April Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Events
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture, After Dark in the Park talks, and stewardship programs in April—plus National Park Week. National Park Week starts Saturday, April 20, with a fee-free day.
Park programs are free, but entrance fees apply. Some programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:
A Walk into the Past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar. Walk back to 1912, and meet the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea Volcano. Dressed in period costume, Ka‘ū actor-director Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. Dr. Jaggar will take you on a tour of his tiny lab located below the Volcano House to see original seismograph equipment and other early instruments. You’ll learn what motivated Dr. Jaggar to dedicate his life to the study of Hawaiian volcanoes, and how his work helps save lives today. Space is limited; pick up your free ticket at the Kīlauea Visitor Center’s front desk the day of the program. Program includes climbing stairs and entering a confined space. Supported by the Kīlauea Drama Entertainment Network (KDEN). Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: April 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Each performance is about an hour.
Where: Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center
Stewardship of Kīpukapuaulu. Help remove troublesome plants at Kīpukapuaulu, home to diverse native forest and understory plants. Bring clippers or pruners, sturdy gloves, a hat, and water. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting permanently stained from morning glory sap. Be prepared for cool and wet or hot and sunny weather. New volunteer? Contact Marilyn Nicholson for more info: [email protected].
When: Every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. (April 4, 11, 18 and 25)
Where: Meet at the Kīpukapuaulu parking lot, Mauna Loa Road, off Highway 11 in the park.
Stewardship at the Summit. Volunteer to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Under 18? Parental or guardian accompaniment or written consent is required. Visit the park website for additional planning details: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.
When: April 5, 13, 20 and 26. Meet at 8:45 a.m.
Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center on any of the above dates.
Ki‘i Demonstration. Hawaiians carved ki‘i (statues) to represent forces of nature, gods, guardians, and the spiritual world. Acclaimed artist James Kanani Kaulukukui, Jr., who has worked on the sacred site of Ke Kahua o Kaneiolouma Heiau on Kaua‘i, will share his expertise and the essential role of ki‘i in Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Wednesday, April 10, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
The Amazing, Almost Unbelievable, Story of the Coconut Palm. The coconut palm is beautiful, iconic, useful and deeply connected with many cultures. Palm expert John Stallman guides us on the epic journey of the modern coconut palm, from its earliest record in India and Asia, to recent genetic studies and a spectacular shipwreck. The coconut palm has accompanied human migration across the globe and journeyed across oceans, earning the nickname of “the most useful tree on earth.” Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium
National Park Week, April 20-28. This year’s theme is “On a Mission.” The mission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is to protect, conserve, and study the volcanic landscapes and associated natural and cultural resources and processes, and to facilitate safe public access to active volcanism, diverse geographic settings, and wilderness for public education and enjoyment. Everyone is invited to the following National Park Week events that celebrate the park’s mission:
Fee-Free Day! National Park Week kicks off Saturday, April 20, with a fee-free day. Come take a hike on one of our newly re-opened trails, or walk out to the Keanakāko‘i side of Halema‘uma‘u to see where Crater Rim Drive slid into the crater during last year’s eruptive activity!
Where: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and all fee-charging national parks in the U.S.
Junior Ranger Day at Kahuku. The Kahuku Unit will debut its new Junior Ranger Program and wooden junior ranger badge! Keiki who complete the junior ranger handbook (illustrated by Hawai‘i artists) will earn the badge, a junior ranger certificate, and will be sworn in as a National Park Service junior ranger. Free!
When: Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Kahuku Unit
Merrie Monarch Festival Events. Part of the park’s mission is to perpetuate Hawaiian culture, and what celebrates the culture more than the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo? During Merrie Monarch Week, the park will offer six ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (“Experience the Skillful Work) programs for everyone to experience and connect with Hawaiian practices. Come learn about ‘ulana niu (weaving coconut leaves); nā lei (lei making) with Patty Kaula and Lehua Hauanio; play kōnane (a Hawaiian game that resembles checkers) with park rangers, and learn about nā pa‘ahana hula – the tools, altar and plants that symbolize hula – with Amy Ka‘awaloa. Musicians Rupert Tripp, Jr. and Ti Kawhi Chun and Pōki‘i Seto will share their melodies.
When: Tuesday, April 23, and Wednesday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
Kīlauea Volcano’s 2018 Lower East Rift Zone Eruption. Kīlauea Volcano’s long-lasting East Rift Zone (ERZ) eruption changed abruptly when the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor collapsed on April 30, 2018, followed by an intrusion of magma downrift. On May 3, lava erupted in Leilani Estates and within two weeks, 24 fissures had opened along a 4.2-mile-long segment of the lower ERZ. Fissure 8 soon became the dominant vent, erupting a fast-moving channelized lava flow that reached the ocean, burying 13.7 square miles of land and destroying over 700 structures along the way. Join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Carolyn Parcheta as she recounts the progression of this dramatic eruption and shares her experiences monitoring it. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free (park entrance fees apply).
When: Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium
Kahuku Coffee Talk: The Sandalwood Story. Hawaiian sandalwood, ‘iliahi, was once so abundant in the Hawaiian Islands that the Chinese called Hawai‘i “Tahn Heung Sahn,” or Sandalwood Mountains. However, the sandalwood trade in the early 1800s rendered the trees commercially extinct within a few years. Biologist and former park ranger John Stallman delves into the past, present and future of Hawaiian ‘iliahi and the conservation of this irreplaceable species.
When: Friday, April 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: Kahuku Unit Visitor Contact Station
Explore Kahuku. The Kahuku Unit is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free! Take a self-guided hike, or join rangers on Sundays in April for a two-hour guided trek at 9:30 a.m. (The trail will vary depending on visitor interest). Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5. Kahuku is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes.
Visitors are encouraged to check the park’s online calendar of events, and look for program flyers posted after 9:30 a.m. on the bulletin board at Kīlauea Visitor Center:
Hawai‘i Volcanoes is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai‘i. Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge April 20. Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail do not charge entrance fees.