Trip Planner:   USA  /  Hawaii  /  Island of Hawaii  /  Hilo  /  Imiloa Astronomy Center

Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo

4.1
#1 of 12 in Childrens Museums in Hawaii
Observatory · Science Museum
Create an itinerary including Imiloa Astronomy Center
ʻImiloa Astronomy Center is an astronomy and culture education center located in Hilo, Hawaii. Conceived by founding Director George Jacob in 2001, it features exhibits and shows dealing with Hawaiian culture and history, astronomy (particularly at the Mauna Kea Observatories), and the overlap between the two.

ʻImiloa includes a 120-seat planetarium, which features a fulldome video projection system. Planetarium presentations include ʻImiloa's exclusive signature show, "Maunakea: Between Earth and Sky." The bilingual exhibits (in Hawaiian and English) offer two views of Origins and Voyages, presenting the tools, visions and discoveries of the astronomers and the Polynesian voyagers (see Polynesian navigation), the first group of whom are thought to

have voyaged to Hawaii from the Marquesas Islands. Visitors to ʻImiloa will leave with a new understanding of the early Polynesians, who used the stars to find these isolated islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Hawaiians refer to these long-distance canoe explorers as "our first astronomers." Another planetarium show, "Dawn of the Space Age 3D," recounts the early days of space exploration, the so-called space race between the USSR and the United States. This is the only 3D planetarium show in the world.

Additional small theaters show a Kumulipo (Hawaiian origins) story, and an astronomy "birth of the universe" 3D presentation, underwritten by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (Subaru Telescope).

ʻImiloa opened to the public in February, 2006. It is part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and is located near the base facilities for several of the Maunakea observatories in University Park for Science and Technology on the UH-H campus, overlooking Hilo Bay. Its unique architectural design includes three large titanium-clad cones, representing the volcanoes Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualālai. The extensive gardens feature native, endemic and "canoe plants" brought by the Polynesians. Exhibit halls, planetarium, gift shop, and Sky Garden café are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. An evening "Maunakea Skies" star talk is held in the planetarium on the last Saturday of each month.

In the Hawaiian language, ʻImiloa means "exploring new knowledge." It is located at 600 ʻImiloa Place in Hilo, just north of Hawaii Route 2000 (Pūʻāinakō Street).
Plan to visit Imiloa Astronomy Center and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Hilo attractions using our Hilo journey planning app.
Source
Create a full itinerary - for free!

Imiloa Astronomy Center reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
343 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • The exhibits are very well done, and most interesting. We also loved the planetarium show, which is included in the cost of the ticket. 
    The exhibits are very well done, and most interesting. We also loved the planetarium show, which is included in the cost of the ticket.  more »
  • We saw a wonderful 1-hour planetarium show (Skies Above Hawaii), The speaker was so interesting that even kids were spell-bound. There are many other shows throughout the day. We also went... 
    We saw a wonderful 1-hour planetarium show (Skies Above Hawaii), The speaker was so interesting that even kids were spell-bound. There are many other shows throughout the day. We also went...  more »
Google
  • Safe and following procedures. Make reservations if you can. Very knowledgeable and interesting.
  • We just became pass holders and will be going many more times! We had a blast with the dinosaur exhibit, but there are so many rad astronomy exhibits we want to spend so much more time here.

Plan your trip to Hilo

  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.