April Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Events

March 19, 2016, 12:04 PM HST
* Updated March 18, 6:19 PM
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As Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016, Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs continue in April.

All After Dark in the Park and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Ranger Noah Gomes and ‘ukulele. NPS photo.

Ranger Noah Gomes and ‘ukulele. NPS photo.

‘Ukulele Basics

Park rangers show the basics of how to play the ‘ukulele on Wednesday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The iconic Hawaiian musical instrument is popular among locals and musicians worldwide. The workshop will take place on the Kilauea Visitor Center lānai.

The Return of the ‘Alalā


ʻAlalā, the native Hawaiian crow, once lived across Hawaiʻi Island. Now, due to a variety of threats in the wild, these birds are found only in captivity. Successful captive breeding and conservation efforts have helped to rescue this native Hawaiian species from the brink of extinction. This fall, ʻalalā will be returned home to the wild, and these very intelligent birds will take their place once again in our Hawaiian forests. Learn more about the release and recovery of the ʻalalā, a beloved and unique bird found nowhere else on earth, on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium.



Photo credit: Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, courtesy of San Diego Zoo/R.Kohley.

Photo credit: Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, courtesy of San Diego Zoo/R.Kohley.

Free Entry During National Park Week

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year, all fee-charging national parks in the U.S. will offer nine fee-free days to commemorate the centennial during National Park Week– including Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Come and “Find Your Park” at no charge. HBNP is open 24 hours a day. National Park Week runs from April 16 through April 24.


Kahuku ‘Ohana Day

Children 17 and younger can join park rangers for a fun day of discovery in the park’s Kahuku Unit on Sat., April 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hike the historic lower Palm Trail and learn to make traditional string figures called hei. Bring water, a re-usable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, long pants and shoes. Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Call 985-6019 to register and sign up for a free lunch by March 31.

Hula Performance by Haunani’s Aloha Expressions

This popular, award-winning hula hālau is comprised of an all-Hawaiian volunteer group of kāne and wāhine kūpuna (elders) 70 to over 90 years old, singing and dancing hapa-haole mele and hula. They share the aloha spirit with malihini (visitors) on visiting cruise ships and at the Hilo International Airport. The kūpuna also entertain patients at many of Hilo’s senior kōkua (caring) organizations, and have performed at the park’s annual cultural festival on several occasions.  The performance is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

Centennial Series After Dark in the Park: What Makes a Species Invasive? 

Invasive species are introduced organisms that negatively impact our economy, environment, and/or our health. They are a leading threat to the world’s biodiversity, contributing to extinctions and the alteration of entire ecosystems, and cost billions of dollars annually. Hawai‘i has been notoriously and negatively impacted by invasives, but no environment is unaffected. Join Park Ecologist David Benitez on Tuesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. to learn what makes a species invasive, hear about some of the most unwanted invasive species in the park, Hawai‘i, and around the world, and learn what you can do to stop their spread. The talk will take place at the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

Will on ohe hano ihu. NPS photo.

Will on ohe hano ihu. NPS photo.

Hawaiian Arts & Crafts

Staff from the park’s nonprofit partner, the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, will make, and demonstrate how to play the ‘ohe hano ihu (Hawaiian nose flute) on Wednesday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the Kilauea Visitor Center lānai. In addition, visitors can learn to create beautiful designs on a bamboo stamp, or ‘ohe kāpala.

Centennial Hike: Save the Summit Understory

Join Park Volunteers Paul Field and Jane Field and lop invasive Himalayan ginger from the native Hawaiian rainforest at the summit of Kīlauea. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks, and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Meet near the flagpole outside the Kilauea Visitor Center on Saturday, April 30 at 9 a.m.

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