Mark Loproto
Posted on January 16, 2024

Oahu’s Most Interactive Luaus

Oahu’s Most Interactive Luaus

by Mark L., Last Updated January 16, 2024

Guests participate in a group hula lesson, one of the most common interactive activities found at luaus.
Learning some hula!

If you’re the kind of person who loves to immerse yourself in new experiences, then a luau is probably high on your list of things you absolutely must do while you’re visiting Oahu.

Luaus always deliver culturally significant performances and bountiful spreads of exotic cuisine and create truly special evenings for their guests.

But, if you choose wisely, you can also fill your night with interactive activities and immerse yourself in the culture, rather than simply being an observer.

Some luaus hold luau activities as merely a means of keeping the kids entertained, but there shouldn’t be an age limit on fun! At this kind of luau, it always seems that either the activities are too juvenile or there’s just not enough space and time allotted for the adults to play too.

Meanwhile, at other luaus, the immersive activities are planned with adults in mind too. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to participate. Hands-on activities like hula dancing, ukulele lessons, and temporary tattoos are all part of the fun and intended for guests of all ages. There’s no age limit at these luaus. Like it should be, because every fun-loving guest wants to experience Polynesian customs and traditions up close, right?

If it’s interaction and hands-on activities you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with any of the following luaus.

Here are our top picks for the most interactive luaus on Oahu.

Toa Luau in Waimea Valley

Hike to beautiful Waimea Falls, one of the activities you can immerse yourself in before Toa Luau
Hike to beautiful Waimea Falls before the luau!

Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Toa Luau may be the most culturally intensive luau of them all. And it’s certainly one of the most interactive luaus as well. Luau tickets include admission to Waimea Valley too. You can spend the afternoon exploring the grounds and botanical gardens and swimming under the waterfall before the luau.

The night kicks off with an imu cooking demonstration and other cultural activities on the lawn. Toa Luau provides a lot of room and time for these activities. Everyone gets a chance to try them all.

There are usually around five or six different activities to participate in or observe, such as weaving headbands, poi ball twirling, husking coconuts, or learning how to use the imu.

As the activity hour draws to a close, a traditional Hawaiian kava ceremony signals that it is time to feast. In Polynesian culture, the ritual communal drinking of the kava is used to mark special occasions. A few guests volunteer to represent the audience during the kava ceremony. This is a very special ritual that no other commercial luaus practice.

Diamond Head Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium

Poke Nachos served at Diamond Head luau's "food festival." The food festival dining concept makes Diamond Head one of the most interactive luaus on Oahu.
Poke Nachos and other delicacies await at the Diamond Head Luau.

In the shadow of Oahu’s iconic Diamond Head Crater, is one of Oahu’s finest luaus. The Diamond Head Luau is known primarily for its “food festival” feast. Local restaurants and food vendors set up booths on the luau grounds, and guests get to sample the signature dishes at every booth. It’s a very fun and active spin on the traditional luau feast.

But Diamond Head Luau also offers all kinds of Polynesian experiences and activities. Among the activities rooted in Hawaiian culture are hula lessons, lei making, and even a chance at strumming a ukulele or learning to play a traditional Polynesian percussion instrument. You can also get your very own Polynesian tattoo! Sure, it’s only temporary, but you can wear it with pride throughout the luau.

The activities and games take place before you sit down for the evening show.  Be sure to keep the lei you made on throughout the luau and get ready to break out the hula dancing you picked up earlier!

Chief’s Luau at Wet ‘n’ Wild

Chief Sielu loves to get the keiki involved
Chief Sielu loves to get the keiki involved

Do you want interaction? The legendary Chief Sielu Avea is your emcee for this fun evening and loves to involve his guests in his show. He’s a master fire-knife dancer, but it was his comedy and crowd work that made him a social media darling.

There’s plenty of guest participation during the Chief’s Luau at Wet n’ Wild. You’ll have the chance to experience lots of island activities before the luau buffet begins.

When you arrive at the luau, you’ll find various Polynesian arts and crafts to try, like hula lessons and lei making, plus some rather unusual experiences too.

For example, have you ever wondered what it was like being a hunter throwing a spear to catch your prey? At the Chief’s Luau, you can learn how to handle a spear and start a fire. just like the earliest settlers on the islands.

But of course, what makes Chief’s one of the most interactive luaus is how Chief Sielu coaxes guests onstage during the evening show. Don’t be shy, become part of the show! We can’t think of anything more immersive than that. By the time the evening ends, you feel like you’re part of the Hawaiian Islands.

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