Visit Hawaii: Iolani Palace History and Tours
Before you visit Iolani Palace, you might want to brush up on the history of Hawaii. This is the only way for you to really grasp the significance of this remarkable dwelling. It isn’t just a place for people to come and admire beautiful works of art.
Iolani Palace is closely guarded and protected and those who have a reverence for this place are much better off than those who do not. For this reason, there are very specific guidelines about the tours they offer.
Iolani Palace dates back to 1879, which was when they first began construction. It was finally complete by 1882, at least for the King to invite a select few of the Legislative Assembly for their first luncheon. By December of the same year, the King and his Queen began to live there full-time.
King Kalakaua has a distinct place in Hawaiian history, not just because of Iolani Palace, but also because he had a great love of art and culture. Even as far back as the 1800s, he demanded specifics for the design, both indoors and the grounds.
Thus, Iolani Palace tours are separated into sections, which help to move the tourists along, while keeping a close eye on any stragglers nearby. Beginning with the interior on the first floor, the Grand Hall, reception rooms, State Dining Room and Throne Room are cared for in a most meticulous manner, no one is allowed to touch anything. Cameras are not allowed either.
On the second floor, there are the private rooms of the King and Queen, as well as various other private suites. There is also the Imprisonment Room and Music Room. However, not all rooms are available for viewing on the tours. Only the Throne Room, Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room and a few private suites are included in the tours. However, this does not deter thousands from making the palace one of the most popular Oahu tourist attractions.
In addition, since this is considered one of the top 3 places to visit in Hawaii, which is saying a lot, the tours must be handled appropriately. Listed below are the hours of operation and general admission fees:
Monday through Saturday – 9-4pm (you must purchase your ticket before 4pm)
Closed – Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – ONLY
Early Closure – New Year’s Eve (you must purchase your ticket before 2pm)
There are two kinds of tours you can choose from. Lead yourself or sign-up for a guided tour. They only differ in that the self-guided tour allows you to explore the galley exhibits located in the basement. If you are looking for things to do in Honolulu that will take you away from crowded tours, the Self-led tour might interest you more. Each tour, however, lasts about 1 hour either way.
Cost of admission is approximately $21.75 for adults and $6 for children under 12. This is for the guided tour. Self-led tours are much cheaper for adults. The price is $14.75. It remains $6 for children under 12. Since the self-led tour includes access to the basement, the additional cost is $7.00