Saturday, February 7, 2009


Smith’s Tropical Paradise beside the Wailua River has been serving up healthy doses of genuine Hawaiian aloha, along with their kalua pork, for more than sixty years. At Smith’s, it’s not a show, but a way of life. Visitors have options. A kitschy classic is the boat cruise up the placid river to Fern Grotto, where your crew sings the Hawaiian Wedding Song, and then continues the serenade on the homeward journey. Their very underrated botanical gardens surrounds a lagoon and features the all-stars of the Hawaiian plant world and an admission fee that is family friendly—only six bucks for adults. In the evenings, the Ambassador of Aloha, Kamika Smith, presides over the luau and even croons a few tunes while guests partake of pork and drain an open bar. A short walk leads to the outdoor theater with its own lagoon that reflects the bombast of a volcano and the shimmying and stomping forms of gaggles of Polynesian dancers. You may enter his paradise a haole (stranger), but you will leave a kama’aina (adopted local).