Grounds for discovery

KILAUEA — The Discovery Island Playground is the latest brainchild of the nonprofit campus of Anaina Hou Community Park. And this Saturday, the inaugural Keiki Fest will take place to raise funds for the new play area.

“The original inspiration came from our founders, Bill and Joan Porter. They came to Kauai on honeymoon and fell in love in Hawaii and the North Shore,” said Anaina Hou Executive Director Thomas Daubert. “The North Shore is just riddled with all of these large landowners and there’s just not a lot of open space. So that’s where our 15-acre, nonprofit campus was formed. But we’re in a phase now where the community is beginning to experience us as a community service for them.”

Keiki Fest will be held on their campus in Kilauea from 4-8 p.m. and will feature a day of family activities. General admission is $10, which will help go toward the construction of the Discovery Island Playground.

“When we came back together as a team in the past two years to get this project back online, we looked at Kauai Mini Golf,” Daubert said. “It tells the story of the islands through the introduction of plant life. The first hole is volcanic rock, then the next few holes tell the story of the plants that came through, followed by humans. We decided to model that in the playground, so it tells the story of the islands as well.”

The equipment, structures and educational signage of this 17,000-square-foot playground will feature a volcano climbing structure, replica of a Polynesian double-hulled ocean voyaging canoe, multi-level ahupuaa-themed Polynesian play structure, sugar and pineapple train replicas and an “inspiration zone” to educate keiki about the importance of sustainability.

The playground is estimated to cost $650,000, of which the Porters have donated a seed gift of $150,000. To raise the remaining funds, Anaina Hou Community Park is seeking tax deductible donations, as well as contributions of building materials, labor and supplies.

Supporters of the playground can also purchase personalized tiles for $60 each, which will be permanently be displayed in the playground.

Daubert said they have raised nearly $350,000 as of Wednesday afternoon. He expects the playground to be open in spring 2018.

The Keiki Fest will feature entertainment from local performers and dance groups — including a fire show by Coppin Colburn to close the event, interactive cultural activities, a round of miniature golf, food and vendors.

For $20, guests will enjoy all of the above including unlimited access to the Keiki Fun Zone.

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