News Column

A mishmash of family fun and news

May 17, 2014

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

May 17--Wind tunnel allows free-fall flying experience

Send your spirits soaring -- along with your arms, legs, head and entire body -- at The Groove Hawaii.

The family entertainment center in Kakaako is opening a vertical wind tunnel that has patrons hovering in midair, supported only by wind blowing at about 140 mph, similar to speeds attained by sky divers during free fall.

Instructors give a brief orientation to show how to get into the proper flying position -- arms spread, hands slightly above head level, legs spread with knees slightly bent, head up and hips out -- and explain the hand signals they use to tell fliers how to keep under control.

They stand in the wind tunnel with beginners to keep things safe and easy during the experience. With practice, flips and spins can be performed in subsequent sessions.

Riders are required to wear snug-fitting, closed-toe shoes, such as sneakers -- no slippers. Flight suits, helmets and goggles are provided. Children as young as 3 are allowed.

The price to enjoy the wind tunnel, which opens Friday, is $66.50 for two minutes of flying (flights are in one-minute intervals, similar to what a beginning sky diver experiences during free fall) and $94.50 for four minutes of flight, with discounts available for groups and experienced fliers.

The Groove Hawaii, located at 805 Ala Moana Blvd., also features go-kart racing, video games and pool. It is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 660-9188.

Steven Mark, Star-Advertiser

Head to Family Sunday to learn about Hokule'a

The Hokule'a's round-the-world journey will be the focus of the Honolulu Museum of Art's next Bank of Hawaii Family Sunday this weekend.

Kids can learn about the art of navigation and other aspects of the traditional Polynesian sailing vessel at the free event, which will be held at both the museum's sites.

At the museum's main facility downtown, kids can learn to make star maps and go on a gallery hunt of ocean-related artwork. To honor Mau Piailug, the Yapese navigator who taught the original Hokule'a crew to use the stars to navigate, members of the Remathau Club of Hawaii, who are also from Yap, will be on hand to share navigation and cultural knowledge.

Families can take a shuttle up to Spalding House, where kids can use flotation devices, skewers, yarn and straws to make small outrigger canoes and race them in the pool for prizes.

Also available that day in the Doris Duke Theatre is "Paint Me a Story: Animation from Around the Globe," a showcase of the best films from this year's Children's Film Festival Seattle. Screenings are at 11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 13 and under.

Steven Mark, Star-Advertiser

Wild times on tap

With a theme like "Go Wild," it's no surprise that this year's 50th State Fair will be filled with a lot of animal attractions, from island rarities like bears to petting-zoo favorites like pigs and goats.

But for ride lovers, EK Fernandez Shows is unleashing a Flying Cobra.

The Flying Cobra, pictured above, is an ejection-seat ride -- essentially a human slingshot -- with a two-person seat attached to tightened elastic cords that are connected to two 105-foot-tall poles. Passengers in the seat are launched 150 feet into the air, feeling a G-force of 4.8, which is comparable to a roller coaster.

But the stomach-churning fun doesn't stop there, as the seat goes through a series of bounces and somersaults high above the Earth before settling back on the ground.

Because the Flying Cobra is considered a special attraction, it is not covered by ride coupons or wristbands. The price to ride is $20 per person.

"The ride is truly wild and will showcase what we are offering at this year's fair," said EK Fernandez Executive Vice President Donna Smith.

While there won't be any tigers roaming around the Aloha Stadium lot when the fair opens Friday, there are sure to be a few lions (of the sea variety) and bears -- with some battle-ready horses waiting in the wings.

You can see 8-year-old Tonk -- a 7-foot-tall, 600-pound male grizzly bear -- and cubs Yogi and Maggie in "A Grizzly Experience," an educational show that gives audiences a lesson in safety as well as an up-close-and-personal look at an Alaskan grizzly bear. The show runs through June 8.

In "Sea Lion Splash," California and South American sea lions show off their skills balancing balls, shooting hoops, dancing and doing handstands. The show runs through June 22.

Starting June 13, the Dark Knights of the Empire will transport audiences back into the middle ages to experience all the excitement of medieval combat. The main event is the jousting tournament -- horse-riding, lance-wielding knights barreling toward each other in hopes of knocking their rivals off.

All three shows are free with general admission.

Stefanie Nakasone, Star-Advertiser


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Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)

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