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Harold H. Higashihara Park & Kamakana Playground - Kona, Hawaii

Harold H. Higashihara Park - Kamakana PlaygroundHarold H. Higashihara Park is a county park in Kona, the Big Island, Hawaii. The park was built on a terraced hillside offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and plenty of trees and greenery. Other amenities include a baseball diamond, basketball and tennis courts, and picnic areas. But what makes the park more special is the unique Kamakana Playground, a community-built children's play area.

Local companies have contributed funds and equipment while residents offered manpower to create the unique playground when it was renovated in 2009. Today, the park and its playground has become a favorite hangout among Big Island families and visitors in the know.

What sets the Kamakana Playground apart from other playgrounds is its design which incorporated Hawaiian culture and history. Apart from the usual swings, slides and twist machines, structures like the traditional double-hulled Polynesian canoe and a Kona Sugar Co. 1897 model trharoain add historical interests. The wooden fence surrounding the playgorund is adorned with engravings of hula dancers and other Hawaiiana or traditional Hawaiian art.

A highlight of the playground is a multi-storey wooden maze/climbing structure in the form of a castle. It features a spiral tube slide that leads to a lower terrace about 30 feet down.

Other play facilities include a horseshoe ring toss, a concrete whale and a miniature volcano made from lava rocks. There are also rock tables with chessboards on them while picnic tables are in the form of the Hawaiian Islands.

Two pavilions, amidst a garden of native plants and stone statuary, serve as venues for gardening classes. A couple of horse shoe courts provide a place for neighborhood seniors to hang out and socialize.

The Harold H. Higashihara Park and Kamakana Playground are located on Kuakini Highway (Hawaiian Belt Road) just before the Honalo junction. It is open daily from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Admission is free.

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