Jaggar Museum

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

There's plenty packed into this small one-room geology museum including real-time seismographs and tiltmeters recording earthquakes inside the park (and under your feet). Other exhibits introduce Hawaiian gods and goddesses and give a short history of the neighboring Hawaiʻi Volcano Observatory (closed to visitors), founded by famed vulcanologist Dr Thomas A Jaggar. Park rangers frequently give geology talks inside the museum, while throngs of visitors pack the porch outside for the best view of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

The museum and observatory sit high on the Kilauea's rim above the sacred cliffs of Uwekahuna (wailing priests). These terraces formed when the caldera collapsed inward forming a 1600ft deep hole, which has since been filled with 1200ft of lava.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park attractions

1. Kilauea Overlook

0.34 MILES

A pause-worthy panorama that was closed at time of research with an expected reopening date in 2020. It's most remarkable for the 6-ton volcanic bomb…

2. Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

0.64 MILES

The original Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook off Crater Rim Dr was closed in 2008 due to volcanic activity and the very real threat of death. For the next decade,…

3. Kilauea

1.08 MILES

Kilauea volcano lies at the center of activity in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The unassuming bump on Mauna Loa's southeast flank would be easily…

4. Lava Tree Molds

1.09 MILES

Near the start of Mauna Loa Rd, there's a turnoff to some neglected lava tree molds – deep wells that formed when lava flows engulfed the rainforest and…

5. Steam Vents & Steaming Bluff

1.52 MILES

Creating impressive billowing plumes in the cool early morning, these vents make a convenient drive-up photo op. Hot rocks below the surface boil…

6. Volcano Winery

1.78 MILES

Perhaps recognizing that grapes from Mauna Loa's volcanic soil may never erupt onto the world stage on their own merits, this winery creates some very…

7. Sulphur Banks


A wooden boardwalk weaves between misty, rocky vents stained chartreuse, yellow, orange and other psychedelic colors by tons of sulfur-infused steam…

8. Volcano Art Center

2.07 MILES

Near the Kilauea Visitor Center, this sharp local art gallery spotlights museum-quality pottery, paintings, woodwork, sculpture, jewelry, Hawaiian quilts…