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Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 76 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2831
Phone Number:
+1 808-933-8180

The Mokupapapa Discovery Center allows visitors to learn about the natural...

The Mokupapapa Discovery Center allows visitors to learn about the natural science, culture, and history of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, and the surrounding marine environment. Since most people might not have the opportunity to visit these remote islands, the facility on the bayfront in Hilo, Hawai'i serves to ""bring the place to the people"" and spur greater public awareness of the region and ocean conservation issues.

Housed in Hilo's historic, century-old Koehnen Building, Mokupapapa features a 3,500 gallon saltwater aquarium, interactive educational exhibits, lifesize models of wildlife found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, artwork inspired by those islands and Hawaiian culture, and many interpretive panels in both Hawaiian and English. The beauty of the historic Koehnen building has been preserved and refreshed to show off its majesty, including a koa wood staircase, Hawaiian hardwood floors, and high ceilings.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 45 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 22
  • 16
    Very good
  • 6
  • 0
  • 0
There's lots to like about this small discovery centre

Love the historic building and that entrance is free (you can always make a donation!). This is a small discovery centre but there are a number of interesting displays; chief... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
Belleville, Canada
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45 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 44: English reviews
Belleville, Canada
Level Contributor
139 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Love the historic building and that entrance is free (you can always make a donation!). This is a small discovery centre but there are a number of interesting displays; chief among them is the large aquarium stocked with fish that you see in Hawaiian waters. Very pleasant to just relax and watch the fish for a while. The general theme... More 

Thank Kinneylynn
Waimea, Hawaii, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

In a beloved and beautiful historic building on the Bayfront in Hilo, this is a great place of learning with a terrific, knowledgeable, and caring staff, and a strong commitment to taking care of our Earth and Ocean and inspiring all of us to do the same.

Thank Calley O
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2016

We found this place by accident and were glad we did. My four year old loved the big fish tank and using the fish identification card available at the front desk to identify them. They called our attention to a new species of Butterflyfish that had recently been discovered in the protected area; he was thrilled to spy it in... More 

Thank travlinmomz
Level Contributor
28 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 2016 via mobile

Stopped in while aimlessly wandering downtown. The fish aquarium was huge and very cool fish, which included a few we've never seen before. Worth a stop if you are in the area.

Thank John P
Level Contributor
113 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 September 2016

A great display of fish and sea mammals in the Hawaiian Islands. It had a beautiful aquarium of tropical fish. Staff was very knowledge.

Thank AlamedaYankeegal
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2016

An excellent place to take children to learn about marine life. The film was superb and the number of different fish in the aquarium was amazing. Helpful staff too.

Thank Margaret J
Basildon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2016

We came here as it was raining and wanted to go somewhere with our 1 year old that was a bit different to a beach or a supermarket. We really enjoyed it here, our daughter had a nice time

Thank MattRothon
Hilo, Hawaii
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2016

Located in old Hilo Town this FREE museum doesn't have very many displays but I still recommend it for a quick 30-45 minute visit. The staff are always friendly and will explain the Hawaiian Island Chain and what the Mokupapapa area is. I love the fish tank and movies they show in the old Vault room.

Thank Dale O
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 June 2016

Awesome center to learn about the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands/Papahānaumokuāke Marine National Monument. They had great interactive exhibits to learn about the islands. The best (and most moving) part was an exhibit showing all of the trash that washes up on the islands. Never has a collection of old cigarette lighters meant so much. The staff was very welcoming and knowledgeable,... More 

Thank Evan J
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
46 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2016

This well run small marine science center is run by NOAA and it is well worth a visit and its free! We spent a couple of hours there, with their educational exhibits and films. You learn a lot about the other islands North West of Hawaii.

Thank 31Tammy

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