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Top 10 Family Resorts

Astronomy at Hyatt Regency Maui

Sneak a peek at the solar system’s outer limits with the Tour of the Stars astronomy program at the Hyatt Regency Maui. Located atop the ninth floor observatory and overlooking the resort’s gorgeous Ka’anapali Beach landscape, this unique family activity is hosted by the hotel’s very own Director of Astronomy, Eddie Mahoney (a Solar System Ambassador for NASA), and gives guests – both kids and adults – hands-on access to the only recreational deep space telescope in Hawaii. (The state itself is a star-surveying hotbed, boasting crystal-clear night skies and the ability to spot over 80 percent of all the stars viewable from Earth). Mahoney’s new 14-inch Celestron telescope allows participants to locate and identify up to 1,000 cosmic objects – from double stars to nearby planets and galaxies to brilliant supernovas. The nightly, hour-long sessions ($25/adult, $15/child 12 and under; nightly at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm) are extraordinarily kid friendly, laid out like a beginner’s course in Astronomy 101. You and your kids will learn how to interpret the sky three ways: with your naked eye, through pair of giant astronomy binoculars, and by using the telescope itself. You’ll also take a close-up photo of the moon (be sure to bring a camera) and view the sun’s refracted light on the lunar surface through special “rainbow” glasses, while being regaled by stories about the constellations and how the Polynesians used the stars for “wayfinding” when voyaging to the islands over 1,000 years ago. Plus, at the end of the show, kiddos can look forward to a take-home their own star and moon charts for solo star-spotting. The resort also features an on-site water park with a 3,000-square-foot, sand-surrounded swimming pool, super-long lava tube slide, soaring water fountains, and secret underwater swim-up cave. After enjoying the resort's 40 acres of lush, tropical splendor, round out each day with a spat of stargazing on your own private lanai before falling asleep on a plush, pillow-topped platform bed (both new additions to all 800-plus rooms as of February 2011). Summer rates start from $323/night.

Suzanne Steinert


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