A Weird Yet Surprisingly Fun Place… in Puna



I felt compelled to write about this place because it was just so wonderfully weird. It’s called the “Hobby Garden” – my mom just created (by that I mean she jack-hammered the ground and built) her own koi pond in the front yard. She needs koi. Sooo, she looks on Craigslist. The person at the listing calls her back and leaves a message on how to get there – We are in Hawaiian Paradise Park… turn down Paradise Drive, left on 12th and we are at the 6th telephone pole on the right… you’ll see a sign that says “Hobby Garden”. Mind you, when I listened to the message I thought she said “Hawi” garden which made more send to me than “Hobby Garden” even though Hawi is clear across the island. lol!




We drive in and there are makeshift… everything. The parking lot is drawn in by hand, there are signs EVERYWHERE. “More Parking” – “Aquaponics” – “Hobby Garden” – “Train Ride” – “Go Fishing” … etc… The guy got us right as we exited the car. He was an older Chinese man with a couple of teeth left… “We get nice place for kids play. How old? He’s free. Twenty-five dollars for adult.”




We were already out of the car with Jackson so there was no going back. At least not without a two-year-old tantrum taking place. My mom says “Twenty-five dollars!?” – I mean, that’s ridiculous. This is someone’s backyard in Puna. As I’m holding Jackson back from the “Hobby Garden” the Chinese man hands me a brochure. I see… it was FIVE dollars. He said “only five” and we heard “twenty five”. At this point, 5 dollars sounds cheap. My mom pays the man and starts asking about her fish.




Meanwhile, Jackson and I enter the world of ‘Alice in Wonderland” – it was so weird, it was wonderful. The Chinese man gave me a tour… “This is New York City… Here is Europe… We have sculptures… You want to see train, I can start train… Dinosaur… Play basketball… Get rabbits in the back… Go fishing… Oh, no this train is fo dolla… look around… see.” LOL




There were signs everywhere with mini history lessons, instructions and warnings. Sooo classic. Jackson gravitated toward the train sets. He watched them go around and around… even chased them! He couldn’t have cared less about NYC and Europe but boy those tiny model cars and trucks sure got him riled up! He even spotted a helicopter, boat and airplane. This place literally had it ALL.




We ventured toward the back of the property where they had their animals. Jackson said hello to the rabbit (and tried to steal a truck from the area marked “for private parties only”).




We saw some love birds – they looked like parrots to me but that’s what the old Chinese man’s daughter told us they were.




Between the animals and the “cities” there were all kinds of strange things erected. A dinosaur head. Complete with signage and information on dinosaurs.




Another dinosaur contraption. Any guesses as to what this was meant to do? There were like levers and things hanging down in the middle… ??




The basketball game was my favorite DIY contraption. Jackson got bored with it pretty quick.




There was another ball game. Jackson actually really liked this one.




He went fishing.




He spotted turtles…




and he SAT on the $4 dollar train – because there was no way mommy was paying $4 for that.




Jackson really enjoyed watching the lady fish for Mamie Ka’s (grandma) koi and loved watching them swim on the ride home.




Boy, that was an adventure that we were not expecting! Did I mention they tried to sell us EVERYTHING? Shoes, food, trains, jewelry, clothing, a dog house, more animals… it was CLASSIC. So whenever you’re in the mood for… whatever – head to the middle of nowhere to find everything. ;)




He also tried to sell us Chinese medicine.




Life’s Swell!




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