Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hilo

4.2
#1 of 7 in Childrens Museums in Hawaii
Imiloa Astronomy Center is located in Hilo. Find out how to plan Hilo trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.
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Imiloa Astronomy Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
274 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • My family visited the Astronomy Center during our December trip to the Big Island. The Center is run by the University of Hawaii system, and is extremely well done. It is an especially great place for...  more »
  • It sometimes rains a lot in Hilo so we went here to get dry. It is located at the University of Hawaii and they have a decent restaurant and gift shop. There is an IMAX theater show there although I f...  more »
  • We attended two talks with Emil as our lecturer. One of them was a live planetarium show about the night sky at noon. She is so dynamic and well informed. She asked questions of her audience and encou...  more »
Google
  • I like this place. I especially like the exhibit where you can control the Milkyway and zoom in and out showing Earth. That was my favourite part. It was like controlling it by creating your own Big Bang. I was also able to see a video of a NASA astronaut touring around the space station. This place is veered towards children for sure but I am fan of space exploration so this was definitely a fun experience. Learning about the voyages of early Hawaiians was good too. Seeing descriptions in Hawaiian language next to English translations was good to see, especially in the land where people once spoke them. We went in a dome theatre and the presenter was fun. She was engaging, knowledgeable and entertaining.
  • Hawaiian planetarium with a sense of place. Very strong also in the cultural context. Very nicely done and definitely worth visiting.
  • We were running out of things to do on the Big Island towards the end of our trip and decided to stop by here. It's air conditioned and my 10 year old is big into science stuff. While it is not nearly as big and extensive as the Science Museum of Minnesota, you can tell that the staff really cares about the museum and keeps it up nicely. There is a large room of interactive exhibits for kids that covers both space exploration and Hawaiian culture. We spent about an hour looking at exhibits (I think you would hard-pressed to spend much longer than that). Then we went to a show in the 360o theater. Again this was not nearly as impressive as the Omnitheater but it was cute. The space show we watched was pretty silly; even my 10 year old thought it was dumb. After that they did a 15 minute planetarium show about the Hawaiian night sky and that was pretty cool. Being from the Midwest the night sky is quite a bit different in Hawaii and that was fun to learn about. I would recommend as a great indoor stop (for super hot or rainy days) for those with kids in the 7 year old to teen age range.
  • Great spot for the kids to get hands on learning. The planetarium show was very informative as well and the questions and answers about the evening sky was a great finish to the show.
  • Very disappointed. Turns out this is not actually an astronomy museum, but another Hawaiian cultural museum dedicated to letting us know what amazing astronomers Hawaiians were in the past. Their centerpiece exhibit is a replica voyaging canoe. All written material in the exhibits is in Hawaiian first, then English even though less than 1% of the people who will ever come here actually read Hawaiian. After all this cultural obeisance, what does it earn? The scuttling of the Thirty Meter Telescope (which was to be one of the greatest new telescopes in the world) by volcano worshipers. Save your $17.50 (absurd!) and boycott this diversion. It has nothing to do with the incredible science going on atop Mauna Kea.

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Where to stay in Hilo

A convenient starting point for any exploration of the eastern portion of the Island of Hawaii, Hilo features many air-conditioned hostels, ideally priced for backpackers and other travelers not intending to spend a great deal of time indoors. For additional amenities and more privacy, book a room at a private bed and breakfast or small hotel near the town's best beaches. To stay closer to the hub of tourist action, consider a mid-range inn located in one of the old buildings in Hilo's historic downtown area.
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