Hawaii Island Week: Mokupapapa Discovery Center

KHON2’s Wake Up 2day and Living808 present a special series from the Island of Hawaii. Taizo Braden went exploring and found the joys of a staycation on Hawaii’s largest island.

Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo is a free, hands-on space to learn about the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, now the largest protected place on the planet.

Because Papahanaumokuakea is too remote for most of us to visit, the center works to “bring the place to the people.”

The center offers interactive maps, life-size exhibits of animals that depend on the area, a 3,500-gallon aquarium, and plenty of kid-friendly activities. Staff members also work with thousands of Hawaii, mainland, and international students, offering free tours and lessons.

Papahanaumokuakea is now the largest protected area in the world and a UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site. It is home to vast and ancient coral reef ecosystems and an incredible array of wildlife, including more than 7,000 marine species and the largest tropical bird rookery in the world.

At least 25 percent of its marine species are endemic and the deeper you go, the higher the endemic rate.

Mokupapapa Discovery Center is located at 76 Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo. For more information, call (808) 933-8180.

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