Hawai‘i’s cultural past connects with the present and the future at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i located in Hilo on Hawai‘i’s Big Island.
With its stunning architecture, titanium cones and award-winning landscape of native and “canoe” plants of Hawai‘i, the Center since opening on February 23, 2006, has become a new landmark for the island, and a major new destination for visitors to Hawai‘i Island.
“This facility is a place of gathering, inspiration and connection,” said Ka’iu Kimura, executive director of the Center. “Our nu‘ukia, our mission, is to honor Maunakea by sharing Hawaiian culture and science to inspire explorations.”
‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is located more than nine acres of land overlooking Hilo Bay on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Science and Technology Park campus. The Center features more than 100 exhibits in its 12,000-square-foot gallery that intertwines astronomy and Hawaiian culture into a compelling story of human exploration and voyaging.
The Center takes its name from the Hawaiian word ‘imiloa, which means to explore or to seek knowledge or profound truth. Exhibit programs explore the connections between the early Polynesian star navigators, our earliest astronomers and observers of the skies, and today’s astronomers, who look at stars for answers to questions about how life began.
In the Voyaging Exhibit ‘Imiloa hosts a one-fifth scale model of the Hokūalaka‘i canoe, a modern day canoe, which symbolizes a continuing journey to preserve Hawaiian language and culture. The Center also showcases the exploration of the stars by the astronomers on Maunakea, one of the world’s tallest peaks standing 13,800 feet above sea level, and one of the world’s most pristine locations for astronomical research. Observatories atop Maunakea constitute the largest collection of modern observatories in the world and research from those telescopes is revolutionizing our understanding of the universe.
ADMISSION – (includes admission to galleries and one planetarium show)
• General admission: $17.50
• Children (5-12): $9.50
• Museum members and children under five-years-old: Free
• Group rates (10+) are available
• Individual membership: $50
• Dual Membership: $60
• Family membership: $85
• Patron membership: $125
• Donor level members: $250-$500 Plan to visit Imiloa Astronomy Center and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Hilo attractions using our Hilo journey planning app .
Imiloa Astronomy Center Reviews
We were fortunate to visit the Imiloa Astronomy Center when we did and learn about the star Betegeuse, whose life is possibly about to end. Imiloa has something for everyone: a planetarium show, a... more »
A wonderful place to visit and an all family attraction depending on the kids ages... We took our grandkids 3 and 7 years old and of course it was more amazing for the 7 year old who was fascinated... more »
I am interested in science but don’t have an intense background in astronomy. I have a 9 and 12 year old who enjoy museums. My husband was also interested in the topic. We spent about 4 hours in the museum. There was something for everyone. Emily one of the guides in the museum was beyond engaging and knowledgeable. Again we love museums but I think most people would find this center interesting and worth exploring. It could be completed in 2 hours.
Great place to go with kids or without. Especially when rain shows up . . . Lots of interactive displays and diverse information. The movies in the dome are entertaining for all ages. You can easily spend over 4 hours here. It's worth checking the website for what special programs are available and you are planning a visit. It's also great to just stop in without plans.
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