The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center on the Big Island in Hilo, Hawaii, is a good activity to go to if you (or your kids) want to learn about Hawaiian culture and astronomy. ‘Imiloa means “exploration driven by a sense of wonder and imagination” in the Hawaiian language. The center aims to build a bridge between science and culture through the stars and the mountain of Mauna kea, where the world’s greatest collection of astronomical observatories are housed.
The ‘Imiloa center offers educational and cultural programs for visitors, students, and local residents through exhibits, activities and a full-dome planetarium.
‘Imiloa’s exhibits are divided into two major areas: “Origins” and “Explorations.” Within each area you will learn about Hawaiian and scientific beliefs, theories and practices related to Mauna kea, the stars, and the world around us. The real must-see for visitors is their 120-seat planetarium. Don’t miss their show called “Mauna kea: Between Earth and Sky.”
If you are thinking that the ‘Imiloa center for astronomy might look good on your itinerary, have a look at the following virtual video tour:
Practicalities and admission for the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center
The ‘Imiloa astronomy center is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 – 5:00 with evening events.
When visiting, count on 3 to 4 hours to see everything in the ‘Imiloa astronomy center. You can also combine your visit with a dinner / lunch at the on-site (good) restaurant the Sky Garden Cafe.
General admission is $17.50 (May 2012) for adults, but several discounts can apply. Admission provides access to the exhibit Hall and entry to one of the Planetarium shows for the day, the Science on a Sphere and ViewSpace exhibits, and opportunity to tour the Hawaiian native landscape garden.
Directions to the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center
The ‘Imiloa astronomy center is located on the upper portion of the University of Hawaii – Hilo campus, in its Science and Technology Park. The Center is accessible from Komohana Street, off of Nowelo, just minutes from downtown Hilo. You can find them at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii, 600 ‘Imiloa Place, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.
For more information, see www.imiloahawaii.org.