At the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, terms like “lava lake” “vog” and “fissure eruption” are just part of the daily vocabulary. This informative center is one of the most popular stops while visiting the national park, as it precariously sits on the scorched rim of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Be careful of the noxious vog, however, as this sulphur dioxide emitted by the volcano can make it difficult to breathe. To take a break from the volcanic fumes, step inside the Jaggar Museum located next to the observatory. Watch as a seismograph traces the rumbles as they happen beneath your feet, and look at the clothes scientists wear while handling lava in the field. You can also gawk at old photos of fiery Kilauea explosions, with the current eruption running unabated since 1983.
As night falls around the park and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, a flickering, violent orange glow can be seen from the Kilauea overlook. This paved viewpoint is a short drive from the observatory and Jaggar Museum, and offers a panoramic view that gazes out at one of Earth’s most powerful corners.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open every day of the year, and the Jaggar Museum is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There is a park entrance fee of $10 when visiting the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.