The Bishop Museum is an astonishing repository of Hawaiian history and culture. Founded in 1889, it is THE place to go in order to learn about the islands and the people who have called it home for so long.
The Bishop Museum is not only a great rainy day activity; it sits near the top of just about every lists of attractions in Honolulu, and we would include it in ours as well. So don't feel bad to give up part of a sunny day to visit. If you're at all interested in history or the Hawaiian culture, you won't want to miss it.
Pacific Hall gives a history of the Pacific peoples, their way of life, and their accomplishments. Hawaiian Hall presents three floors dedicated to beliefs, work and life, and important historical events. Kāhili Hall celebrates the many ali‘i (royalty) and displays beautifully their kāhili (their feather standards).
I (Andy) am a nerd when it comes to stars and outer space, so I also love the planetarium. Here you will learn about the current stars and constellations you can see as the sun goes down. Also (and I was remarkably excited about this too) you can hear and begin to understand how the Polynesians were able to navigate to Hawaii using the stars and the tides. Their understanding of the earth and its place in the universe was astounding.
The Science Center (which is somewhat aimed at the younger children) can be fun for adults as well, as they do provide a live lava demonstration. And who doesn't love lava?!
The museum is open daily. Find out more about the current special exhibits and programs on their website: bishopmuseum.org
And here's a google map of their location.