Since 1991, the National Park Foundation, National Park Service, and parks nationwide have been coming together to celebrate our most treasured places. And although there are more than 400 national park sites to explore and learn about, our favorite park to visit during National Park Week is Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. This year, April 20th through the 28th is National Park Week and being just minutes away from  Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park makes it easy to celebrate the parks. 

Throughout the week, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has planned various special events and programs for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the can’t-miss activities the park has in store!  

Journey at the Summit

Grab the family and head to the park on Saturday, April 20th for the first day of National Park Week, featuring Journey at the Summit, a role-playing adventure. The quest starts at the lanai of the Kīlauea Visitor Center. There, you’ll pick up an adventure pack and directions to activity stations. Each station is conveniently located within a half-mile of the visitor center and features a challenge, as well as a dice roll to guide your quest. After you work with your family or group of friends to complete the required challenge, you can return to the welcome tent at the Kīlauea Visitor Center to claim your prize.  

When: Saturday, April 20 from 10 am to 2 pm  

Where: The Kīlauea Visitor Center in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

A mere hour away, at the Kahuku section of the park, you can hear about the adventures of the park’s own ecologist… 

Photo courtesy of NPS

Kahuku Coffee Talk: The Pit Crater and its Ancient Rainforest

A former park ecologist, David Benitez once led surveys into the large, forested pit crater found in the Kahuku Unit. Benitez, along with multi-agency teams, rappelled down the nearly 200-foot vertical walls of the crater and documented over 100 plant species, many rare and endangered. Today, their collections are used to restore rare and endangered native plants throughout the park. Join Benitez for a talk about the surveys that includes a peek into the pit that protects unspoiled rainforest and treasured native species from the pigs, cattle, and people that may otherwise remove them from the surrounding landscape. And since a coffee talk wouldn’t be complete without the java, Kaʻū coffee will be available for purchase. 

When: Saturday, April 20 from 9:30 am to 11 am 
Where: Kahuku Visitor Contact Station in Kaʻū

Hoku: Beneath the Hawaiian Moon

Back in Volcano, National Park Week continues with a celebration of the Hoku (full) moon phase. Join astronomer Emily Peavy of the Gemini International Observatory/NOIRLab for an evening of looking up into the night sky using telescopes and sipping hot cocoa. Weather permitting, this Hoku presentation will also include stunning closeup views of the full moon, Hawaiian constellations, and maybe even a glimpse of the Lyrids meteor showers that will occur that week. Beneath the Hawaiian Moon is Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park programs. 

When: Tuesday, April 23 at 7 pm   

Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium    

Helpful Tips for Enjoying National Park Week

National Park Week is sure to draw a crowd, especially on the 20th, since entry to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is free that day. Plan to get to the park early and come prepared with the right gear.  

Tutu’s Tips:   For your own safety, any hiking in the park should be done in trail running shoes or light hiking boots. Speaking of your safety, always stay on the trail and keep your distance from ground cracks and unstable cliff edges. Closures marked by rope lines or hazard signs are there to protect you from potentially lethal volcanic fumes, sudden and unpredictable rim collapses, and much more, so please stay out of closed areas! 

Keep in mind that it can get chilly at and around Kīlauea’s 4,000-foot summit so that tank top you were wearing when you left Kona or Hilo may not be warm enough in Volcano. And in the park, it’s not unheard of for it to be sunny one minute and raining the next, so be sure you have the right gear for any kind of weather. Check out our blog about packing for your visit for more helpful tips, including carrying a small pack that can hold a bottle of water, a snack, a rain jacket, and a hat to keep the rain and sun out of your eyes.

Stay Near the Park

National Park Week is the perfect time to plan a trip to the park, explore nature, participate in educational programs and fun activities, and discover Hawai’i Island’s rich culture. If you want to stay near all that Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has to offer, we invite you to stay at the Volcano Heritage Cottages. Located in the heart of Volcano Village, Hawai’i, our cottages are only five minutes from the park, so book your stay at Tutu’s Place or the Ola’a House today!