One-part traditional science center and one-part cultural center, the Imiloa is a unique multidisciplinary museum that could only exist in Hawaii. Inside the campus’ conically-edged, volcano-inspired buildings, exhibits showcase scientific understanding of the origins of the universe alongside Hawaiian cultural exhibits. Exhibits are divided into two areas—origins and explorations—to help visitors appreciate the scientific understanding of the origins of the universe as well as Hawaiian cultural understanding of the cosmos and how the cosmos guide exploration, whether its into the stars themselves or using the stars to navigate over land and sea. A full-dome planetarium with daily, locally-relevant star (one show is included in admission cost) and free-to-explore native gardens are also highlights.
Operated by the University of Hawaii at Hilo and located in the foothills of Mauna Kea, several exhibits focus on Mauna Kea, shedding insight into both research taking place within the mountain’s 13 summit observatories and Hawaiian reverence for the mountain. Many of the longer tours visiting the summit observatories incorporate an informative stop at Imiloa.
Imiloa is located at 600 Imiloa Place in Hilo not far from the Saddle Road with easy access to Mauna Kea’s visitor center and observatories a little over 30 miles away. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. til 5 p.m. Admission is $17.50 for adults, $9.50 for children ages 5-12 and free for kids under 5.