Fodor's Expert Review Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station

The Hamakua Coast Visitor Center
Free Fodor's Choice

At 9,200 feet, this excellent amateur observation site is a great way to get a sense of the mountain and the observatory work without going all the way to the summit. It's open daily from 11:30 am to 7 pm, and although the center is not offering stargazing activities at night due to COVID-19, this could change in the future. It's also a good place to stop to acclimatize yourself to the altitude if you're heading for the summit. Peruse the gift shop and exhibits about ancient Hawaiian celestial navigation, the mountain's significance as a quarry for the best basalt in the Hawaiian Islands, and Maunakea as a revered spiritual destination. You'll also learn about modern astronomy and ongoing projects at the summit. Nights are clear 90% of the year, so the chances are good of seeing some amazing sights in the sky. Surprisingly, stargazing here is actually better than at the summit itself because of reduced oxygen there. The parking lot can get crowded.

Visitor Center Free Fodor's Choice

Quick Facts

Mauna Kea, Hawaii  USA

808-935–6268-Current road conditions

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, donations welcome

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