Local Things To Do In Hilo Hawaii - Grand Nanilo Hilo
Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo - a DoubleTree by Hilton

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Sep. 2023



Sep. 2023





Panaewa Rainforest Zoo And Gardens


The Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens is a 12-acre zoo that is the only naturally occurring tropical rainforest zoo in the United States. It is home to more than 80 animal species including Giant Anteaters, American Alligators and two Bengal Tigers, a white Bengal tiger named Tzatziki and an orange Bengal tiger named Sriracha. The zoo opened in 1978 and features exhibits that are designed to maximize and blend with the natural vegetation of the Pana‘ewa Forest Reserve, which gets more than 125 inches of rain a year.


You’ll also see endemic animals like the endangered ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk), and the Pueo (Hawaiian Owl) and the state bird, Nene. Take a relaxing stroll along paved paths surrounded by a lush landscape of trees and plants stopping along the way to view our zoo animals. On your walk, you will find over 100 types of palm, many varieties of vireya (tropical rhododendron), bamboo, orchids, and bromeliads to name just a few. Keep a lookout for the Zoo's Discovery Forests, the Native Forest of trees and plants and the Agro-Forest of edible varieties. At the water-garden pond, you will see gorgeous water hyacinth and mosaic plants. You may even spot a bullfrog on a lily-pad.

Lyman Museum

The Lyman Museum's purpose is “To tell the story of Hawai`i, its islands, and its people.” Throughout the year, the Lyman Museum offers a wide range of educational programs from special lectures and talks to hands-on workshops on Hawaiian skills and crafts.

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Pacific Tsunami Museum

Read the powerful stories of past tsunami survivors and learn about what Hawaii is doing today in the museum’s mission to educate the public and saving lives in the event of a tsunami. Exhibits include a model of Hilo pre-1946, the Story of Hilo and rebuilding communities, the Science of Tsunamis and amazing rescue stories from survivors. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm.

Liliuokalani Park

Named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liluokalani, the beautifully landscaped and lush Liliuokalani Park is located just one block from the Naniloa Hotel along Hilo’s iconic Banyan Drive. Spanning across 30 acres, a Japanese-style garden sits within the park featuring signature red bridges over fishponds, tranquil pagodas and rock gardens, and breathtaking vistas of Hilo Bay and Moku Ola, known as Coconut Island.

Waipi'o Valley

The Waipi'o Valley is often referred to as the "Valley of the Kings" because it was once the home to many of the rulers of Hawaii, and as a result, the valley has both historical and cultural importance to the Hawaiian people.

According to oral histories as few as 4,000 or as many as 10,000 people lived in Waipi'o during the times before the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778; Waipi'o was the most fertile and productive valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.

It was at Waipi'o in 1780 that Kamehameha the Great received his war god Kukailimoku who proclaimed him the future ruler of the islands. It was off the coast of Waimanu, near Waipi'o, that Kamehameha engaged Kahekili, the Lord of the leeward islands, and his half-brother, Kaeokulani of Kaua'i, in the first naval battle in Hawaiian history—Kepuwahaulaula, known as the Battle of the Red-Mouthed Guns. Kamehameha thus began his conquest of the islands.

In the late 1800s, many Chinese immigrants settled in the valley. At one time the valley had churches, restaurants, and schools as well as a hotel, post office, and jail. But in 1946, the most devastating tsunami in Hawaii's history swept great waves far back into the valley. Afterward, most people left the valley, and it has been sparsely populated ever since.

A severe deluge in 1979 covered the valley from side to side in four feet of water. Today only about 50 people live in the Waipi'o Valley. These are taro farmers, fishermen, and others who are reluctant to leave their simple lifestyle.