ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Celebrates 15th Birthday

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A Kilonova, neutron star collision: the predicted source of all gold in the universe. Courtesy image.

The ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i will celebrate 15 years of exploration beginning later this month.

The public is invited to join in the celebration, which will take place in various forms and at multiple locations between Feb. 20 and March 19, 2021. Sponsored by KTA Super Stores, this year’s birthday theme is “Celebrating Our Great Outdoors.” The month-long event will be filled with hands-on learning opportunities and virtual engagement, encouraging Hawaiʻi Island families to explore nature and the outdoor spaces across the island, both online and physically.

“We’re very excited to be celebrating ʻImiloa’s 15th anniversary and welcome everyone to participate in the activities that we have planned,” said 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 four-week birthday celebration will start off with a goodie bag pick up at ‘Imiloa on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 to 11 am. Island residents 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, individually packaged KTA cookies, and a kalo plant ready for planting from the ʻImiloa garden.


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. It is meant 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.

Pop-Ups at KTA locations

Following the 20th birthday drive-up, ʻImiloa will be sharing more birthday goodie bags with the public at several KTA locations across the island on select Saturdays.

“We are excited to host ‘Imiloa’s birthday pop-up stations at our stores and encourage everyone to check them out when they are here,” said Toby Taniguchi, President and COO of KTA Super Stores. “We wish ‘Imiloa many more years of success and birthday celebrations. Happy birthday and congratulations, ‘Imiloa!”


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

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

Social Media Contests

Interested individuals are also encouraged to enter social media contests that will be promoted throughout the month-long event. Follow ʻImiloa on Facebook (ʻImiloa Astronomy Center) and Instagram (@imiloaastronomycenter). Details for contest entries and prizes, KTA pop-up dates and the Feb. 20 birthday drive-up can also be found at

About ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a community outreach, multi-service organization of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo dedicated to serving local and visitor communities through quality Hawaiian language and culture-based enrichment programs that focus on local science research, cultural advancement and environmental stewardship.

ʻImiloa is a safe space of life-long learning where the power of Hawai‘i’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration, and the wonders of science come together to provide diverse exhibits, programs and events that foster inspiration and hope for generations, near and far. Through partnerships with programs of the University, Hawai‘i-based observatories, local businesses and schools, ‘Imiloa creates opportunities that strengthen career awareness and workforce development, and contribute to the sustainability of Hawai‘i’s community.

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