Discovering A Magical Castle

Five-year-old knight Truman Larsen shoes his horse in The Amazing Castle at Hawaii Children's Discovery Center NATHALIE WALKER PHOTO

Five-year-old knight Truman Larsen shoes his horse in The Amazing Castle at Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center

Once upon a time … That seems like the best way to start this column because it’s almost always the opening line of a fairy tale — the scene-setter for stories involving castles, costumes and lessons.

Children now have the chance to bring their own fairy tale to life with a new traveling exhibit at Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, “The Amazing Castle.”

From the moment visitors enter the castle, according to the grand opening press release, “they are transported to a magical time and place and the fantasy begins!”

Their adventure starts fittingly with the story of The Amazing Castle and a description of villagers and even dragons that they may encounter. (More on that to come.)

Children can steer their own story inside the stone walls of this fantasy castle. The idea is to “role play” by becoming lords and ladies, or if they choose, the jester. The exhibit is designed for visitors of all ages and will be open through May 5, 2015.

There are eight themed areas, including “The Keep” — a fortress that allows toddlers to create a castle-inspired dollhouse or a fortress out of “stone” blocks.

There’s a “Royal Puppet Theatre” that puts visitors in the roles of entertainers, and a “Great Hall and Garden,” where children can whip up a pretend feast.

The highlight has to be the “Dragon Tower.” This is where visitors get to wake “Herald,” the sleeping dragon … if they dare. Herald’s job is to announce important information to the citizens of The Amazing Castle, but he keeps falling asleep.

With all the hands-on interactive exhibits at the discovery center, your children surely won’t doze off, but they may not want to leave. Hopefully, after a day of family fun, you can live happily ever after.

After all, isn’t that what’s supposed to happen at the end of a fairy tale?

Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, 111 Ohe St., Honolulu

Open Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

General admission is $10 per person; kamaaina and military rates $8 per person; free for children under 12 months old

For more information, call 524-KIDS or visit