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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour: Kilauea Visitor Center

The Need to Knows
  • The Kilauea Visitor Center is located inside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Volcano, HI near its entrance along Crater Rim Drive.  Its exact location is here:
  • The Kilauea Visitor Center is open daily from 9AM to 5PM.
  • There is an overall entrance fee for the park (explained here), but access to the visitor center is obviously free.
  • Restrooms are located here for public use.
  • I would plan on being here for 15-20 minutes gathering information and checking out the exhibits.  It might be worth your while to check out any tours offered by the park as well!
  • For more information on the visitor center, be sure to visit their website here.  
  • And for updated information on closures within the park, be sure to visit this NPS page here.  Also keep in mind that any information in these posts is subject to change any time by the National Park Service!
When Mr. L and I moved to Hawaii back in 2011, the first place that made it onto our bucket list was hands down Hawaii Volcanoes National Park over on the Big Island.  The thought of being able to visit an actively flowing volcano was mind-blowing to me and walking on ground younger than I was was at the top of my "Big Island To-Do List" -- heck, it was at the top of my "life" to-do list!  The thought of walking on ground that is physically younger than me was always mind-boggling and I knew I'd have to experience that at least once in my life.  Thankfully that is one experience you can definitely have at Volcanoes National Park!

The Kilauea Visitor Center is the most obvious choice for a first stop in Volcanoes National Park, but there's a reason for it!  The visitor center has a wealth of information for making your visit to the park that much better.  It's a great place to pick up some park maps, grab a couple of souvenirs, catch some ranger talks, and also find out what ranger-guided activities are planned for the day.  There are also really cool  movies to check out, including one on the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki (shown at 11:30 AM).  You are actually able to hike the Kilauea Iki Crater so it's really nice to get some background information on what went down during the eruption!

Inside you'll also find exhibits about the formation of the Hawaiian islands and the different kinds of plant and animal life that can be found within the park.  And probably most importantly, the Kilauea Visitor Center also has up to date information on where you can see lava inside the park if it is at all a possibility.  Unfortunately the flows were not accessible during my and Mr. L's visit here, but that just means we'll have to come back one day and see it firsthand!  :)

So for your driving tour around Volcanoes National Park, make sure you stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center first and grab all your need to knows to make your trip awesome and lots of fun!  And be sure to come back and check out stop number two on the driving tour -- the historic Volcano House!


Catch up on the rest of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Driving Tour below!

Crater Rim Drive
Chain of Craters Road


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