdoor activities but if you’ve got an hour or so to kill, this was a nice place to wander around in.
There are 2 ways to take the tour: self-guided audio or a guided tour. I am not a fan of guided tours so we did the self-guided audio. When you arrive you get a sweet set of booties to protect the artifacts and an iPod that has the tour loaded onto it. Each tour takes 45 minutes and was pretty informative. If you’ve been to any of the European palaces, this will be tiny in comparison but Oahu is tiny so it only makes sense that the palace is a bazillion square feet. All kids under 3 must be in a stroller (which they can provide for you) so keep that in mind if you have little dudes. We decided not to take our kids so we could actually enjoy the palace, thank you baby sitter!
Downstairs was the dining room, a formal sitting room, and the throne room. Upstairs were 2 bedrooms, a music room, a library, and a room where Queen Liliʻuokalani was imprisoned for 9 months. While she was imprisoned, she sewed this amazing quilt and that is on display in the room. The room itself was tiny and I could not imagine being stuck in a room that size for 9 months.
Once you finish touring the 2 stories, you can head down to the basement where the royal jewels are kept and there is a large photo gallery. The kitchen is also in the basement and because of that, there are dumbwaiters in the house. I am fascinated by dumbwaiters so it was pretty cool that they had 1 set up like it was about to head upstairs. I also made a joke about going to the bathroom in the palace, which would have been totally possible since there was like 20 toilets but they were all “historic,” luckily, there was a bathroom for visitors to use so I can say that I did get to pee in the royal palace. It’s the little things in life people.
Overall it was a pretty interesting time. I learned a lot and it was interesting to see a palace up close. The palace was actually pretty modern for the time, it had electrical lighting before the White House did. Go ahead Hawaii! Since it’s small, it didn’t take too long so if you come to Oahu for a visit and need a break from the sun, you should check it out.