Look Toward the Heavens in Hilo, Hawaii

Posted August 11, 2009 by Kate Hamman

HI-Hilo-ImiloasnowoMaunakea-DEF Located on the eastern side of the Big Island, Hilo may be one of the rainiest places on earth, but there's plenty of things to do indoors that are out of this world. Look toward the heavens while learning about Hawaii's culture through astronomy, and then sample many of Hawaii's heavenly flavors brought together in a sweet way. Finally, experience celestial bliss beneath the same headboard Jack London once dreamt under. All of this without even getting your feet wet.

'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii: If you've ever gazed up at the stars and wondered if they look different in Hawaii, then you won't want to miss the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii. Discover the secrets of the Mauna Kea volcano through Hawaiian mythological tales of Pele, goddess of fire, and Poliahu, god of snow, and get an introduction to the 13 world-class astronomical observatories located on the summit. Take in the view of Hilo Bay and the valley below before looking upwards into the skies above during the Planetarium showing. Admission costs $17.50 per adult, and an entire day could be spent exploring everything the center has to offer.

Big Island Candies: For a true sugar high, stop by Big Island Candies, where you'll be greeted with samples of chocolate and cookies and Kona coffee. From there, you can watch through a window as the confections are skillfully prepared by hand. Since 1977, the factory has been producing some of the finest Hawaiian treats, such as the ever-so-popular macadamia nut shortbread cookies, from state-grown products. There's a variety of new and old favorites to taste, so don't be shy. Samples are free, but souvenirs are going to cost you.

Shipman House Bed And Breakfast Inn: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Shipman House welcomes guests who wish to stay in one of Hawaii's only remaining Victorian mansions. Most of the original furniture remains, including the same grand piano played by the last queen of Hawaii, Lili`uokalani, and the headboard from the bed where the author Jack London rested. A bit on the pricier side, rooms start at $209 per night, but include a hearty breakfast and are well worth the splurge for the luxury and history. Free hula classes are available every Wednesday night.

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(Photo: Kirk Puuohau-Pummill, Gemini Observatory)

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