Na’Aina Kai Sculpture Park

I find it fitting that bronze sculptures of founders Ed and Joyce Doty now grace the Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park in an area where she often sketched out her ideas, as her husband would sit with her for hours, planning how he would make it all happen. Like these, many in this, the largest collection of full-size bronze sculptures in the United States, are one-of-a-kind works of art. Owner Joyce Doty personally selected each one and chose where they would reside in one of her many imaginative gardens.

Sculptures grace every themed garden, from the Formal Garden to the Poinciana Maze, where guests cannot get lost.

“Joy of Music”



Rather this is a maze designed to amaze visitors with both foliage, flowers, and sculptures, including the notable “Joy of Music.”




The tipsy turvy “Cartwheel” always brings a smile.




“Hearts on a Swing”



Then, of course, comes the George Lundeen sculpture of “Hearts on a Swing,” combining his masterful craftsmanship and engineering with inspiring artistry.




“The Little Thinker”




Hmmm… One might do a bit of pondering like “The Little Thinker,” as the frog sculpture inspires a rather Rodin “ribbit.”




We marveled at the detailed tile work in several places, even in tiled signs welcoming us to various gardens. One intricate mosaic captured my sister’s attention as it highlights the various faces of the Hawaiian people.



Sculptures were designed to aptly represent many aspects of various cultures.



Serving as an artistic and historical education facility, even the 3-D fish in the water are tiled.

Alaskan Athabascan Fishing VillageEducational diversity reigns as exhibits range from Alaska with an Athabascan Fishing Village to a setting created to represent a Navajo Campground, complete with bronze sculptures, of course.

Navajo Campground



The Dotys’ humor and sense of fun in life are also reflected everywhere, such as in the Horticulture Amusement Garden, serving up lots of levity for children of all ages.




And just in case your eyes are aging, a giant magnifying glass sculpture may help here.


Some sculptures reflect fantasy. Visitors will find a rabbit… sad because his carrot is far too huge for him to consume.

“Afternoon in the Park”

Many installations show families. A popular one finds Grampa and Granddaughter deeply embroiled in a challenging game of checkers in the sculpture entitled “Afternoon in the Park.”

Another sees three generations learning from the granddaughter’s coloring book.



Near the lagoon we find the old fisherman telling his ever-growing fish stories to the little boy.



Naturally, there are the boys sailing their little boats nearby.






Children play many roles in the sculptures here.




We find the girl flying her kite and the dog playing tug-of-war with a boy.





Another sculpture depicts children walking the dog…. Or perhaps the dog walking the group of children.





I enjoyed the “Making Joyful Noise” installation involving works from 4 sculptors as the animals join in the chorus.






The delightful “Tea for Two” brings back many memories for many a lass… The Ann LaRose sculpture finds a kitty rounding out the twosome.





Considering education reigning and a learning center onsite, I enjoyed seeing the sculpture of the little boy reading the newspaper by the mailbox.



Another sculpture, “The Delivery” captures a gone-by moment in time as the boy on his bicycle delivers rolled-up newspapers.

“The Delivery”

In one forest area, we found Little Jack Horner… not sitting in a corner. Oh, no. This guy is a sculpture of a family mule by that name. In art, he is being ridden by 4 grandchildren. In life, he became the first mule to win awards for jumping.

“Little Jack Horner”

“The Nike Girl”





Resting under another tree after a long woodland run we find The Nike Girl.



“The Rescue”




And there’s the delightful forest sculpture that finds children working diligently to rescue a little kitty cat that is stuck out on the limb of a tree.




Another captures tenacity and personality as children deftly seek a “Shortcut” across a bronze log.




Of course, we also find children happily playing with a flock of pesky birds.




Speaking of pesky, a sculpture aptly depicts the wild chickens that have become a grand nuisance on all the islands, but in this case, a dog is working hard to shoo them away.


One fun sculpture in the teak forest raises eyebrows, as we clearly spy Bigfoot romping through the trees. We also heard that the maintenance crew dresses Sasquatch in a variety of festive attire throughout the year during holidays.

A sign of the Dotys appreciation of the hours of labor to install all the plantings and sculptures throughout the 240 acres is found in one sculpture revealing a man showing his little son the tree he’d just planted. The specially commissioned artist selected an actual worker for the piece. The Dotys also invited the 25-man team of workers to become employees of the foundation and take care of all maintenance and upkeep of all the gardens.




That invitation was accepted. Another sculpture shows two of the men inadvertently sharing the contents of their lunch pails with some animated bronze sculpture animals.




Critters of all sizes have found their way into sculptures here in the Na’Aina Kai gardens.




“Stage Fright”


One entitled “Stage Fright” shows the elephant terrified by a tiny mouse. On the day we were there, the elephant also had a visit from a White-Rumped Shama, also known as an Old World Flycatcher.




Another sculpture group finds the big bear instructing all the other animals on what to do for the day when the gardens open.



Of course, not all critters listen… even to the big bear. These three little bears are found howling as they plot the trouble they will cause with their next antics.


“Circle of Friends”


I believe that my personal favorite sculpture is the Circle of Friends. One bronze animal represents each of Earth’s 7 continents… from an elephant, kangaroo, and giraffe to a turtle, penguin, beaver, and a bear.


The artist captured fun details, like a koala bear poking out of the kangaroo’s pouch and a bird perched on the turtle’s neck. There’s also a clever space where we humans can join hands with the critters and complete the circle. Naturally, I did not let that opportunity pass me by.

And I must not fail to mention the Under the Rainbow Children’s Garden. This one truly is designed for kids, but we older kids truly loved it, too!

Surrounding a 16-foot sculpture of Jack and the Beanstalk are many entertaining items for young ones, and those who are young at heart…




… from a wooden barrel plane to rocking horses.



A big round hippo and frog invite children to play, as does the Swiss Family Robinson-style tree house and so much more.










The Dotys’ love of Life and the Land shines through a sculpture entitled “Valentine.” This was an anniversary gift one year from Joyce to Ed. Many a guest heralds this as their favorite.




This private estate-turned-botanical-garden-and-sculpture-park in the town of Kilauea remains a site to behold on so many levels with flowers, trees, waterfalls, and a lagoon. The Doty’s planning, hard work, and generosity resulted in a legacy of art, education, and horticulture for generations to come.



About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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