We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
New! Find and book your ideal hotel on TripAdvisor — and get the lowest prices

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Certificate of Excellence
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 43 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 21
  • 15
    Very good
  • 6
  • 0
  • 0
Great for small kids and adults alike

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... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 October 2016
Add Photo Write a Review

43 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 42: English reviews
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 4 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
107 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 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 23 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
Level Contributor
74 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 April 2016

The staff is friendly. If you have any questions, they would be glad to help you. It is a nice location downtown. It is air conditioned - a respite from the heat from walking around downtown.

Thank Peanuts_Gallery
Long Island
Level Contributor
183 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2016

It has a somewhat large reef aquarium but nothing spectacular. They show a long (2 hours) National Geographic video about the outer islands. If you are bored in Hilo, this probably won't help. It's free and since there isn't much else in town for tourists to do, you might as well drop in.

Thank JWGrum

Travellers who viewed Mokupapapa Discovery Center also viewed

Hilo, Island of Hawaii
Hilo, Island of Hawaii

Been to Mokupapapa Discovery Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Mokupapapa Discovery Center staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?