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There are many historic treasures you can find and visit in Honolulu, Hawaii. But perhaps none is as grand as the Iolani Palace. The Palace is the only royal residence in the United States. It has now been turned into a park that visitors can enjoy. The Iolani Palace was built in the late 1800s and was the first building with electricity in the state’s capital city. The building had been used as a royal palace, and is now used by government workers as a place to relax and visit. King Kalakaua crowned himself king of the islands and his wife queen during a famous ceremony at the palace in 1898. Only two more Hawaiian royalty lived in the palace before the United States took over the territory. At the end of his reign, Kalakaua was forced to sign a new constitution that gave him no powers at all. He remained a figurehead, however, until he moved to San Francisco to die. His body lies in state at the palace. Iolani Palace became a main government building.
You can now take tours of the palace Wednesdays through Saturdays for a nominal fee. You may also tour the grounds surrounding the palace. That includes a Royal Bandstand, which now stands beside the Coronation stand where royalty crowned themselves, and the Iolani Barracks which used to house the royal guards, the Hawaii State Library is also on the grounds, along with the State Archives. Andrew Carnegie helped fund the original state library.
On your trip to the palace, you will want to stroll through the central courtyard. This is a beautiful location and a favorite of the locals. Many government officials and state workers pack their lunches and bring them to the courtyard to enjoy a relaxing lunch in some beautiful surroundings.
You can buy tickets to visit the palace at the Barracks on the palace grounds. Some things to note: children must be at least five years old to be admitted, tickets for children cost $1 each, tickets for adults cost $4 each, you’ll want to make reservations a day or so in advance to ensure a spot on a tour, and if you want more information, you’re encouraged to call 522-0832.