VIII: Things To Do In and Around Hilo


Welcome back everyone! This day trip has been a long time in the making. It’s really just spending a day around Hilo, doing most things of interest here. Since I’m living in Hilo, I’ve been fairly relaxed about accomplishing these experiences. But now they’re complete, and there’s quite a few! These won’t all fit into one day, so I’m just going to list the main attractions. DayTrip8Map

Itinerary

Hope for a Rainbow at Rainbow Falls (#70)

Photograph the Boiling Pots of Wailuku River (#71)

Fresh from the Island, Hilo Farmers’ Market (#87)

Visit Outer Space, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center (#68)

Revisit the Legacy of a Tsunami, Pacific Tsunami Museum (#69)

Traverse a Zoo in a Rainforest (#67)

Explore Hilo, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center (#66)

Explore Hilo, Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden (#66)

Hope for a Rainbow at Rainbow Falls

HiloNature

Top Left: Interesting branch found, with multiple layers to some sort of seed
Top Middle: Banyan trees make for great climbing around Rainbow Falls
Bottom Right: Rainbow Falls (sadly no rainbow)

Gemini interns climbing around the top of the 80-foot waterfall

Gemini interns climbing around the top of the 80-foot waterfall

Rainbow Falls is an extremely easy stop to make if you’re driving around Hilo. After parking, you only have to walk about ten feet to see the waterfall. The best time to visit would be in the early morning, when the sun shining through the mist has a chance to create a rainbow. If you’re feeling adventurous, after visiting the falls, you can take a short stairway up to a banyan tree forest (great for climbing)! Even further beyond that is a short pathway that leads you to the top of the waterfall, where you can climb over the rocks to stand right at the waterfall break look back at the visitors down below. Further up the stream where the current is not as quick, people sometimes swim and cliff jump into the icy cold water.

Photograph the Boiling Pots of Wailuku River

Oops! I deleted these pictures. Hopefully I’ll be able to fix this soon!

Fresh from the Island, Hilo Farmers’ Market

Some more exotic offerings at the farmers' market include passion fruit (lilikoi), dragon fruit, purple sweet potatoes and lychee.

Some more exotic offerings at the farmers’ market include passion fruit (lilikoi), dragon fruit (pitaya), purple sweet potatoes and lychee.

HiloFarmersMarket1

Top Left: Filthy Farmgirl soap, local to Hawaii
Bottom Right: Volcano inspired ceramics

The Farmers’ Market is one of the most bustling places you can find in sleepy Hilo. The two main days of operation are Wednesday and Saturday, although there are people there throughout the week. In addition to the extensive offerings of food (to take home with you or eat there), there is also a crafts section of the market. Free samples such as jams, butters, honey and salsa can be found at many of the stands. If you want a novelty or an interesting picture, you can even drink straight out of a coconut after it’s been shelled for you.

Visit Outer Space, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

The 'Imiloa Astronomy center houses more than 100 exhibits on astronomy, Mauna Kea, native Hawaiian traditions and the Hawaiian language.  There are many hands-on exhibits for children, and the planetarium schedules several shows per day. There is an entire room dedicated to ancient Hawaiian voyages around the Pacific.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center houses more than 100 exhibits on astronomy, Mauna Kea, native Hawaiian traditions and the Hawaiian language. There are many hands-on exhibits for children, and the planetarium schedules several shows per day. An entire room dedicated to ancient Hawaiian voyages around the Pacific;  the model canoe above is 20% of its true size.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center was a great way to spend a few hours in the afternoon, and there really is something to entertain almost all people of all ages. There is a wonderful mixture of Hawaiian culture and astronomy, blended together for a truly unique experience. There are frequently special events for the general public (evening shows and science talks from astronomers, to name just a few).

Revisit the Legacy of a Tsunami, Pacific Tsunami Museum

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is small but a great experience. The museum is filled with personal testimonies of people who have survived tsunamis, as well as stories of daring rescues.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is small but a great experience. It is filled with personal testimonies of people who have survived tsunamis and floated at sea for days waiting for rescue. In 1999, the family of a tsunami victim and the rescuer himself coincidentally visited the museum within ten days of each other.  Shortly after their identities were confirmed, a reunion was held for the two men in 2003.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum is located in downtown Hilo. It costs $8 to enter, but the ticket is good for the whole day. There are frequently volunteers there who will walk you through the museum  and share their personal stories of the tsunamis that hit Hilo half a century ago.

Traverse a Zoo in a Rainforest

Top, counterclockwise: a;oeirjs, random peacock out for a stroll along the public pathways, awere (only saw if he could take the lens cap because there was no way for him to take it into the cage), Namaste (Siberian tiger), aser;k, as;erj

Sights at the zoo include peacocks freely strolling the walkways, tropical macaws that will grab onto anything and everything, and Namaste, the Bengal tiger. If you visit the zoo, make sure to look for Namaste being fed at 3:30!

If you like tropical birds, this zoo is the place for you. It seemed as if half of the exhibits were birds. There were few mammals there, but the Bengal tiger, Namaste, made up for that. If you visit the zoo, watch him being fed at 3:30.  Namaste’s roar at being presented with raw chicken could be heard across the zoo. Even better, if you get to visit on a Saturday, be there from 1:30-2:30 for the petting zoo!

Explore Hilo, Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center

Much more of a quick stop than an actual destination, the Macadamia Nut Farm in Hilo has a very short tour of their factory, a mini nature walk, and a multitude of free samples.

Much more of a quick stop than an actual destination, the Macadamia Nut Farm in Hilo has a very short tour of their factory, a mini nature walk, and a multitude of free samples. You can also walk around their macadamia nut tree farm!

The Macadamia Nut Farm is only a few miles south of Hilo. The long driveway has multiple signs with fun facts about macadamia nuts, and is surrounded with macadamia nut trees. The tour here is only about five videos on a loop, posted outside of the factory windows. It is self-guided and very short, meaning you won’t need a long time here. If you like macadamia nuts however, there are free samples galore! Be sure to walk out amongst their grounds a bit as well, exploring the forest of production trees. The macadamia nuts can be picked up off of the ground, but you will find it very difficult to open them. According to this website, it takes 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to open one of these!

Explore Hilo, Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden

Onomea Bay

Onomea Bay (the botanical gardens wind around the fence seen to the middle right)

HiloBotGardens

Dozens of interesting flora in the Hawaii Botanical Gardens

I can’t pretend I was too excited to visit Botanical Gardens, but it was actually relatively easy to spend two hours strolling the grounds, taking in all of the interesting plants and scenic views of beautiful Onomea Bay. The story behind the gardens is quite interesting as well.

See you next time!

Next Up: Adventures in Kohala

One thought on “VIII: Things To Do In and Around Hilo

  1. Even though you weren’t really excited I do appreciate your patience when I wanted to visit the botanical garden! And you have to admit, it was pretty magnificent, right?

    Love, your mother

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