Sea Life Park Luau
The Charming Chief's Sielu's Luau

The Sea Life Park luau is a relatively new luau that takes place 4 days a week on the front lawn at Sea Life Park. It's called the Chief's Luau and features Chief Sielu. Big on hospitality and charm it's a winner in my book. I like the intimate, laid back feel to it and location in the scenic Waimanalo community only 40 minutes from Waikiki.

 

Chiefs Luau oahu-What Is It?

Chief Sielu has been performing for many years and used to be the principal fire knife dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center and has been featured on many television shows.

A luau is a celebration, a party with food and drinks, Hawaiian cultural activities and a show featuring hula & Tahitian dance and a fire dancer.

sea life park luau

Traditionally people would have one to celebrate special moments in life and have it anywhere from backyards to other locales.

A pig is cooked in an underground oven and seasoned before serving with other traditional Hawaiian foods. Today it's a big commercial operation held daily but Chief's Luau manages to stand out from the pack.

Where Is It?

Sea Life Park! That means you can hang out in the Dolphin Cove Theater like I did for a little bit before dinner and watch dolphins swim around. The park is closed by the time you get there so there is nothing going on in terms of shows and activities but you get a taste of what it's like.

On our way to the area where the luau is held we walked by a turtle pond/exhibit which had a bunch of turtles just hanging out. The Dolphin tank pictured below behind me is much more interesting.

sea life park luau me

This part of the island is very scenic and pretty. You have the Ko'Olau mountain range right behind you and Rabbit Island across the street in the distance.

The ocean is across the street and there is a spritual quality and specialness about the area that I can't describe. It's definitely nice to be out of Waikiki and in a setting that feels like you're in Hawaii.

Long story short it's about 40 minutes east of Waikiki about 10 minutes past Hanauma Bay. The community of Waimanalo is just down the road and Makapuu Beach and lighthouse is across the street.

The exact address is 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795.


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How Is It Different?

sea life park luau venue

Views-drop dead gorgeous; hugged by mountains & ocean
Sea Life Park location-see dolphins & turtles
Covered pavilion in case it rains
Country like setting
Extremely laid back
Not as big & commercial feeling as other luaus
The dancers actually look Polynesian


 

Hawaiian Cultural Activities

The Chief's Luau follows a similar format as some other luaus in that they have cultural activities to participate in. Where they are different is that it not formal or "staged".

You just kind of walk around and jump around and participate where you like.

sea life park luau cultural activities

Other luaus are like this but this one is more laid back. They don't have tables with signs or that amusement park feel to it.

The tatoo guy has a table but that's about it. It really does have a backyard picnic feel to it.

sea life park luau tatoos

Activities include making a head band out of leaves, spear tossing, tatooing and learning how to dance hula.

The hula portion is to just jump up in the crowd and try to follow along. Everything happens out on a big lawn.


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The Food

Honestly I didn't care for the food. It's ok at best. I did like the salad dressing and the rolls. It's not the worst luau food I've had but I can't say the food is good either.

The food at most luaus isn't that great and they seem to be on par with that.

*UPDATE-I've heard that the food has really improved since they first started. I intend to go check it out.

sea life park luau buffet line

I feel kind of bad saying that since I really like the owners & the hospitality. They are hands on making sure everything is running smoothly which it does but the food is what it is. You're there for the overall experience which shines in other ways.

The drinks from the bar are super-sweet. I like really sweet things but my boyfriend who has a sweet tooth too thought it was too sweet. I didn't mind but when we got drinks on the 2nd go round I asked the bartender not to add sweetener to the fruit juice for him. We're boring-we don't drink.


 

The Show

sea life park luau dancers

The Sea Life Park luau has a lot of the basic elements that you expect to find at any luau-the fire dancer, tahitian dancers with the coconut bras and hula.

However where the Chief's Luau is different is that all of the dancers look Polynesian and therefore authentic. That might strike you as an odd thing to say but most of the dancers at many luaus and dinners cruises don't look local. They look Asian.

sea life park luau warriors

Nothing wrong with that but when watching someone perform traditional Polynesian dances it's nice to see someone from that culture doing it.

If you go to Spain and want to see Flamenco you probably don't want to see someone who looks like me doing it no matter how good I am at it.

Also, the setting is quite pretty. Even though I've lived here for close to 12 years now I could not help but keep noticing the mountains surrounding and hugging us on almost 3 sides. I also liked seeing Rabbit Island in the distance and the ocean just across the street.

sea life park luau participants

We were sitting on this lawn in this very special and unique place that unfortunately is rare nowadays on Oahu. It's so busy and commercialized in so many areas.

I enjoyed having a small venue for a luau and the fact that we all had our lawn chairs and just set them down where we felt like.

Normally there would've been tables out on the lawn but with the threat of rain the tables were under the pavilion. I loved the informalness of it all.


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Sea Life Park Luau-How Much & When?

Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Pickup times in Waikiki start at about 3:00 and the gates open at 4:30. Sea Life Park is about a 40 minute drive away. There will be time to hang out and look at dolphins in the tank next door and participate in cultural activities.

They also take pictures of people with dancers and you can get drinks. It's pretty hang loose and do what you will here until it's time to eat.

PRICING & AVAILABILITY

 


 

Nearby Activities

sea life park luau combo

Sea Life Park & Chief's Luau Combo

 

Save up to 55% on Top Oahu Attractions!

Free Dolphin Encounter Included as a bonus activity with at least a 3 day pass.

 


 

Overall Pluses & Minuses

sea life park luau me and pedro

These are the overall pluses and minuses of the Sea Life Park luau:

Pluses

Gorgeous setting nestled between the ocean and the mountains
Smaller, more intimate setting
Informal, laid back & non-commercial feeling
Unique, backyard feel
Real Samoan Chief-was first international fire knife champion; the 2013 champion works there now
Cultural authenticity
40 minute scenic, low traffic drive from Waikiki
Hands on owner/operators
You get to see dolphins in the tank
The Chief is very involved and hands on with the crowd from start to finish

Minuses

The food was not very good but similar to other luaus (on lower end though)
The lawn has seen better days but it is not a big deal- *UPDATE: The lawn has been replaced with a football field type of grass
A flower lei option would've been nice-you get black beaded necklaces


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