ʻImiloa Astronomy Center is an astronomy and culture education center located in Hilo, Hawaii. Conceived by founding Director George Jacob in 2001, it features exhibits and shows dealing with Hawaiian culture and history, astronomy (particularly at the Mauna Kea Observatories), and the overlap between the two.Plan to visit Imiloa Astronomy Center and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Hilo attractions using our Hilo journey planning app.
ʻImiloa includes a 120-seat planetarium, which features a fulldome video projection system. Planetarium presentations include ʻImiloa's exclusive signature show, "Maunakea: Between Earth and Sky." The bilingual exhibits (in Hawaiian and English) offer two views of Origins and Voyages, presenting the tools, visions and discoveries of the astronomers and the Polynesian voyagers (see Polynesian navigation), the first group of whom are thought to
have voyaged to Hawaii from the Marquesas Islands. Visitors to ʻImiloa will leave with a new understanding of the early Polynesians, who used the stars to find these isolated islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. Hawaiians refer to these long-distance canoe explorers as "our first astronomers." Another planetarium show, "Dawn of the Space Age 3D," recounts the early days of space exploration, the so-called space race between the USSR and the United States. This is the only 3D planetarium show in the world.
Additional small theaters show a Kumulipo (Hawaiian origins) story, and an astronomy "birth of the universe" 3D presentation, underwritten by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (Subaru Telescope).
ʻImiloa opened to the public in February, 2006. It is part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and is located near the base facilities for several of the Maunakea observatories in University Park for Science and Technology on the UH-H campus, overlooking Hilo Bay. Its unique architectural design includes three large titanium-clad cones, representing the volcanoes Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Hualālai. The extensive gardens feature native, endemic and "canoe plants" brought by the Polynesians. Exhibit halls, planetarium, gift shop, and Sky Garden café are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. An evening "Maunakea Skies" star talk is held in the planetarium on the last Saturday of each month.
In the Hawaiian language, ʻImiloa means "exploring new knowledge." It is located at 600 ʻImiloa Place in Hilo, just north of Hawaii Route 2000 (Pūʻāinakō Street).
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Imiloa Astronomy Center reviews
The exhibits are very well done, and most interesting. We also loved the planetarium show, which is included in the cost of the ticket.
The exhibits are very well done, and most interesting. We also loved the planetarium show, which is included in the cost of the ticket. more »
We saw a wonderful 1-hour planetarium show (Skies Above Hawaii), The speaker was so interesting that even kids were spell-bound. There are many other shows throughout the day. We also went...
We saw a wonderful 1-hour planetarium show (Skies Above Hawaii), The speaker was so interesting that even kids were spell-bound. There are many other shows throughout the day. We also went... more »
Mostly locals go to Imiloa for the restaurant. The only exception to is the occasional tour bus of large number of Chinese tourists. Try to get in quick if you see the bus unloading to avoid a long line. The buffet varies depending on on the profitability and availability of different food items. The prime rib loco Moco left from the prime rib the night before is good though you will pay plenty. Other than that, less tourists, more established locals. The buffet is often not worth it.
Mostly a play place for kids plus some bits about Hawaiian culture and history. It would have been nice to see images from the telescopes and more actual astronomy / science. Too expensive for the value. The outside has interesting gardens and architecture.
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