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Hawai’i Island – Outdoor Science Classroom Feb 28

Oceanography

Visitors have always been drawn to Hawai’i (The Big Island) because  of world class resorts, championship golf courses, big game  fishing , waterfalls and so much more, but many do not realize the island is also an amazing outdoor science classroom. Hawai’i Island has something amazing around every bend in the road with science adventures in the areas of Oceanography/Marine Science, Volcanoes and Volcanology, Astronomy, Geography/Biology/Natural History, Aquaculture/Agriculture and Renewable Energy Resources.  Regardless of where you are staying on the island  there are a multitude of places to visit, coded maps to help you locate some of the sites and there are several tour operators that specialize in these areas of exploration as well. Easy access to many of these areas of interest  would make this a wonderful island for families to make their family vacation a wonderful opportunity to learn,so much more exciting than a school class room. Nothing compares to seeing the steam escaping from a volcano, going down into a lava tube and seeing the turtles swimming in a tide pool. The Manta Ray Experience  by far is one of the unique experiences of my life.Dolphin Quest program at the Hilton Waikokoa Village Resort gives visitors the opportunity to interact with dolphins through several programs led by marine mammal experts.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Most people have seen a fiery eruption or red hot lava flow from at least Kilauea, even if just on The Weather Channel,  but Volcanoes National Park actually features two of the world’s most active volcanoes Kilauea and Maunaloa. Within the 500 square mile park visitors  can see the process of volcanoes over the last 70 million years,calderas, pit craters,cinder cones,dried lava lakes,sulfurous cracks and fissures,lava tubes (Thurston being the most famous). Home to the legendary Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. Visitors will enjoy their visit to the park so much more if they take time to visit the Visitor’s Center first for a quick course in geology, natural history, park layout and safety.You will want to also visit the Observatory, Jaggar Museum perched on Kilauea Crater, and the Thurston Lava Tube, all located on the 11 mile Crater Rim Drive. The park is so big you’ll want to drive but be sure and get out along the way and hike some of the 150 miles of marked trails — Park rangers will also advise you if any active lava flows are accessible during your visit. For the latest eruption updates and geneal park info www.nps.gov/havo or call (808) 985-6000.

Fish Ponds

Aquaculture  and agriculture have always been an important part in the live of native Hawaiians, especially ancient Hawaiian Fishponds such as those at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel, Waikoloa Beach Marriott, Kaloko Honokohau National Park and the recently renovated Keauhou Resort Heiau project are great examples of fishponds. There are also several land-based farms  that are so interesting  such  as Hawaii Vanilla, Kona Coffee Farms,Hamakua  Mushrooms and the festive Hilo Farmers Market  is one of the best open markets in Hawai’i where you can sample and purchase wonderful fresh local produce, fresh flowers for your room during your visit, have a fresh fruit smoothie or purchase hand crafted items. Hawai’i AgVentures operated by the Big Island Farm Bureau offers a variety of family farm tours. If you are into Renewable Energy Resources  you might want to visit Kahua Ranch in North Kahala in addition to other tours they also provide their own power with wind turbines  or you can contact them  (808) 882-4646. Being blessed with lots of sunshine and strong trade winds Hawai’i Island has the potential to be an international showcase for alternative renewable energy resource exploration.

Maunakea

Polynesians  used the stars to guide their voyages around the Pacific  and ultimately to discover the Hawaiian Islands, so how fitting that Astronomy would also be such an important part of the opportunities of discovery available on Hawai’i Island. Located 13,796 feet high on the summit of Maunakea, you will find 13 astronomical observatories and is considered the world’s best observing site. Beginning with the first telescope in 1968, several groundbreaking discoveries have been made from the various telescopes, there are are more in the plans to be added in the future,making this the home of some of the largest telescopes in the world. For sure a visit to the summit would be a highlight of your visit to Hawai’i Island – I suggest you take a tour such as Mauna Kea Summit Adventures  or Hawai’i Forest & Trail as the weather conditions can be unpredictable and severe.  ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai’i   in Hilo  is another wonderful opportunity to learn about the 13 observatories located on Maunakea plus a full-dome, state of the art planetarium, plus 3-D presentations of data collected from the Subaru Telescope – plus several unique experiences that tie Native Hawaiian Culture and lanuguage to today’s astronomical discoveries. Located at the University of Hawai’i Hilo Science and Technology Park   www.imiloahawaii.org     contact them (808) 969-9700 , also  a wonderful cafe and gift shop.

