as one would expect from pretty much anywhere on the islands, it was gorgeous.
we were a bit early for our tour, so we pulled into kualoa regional park and strolled over to the beach to check out mokoli'i...also known as "chinaman's hat" island.
the internet told me that at low tide you could actually throw on some water shoes and walk right out to it, but our timing definitely wasn't on point for that. we settled for gazing at it from afar, and that was good enough for us.
we headed over to kualoa ranch and still had enough time to grab something to drink, hit the potty and relax in the cafe for a few minutes. well, and take this:
and then it was finally time to board the bus.
our tour guide was full of information about the ranch that he was happy to share with us - tidbits about the history of the property, how it was taken over by the government during the war, celebrities he got to meet as they filmed various projects. he pointed out where a few of the residents were hanging out:
and things like old bunkers left over from the war.
we stopped to walk through one of them - this one was giant, and built right into the side of a mountain. that big black circle is where a gun was mounted, ready for defense against enemy invasions.
it was full of set props left over from filming.
along one wall was a plethora of posters for some of the movies and shows filmed here.
and more props.
back on the bus, we drove through the valley where setup was happening for that weekend's spartan hawaii race. thinking back on my own experience with spartan in malibu a few years ago, i knew this would make a pretty awesome venue for an obstacle race.
under those tarps, hundreds of cocoa beans are growing. apparently, chocolate is becoming one of hawaii's biggest exports next to pineapples and macadamia nuts.
and here, we were entering jurassic park.
it was starting to rain a bit, but we couldn't resist the photo op - especially with the silly prop our tour guide had in his pocket.
out there is one of the few remaining footprints left by "godzilla."
and here is the setting for a scene in zac efron's upcoming movie, "mike and dave need wedding dates."
a couple more recognizable movies and locations:
apparently, someone working on the jurassic park set looked over and declared that he saw the silhouettes of two monkeys kissing in those rocks. i still can't see it, but maybe you will:
and this is where the original owners of the ranch attempted to start a sugar cane processing plant. too bad the climate and soil weren't ideal for his great idea.
we wondered if the cafe in "50 first dates" was named after this one:
and as we drove around the island, we stopped at turtle bay resort to look around.
sunset beach was our next stop.
the bean was super stoked to finally get to a place where she could get into the water.
check this out - the last time we were here:
we decided to drive through haleiwa to take a look and grab a treat at an old favorite spot, which apparently has relocated:
and we were too late. boo. so sad.
oh, well. we headed back to home base to get cleaned up and changed for our dinner at the aulani, where the old lady got a tropical drink served in a pineapple.
and that pretty much sums up our day right there. ah, how we love hawaii.