Sophia Stark, a 13-year-old opera star, outdoor enthusiast and a contestant on Fox’s MasterChef Junior season 6, explains what she loves about her home: the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
What I Love about Oahu
It’s called the “gathering place” and, for me, that means a mixing of different ethnicities that makes the island special. This is seen in everything from the food to the culture. I love that in one moment you can be in modern downtown Honolulu and the next be out hiking in nearby Manoa Valley looking at ancient waterfalls.
When I have a free afternoon, I like to catch a lava demonstration or a planetarium show at the Bishop Museum. Another favorite spot of mine is the Polynesian Cultural Center, where the different Polynesian islands are showcased. Makapu’u Lighthouse Hike is perfect for families and those with strollers, while scenic Manoa Falls Hike is great for more experienced hikers.
Of course, my favorite outdoor activity is swimming and having fun in the ocean! Ala Moana Beach Park is great for families to practice snorkeling and swimming, as a protective reef prevents any big waves from reaching the shore and the water is perpetually calm. It usually doesn’t get crowded because the stretch of beach extends for about one mile. There is a nice view of the boat harbor and a newly renovated jogging and biking trail. If you go on a Friday night, be sure to see the fireworks display that starts around 7:45 pm.
I love looking at the island from a boat. Floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean looking at the coastline and Diamond Head crater is the best view ever.
A plate lunch. It can feed a family of four. Gina’s BBQ and Peppa’s Korean BBQ serve some of my favorite plate lunches.
The Hawaii Opera Theatre and the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra are unconventional hidden treasures that feature great symphonic music and world-class soloists. The Symphony Orchestra even has concerts showing a popular family movie while the score is played live. Opera is one of my absolute favorite forms of music. I’ve been performing in productions since I was 8, when I made my debut in the role of the shepherd in Tosca.
On the Rest of the Islands Check Out
The Na Pali coast on Kauai. The famous coast is used in movies and is easily recognizable with its towering 4,000-foot cliffs. Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. Where else can you see new land being formed in front of your very eyes? The Big Island also has many wonders like the black-sand beach, the green-sand beach and an erupting volcano.