For more information on booking your Hawai’i Island Vacation  or any of the tours mentioned in this blog post:

Contact Linda Dancer Hawaii Master Destination Specialist    Toll Free   1-888-811-1888 est 331

Direct Line (828) 256-1520 or by Email  linda@honeymoonsinc.com

 

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Koloa Heritage Trail Feb 22

Spouting Horn

Most visitors that  plan a trip to the beautiful island of Kaua’i will at some point probably  hear about  Spouting Horn  but many will not realize that this incredible show by Mother Nature is actually part of the Koloa Heritage Trail  ( Ka ala hele waiwai ho’oilina o Koloa) that introduces visitors to five millions years of exploration of natural history, archaeology, culture and the history of the Koloa District of Kauai and its people, which to most people means the south shore of Kaua’i.
In ancient times land was divided  by Hawaiians into pie-shaped wedges called ahupua’a that run from the mountain to the ocean. The Koloa Heritage Trail travels through four ahupua’a – from east to west they are: Maha’ulepu, Pa’a, Weliweli and Koloa. The  sugar cane industry helped to put the ahupua’a of Koloa on the map, Po’ipu(meaning waves crashing)  is part of the Koloa ahupua’a.
 Without a doubt, the most popular or well known stop along the Koloa Heritage Trail is the first stop  Spouting Horn Park, a stop on most every  tour around the island, and most visitors  will try their luck at getting a really good shot of a high plume of water shooting into the air if they are patient enough.  Known to ancient Hawaiians  as puhi (blowhole or to blow) these natural blowholes are created by the constant pounding of waves that eventually erode caves in the softer rock along the shoreline and wear a hole through the topmost layer, thus allowing incoming waves to generate a fountain up to around 60 feet high into the air, so  keep your eye on the waves as they come to shore.

Plantation Gardens Restaurant

There are  fourteen stops along the Koloa Heritage Trail  including: Prince Kuhio Birthplace & Park (Hawai’i is the only state in the union to have had a monarchy and so much of the history and culture that is Hawai’i is based upon this monarchy), Hanaka’ape Bay & Koloa Landing,Pa’u a Laka (Moir Gardens)**,Kihahouna Heiau(an ancient Hawaiian temple),Po’ipu Beach Park,Keoneloa Bay,Makawehi & Pa’a Dunes, Pu’uwanawana Volcanic Cone, Hapa Road,Koloa Jodo Mission,Sugar Monument,Yamamoto Store & Koloa Hotel, and Koloa Missionary Church.  Each stop along the way  a significant cultural,historical or geological site that is part of the history of Kaua’i. Visitors can explore the Koloa Heritage Trail by  walking  or  by bicycle there are route maps for each.
For more information or to make a donation:
Many sponsors and volunteers conceptualized and prepared this historic journey through Koloa. If you are as touched as I to explore this historical trail,feel free to make a donation toward trail and monument maintenance. The Po’ipu Beach Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization, so donations would be tax-deductible within the allowance of the law.
 
Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Ho’oilina o Koloa -c/o Po’ipu Beach Foundation-P.O. Box 730, Koloa, HI 96756
Phone (808) 742-7444- Email  info@poipubeach.org
**Treat yourself to dinner or at least dessert at the Plantation Gardens Restaurant in the middle of Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation.
Linda Dancer – Kaua’i Master Destination Specialist   Phone (828) 256-1520

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