Located at the top of Manoa Valley, adjacent the falls trail head, is Paradise Park. The one-time exotic bird and plant attraction has been scaled back since closing in 1994.
That will soon be changing.
James Wong, the owner, has successfully obtained permits to renovate the main building and adjacent grounds. His goal is to re-open the park as a Hawaiian cultural center, similar to the Laie's Polynesian Cultural Center, but different.
"We're trying to tell people, Polynesia is one thing but Hawaii is different" he said. The new Paradise Park will emphasize music, hula, other Hawaiian traditions and Queen Ka'ahumanu, who owned property in the valley.
The development will be done in three phases. Phase one will focus on renovating the main building. A museum will be installed. Space for hula halau's to practice and perform will be made. The second phase will focus on the grounds outside. Plans for extensive gardens are already underway. The third phase will be dedicated to the creation of a luau area.
Wong has collaborated with consultants and confidants for two years in crystallizing the image of what the park will entail.
Tentatively, Wong hopes to open each area of the park after each phase is complete, on an annual basis beginning in late 2015, through late 2017.
The projected price tag is 10 million dollars of private money. He admits, that's a lot, but not when compared to the alternative.
"I was born and raised here, I'm 91 years old what I'm trying to do is preserve the Hawaiian Culture, since the state doesn't want to do it, OHA doesn't want to do it, somebody's got to do it".