Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hilo Museums

[Maryanne]With our days in Hilo shrinking, it was time to use up the last of our taxi vouchers and spend more time downtown before moving on to other places on the Big Island.

We visited the Tsunami Museum, dedicated to educating about (and hopefully preparing folks for) the way too regular catastrophes that hit Hawaii. There is a tsunami well overdue, and we learned that depending on the source of the quake, we may have just minutes rather than hours to evacuate - gulp!

Kamehameha The Great, and the Tsunami Museum on the Hilo waterfront

With free entry, the Mokupapapa Discovery Center was a hidden gem, a few excellent exhibits shown in a giant space that even included an aquarium.

Along with all this new found insight and education, we ducked out for a $2.50 cinema ticket to see the Lego movie (oh, yeah, we are so, so, trendy!

[Kyle]The last thing we managed to do in Hilo was visit the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in town, thanks to the generosity of our friend Warren, who is a telescope and site researching astronomer for the new Thirty Meter Telescope (construction is scheduled to begin on Mauna Kea in August).

This one exhibit in the 'Imiloa Museum (a big tube of sand) states "Each grain of sand represents one atom in your body. Now imagine 10 million times more sand. That is how many atoms are in just ONE of your eyelashes!". Science Rocks!

We spent the whole day there immersing ourselves in really well done displays that blended science and Hawaiian culture. Maryanne and I were particularly interested in the ancient Polynesian systems of navigation that used the night sky as a compass for their far-flung voyages. We had been heading at the constellation of Gemini pretty much the whole way here. When we got to where the star Arcturus was straight up, we were at the latitude of Hawai’i. The Polynesians did a more sophisticated version of that, plus a careful reading of the swell to sail all over the Pacific.

We had intended to eat at the restaurant there in order to make up for our admission savings, but there was a wedding going on and it looked like we were going to be the only ones not in the party. We headed to the gift shop instead.

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