‘Imiloa Astronomy Center celebrates 15th anniversary with month-long event for island keiki and ‘ohana

Happy Birthday, ʻImiloa!

Imiloa Astronomy Cneter sign, University of Hawaii at Hilo

The public is invited to join ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi in celebrating 15 years of exploration February 20–March 19, 2021. “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors” will be a month-long event for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo outreach organization, with hands-on learning opportunities and virtual engagement for all. Diverse activities and events will encourage Hawaiʻi Island families (and others) to explore nature and outdoor spaces, both online and physically, with a kickoff (drive-up) event at ʻImiloa and subsequent pop-up locations at KTA Super Stores throughout Hawaiʻi Island.

Kaiu Kimura
Ka‘iu Kimura

“We’re very excited to be celebrating ʻImiloa’s 15th anniversary and welcome everyone to participate in the activities that we have planned,” says Executive Director Kaʻiu Kimura. “This year we’re celebrating the great outdoors and Hawaiʻi Island, the amazingly rich and diverse island that we call home.”

The birthday celebration will start off with a goodie bag pick up at ʻImiloa on Saturday, February 20, 9–11 a.m. Celebrants can drive up to the front door of ʻImiloa and receive a bag that includes a specially developed Palapala Holoholo (an explorer’s journal), an ʻImiloa Explorer Kit, KTA cookies and a kalo plant from the ʻImiloa garden (to be replanted at home). When attending the ʻImiloa birthday drive-up, participants are asked to remain in their vehicles while ʻImiloa staff hand off birthday supplies through the passenger window.

Palapala Holoholo

The word “palapala” in Hawaiian is representative of any kind of documentation; to write, to journal, and even to print or make drawings or designs. The word “holoholo” in Hawaiian means to go for a walk, ride, sail or stroll; for leisurely adventures and pleasant travels.

The Palapala Holoholo is a journal filled with tips, trails, ʻImiloa-curated activities and safety information that encourages participants to explore four outdoor hiking spots across the island—Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Kaulana Manu Nature Trail, Pololū Valley, and the Puʻu Waʻawaʻa Dry Land Forest. The ʻImiloa Explorer Kit is a complement to the Palapala Holoholo filled with six different crafts to stimulate and assist keiki in active observation while exploring these unique parts of the island.

A more extensive digital version of the Palapala Holoholo will be available on the ʻImiloa website, as well as free downloadable prints and tutorial videos for crafts from the ʻImiloa Explorer Kit.

Popups at KTA locations

KTA Super Stores is sponsoring the 15th birthday celebration. Following the birthday drive-up on February 20, ʻImiloa will be sharing more birthday goodie bags at a variety of KTA locations across the island on select Saturdays.

“We are excited to host ʻImiloa’s birthday pop-up stations at our stores and encourage everyone to check them out when they are here,” says Toby Taniguchi, KTA Super Stores president and chief operating officer. “We wish ʻImiloa many more years of success and birthday celebrations. Happy birthday and congratulations, ʻImiloa!”

Interested individuals are also encouraged to enter social media contests that will be promoted throughout the month-long event. Be sure to follow ʻImiloa on Facebook and Instagram. Details for contest entries, KTA pop-up dates and the February 20 birthday drive-up can be found online on ʻImiloa’s website.

“We want to thank KTA Super Stores for their continued support of ʻImiloa, and in particular our birthday,” says Kimura. “KTA provides invaluable support to not only ʻImiloa, but to numerous organizations and schools throughout our island community.”