The Kauai Smith Family Garden Luau, found just beyond the Wailua River, is an excellent cultural experience and great for families with young children. My husband and I have attended several different luaus while visiting Hawaii in the past; our favorite so far is the Smith Family Garden Luau. The spacious garden offers a great area for exploration and the ability for your children to run out all their giggles instead of having to sit quietly in a chair for the evening.
Over seven days I took hundreds of photos in Kauai. The scenery speaks for itself but my most favorite family photo of our visit to Kauai was taken at the Smith Family Garden Luau. I plan to turn it into a canvas to remind us of the great family memories we made during this vacation.
The entrance to the Smith Family Garden sets the stage for the beautiful lush grounds you’ll get to explore before the official luau activities begin. Every guest receives a shell lei as they enter. Our seven year old daughter was so excited to have her very own lei; it was her first of our visit to Kauai.
We purchased our tickets online so we walked through the entrance, confirmed our names, and then boarded a tram for a tour of the garden. The guided tour had quite a bit of educational information about the plants and animals. There are many peacocks strolling the garden and my daughters loved seeing them display their beautiful feathers.
You can explore the 30-acre lush garden on your own if you would prefer not to board the narrated tram tour.
The imu ceremony begins just before the cocktail hour. While you do have the luxury of choosing your own seats unless reserved as a group, it seemed they filled quickly. We found seats early in the evening then went to watch the imu ceremony. The traditional Hawaiian cooking method was well explained and interesting to learn about. We watched as the ti leaves were removed from the Kalua pig that had been cooked underground.
We returned to our seats for cocktails and music. The Smith Family Garden Luau is unique because strollers are permitted. In my opinion this would be a must for families with small children. We selected seats that backed to the open garden where my daughters along with other children guests ran and played.
Seating tip: if you have a stroller, select seats early. Keep in mind dinner is served by tables so you may want to ask the servers for the table schedule so you don’t end up sitting with hungry children at the table getting food last. Select seats backing up to the open garden for plenty of stroller room and grass for your children to get out of their seats nearby.
Complimentary drinks are served during the cocktail hour and throughout dinner. Drinks include beer, wine, mai tai cocktails, soft drinks and juice. Music is performed by local Hawaiian performers.
Dinner includes local Hawaiian favorites and the kalua pork unearthed in the imu ceremony. You’ll also find other traditional dishes including beef teriyaki, chicken adobo, and sweet n’ sour mahi mahi. The many buffet items include dishes my daughters loved too – Hawaiian sweet potatoes, fresh vegetables and mac salad.
After dinner you are escorted to the amphitheater where you see authentic performances from many different countries. Initially I wasn’t sure why we would want to see performances from other countries at a Hawaiian luau until, through the performances, we learned their relevance to the Hawaiian culture. Learn the significance of each culture and why they are important in Hawaii.
Driving directions were intimidating as we weren’t familiar with the island. However, following the directions provided on the pamphlet, we had no issues finding the Kauai Smith Family Garden Luau.
Driving Directions from the Smith Family Garden website:
Smith’s Tropical Paradise and the Fern Grotto tour are located in the Wailua Marina State Park on the east side of the island. Once you’ve turned off the highway, just follow the drive all the way back to the parking area.
From the North (Hanalei, Princeville, Kapaa): Take Hwy. 56 South through Kapaa to the Wailua River. Go past Kuamoo road, over the river, and take the first right into the Wailua Marina State Park.
From the South (Waimea, Poipu, Lihue): Take Hwy. 56 North from the Lihue airport. A mile after the Wailua Golf Course, watch for Marina signs and the beach on the right. Just before crossing the Wailua River bridge, turn left into the Wailua Marina State Park.
GPS Directions to Wailua Marina State Park: To find us by GPS, use:
Learn more about the Smith Family Garden Luau and purchase tickets online for your next Kauai family vacation.
For more Hawaii family travel ideas, see the fun we had during our Hawaii family vacation.