Mokupapapa Discovery Center


Geared for kids, this center aims to educate the public about pristine Hawaiian ecosystems. Even adults might not know that the Hawaiian archipelago extends far beyond the eight main islands to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a long chain of uninhabited islets and atolls containing the healthiest coral reefs in the USA. Nothing fancy, but family-friendly (and free).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hilo attractions

1. FW Koehnen Building

Built in 1910, this iconic blue building housed Koehnen's Interiors, a classy home furnishings store, from 1929 until 2012. Three generations of Koehnens…

2. Pacific Tsunami Museum

0.05 MILES

You cannot understand Hilo without knowing its history as a two-time tsunami survivor (1946 and 1960). This museum encompasses only a few rooms, but they…

3. Federal Building

0.14 MILES

Designed by architect Henry Whitfield, this stately building (1919) is typical of Hilo’s early 20th-century government buildings. The former courthouse…

4. Kalakaua Park

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Centrally located, this mini park should be Hilo's 'town square,' but it is mostly green space bypassed by cars and pedestrians. It does come to life on…

5. East Hawai‘i Cultural Center/HMOCA

0.16 MILES

Curious about Hilo's art scene? Go to this downtown center, which displays well-curated works by both professionals and amateurs. Exhibits change monthly,…

6. Maui's Canoe


See the current swirling around a large rock in the upstream Wailuku River? Legend has it that the demigod Maui paddled his canoe with such speed across…

7. Naha & Pinao Stones

0.28 MILES

How strong was Kamehameha the Great? According to legend, anyone with enough strength to budge the 3.5-ton Naha Store would also have the strength to…

8. Lyman Museum & Mission House

0.39 MILES

Although small in scale, this museum is a good primer on Hawaii's natural and cultural history. Downstairs, geologic exhibits include fascinating examples…