Updated September 2023 Events at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

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Learn about the search for exoplanets and alien worlds at After Dark in the Park on Sept. 19. Photo Courtesy: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Let Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park September events fall into your autumn plans with After Dark in the Park presentations, a poi making demonstration, guided hikes, a coffee talk and more!

All events are free, but entrance fees may apply. Some programs are sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Programs are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Rescheduled – The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Uēkahuna: A Legacy of Science.
Perched high on the rim of Uēkahuna since the late 1940s, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has been the hub of research and monitoring of Hawaiian volcanoes. The Reginald T. Okamura Building, constructed in 1985 and the heart of the observatory, was damaged beyond repair during the earthquakes of 2018. Join Don Swanson, who has a 55-year association with the observatory, as he takes us through the science conducted at this remarkable facility and the legacy being carried into the future. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park programs and sponsored by the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply. 
Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.  
Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium


Invasive Wildlife of the Pacific Islands. The terrestrial biota of the Central Pacific is primarily defined by its degree of isolation. At the center are the Hawaiian Islands, almost 4,000 km (2,480 miles) from the closest continental land mass. Millions of years of evolutionary isolation created beautiful and unique native ecosystems. However, the Central Pacific islands were suddenly besieged by alien rodents, carnivores, ungulates, reptiles and diseases. Dr. Steven Hess, research biologist with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, reveals how reversing the devastating effects of alien species has proven to be difficult, but limited successes have resulted in the dramatic recovery of native species. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park programs and co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply.
When: Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

Make Poi the Traditional Way. Come learn how Hawaiians make poi from the root of the kalo plant. The root is cooked and kuʻi (pounded) to create this classic and important Hawaiian dish. Ranger Keoni will share his knowledge of kuʻi kalo and ʻohana (family) connections to Waipiʻo Valley, where kalo thrives and is farmed by local families. Part of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana Noʻeau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural programs, and co-sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association and the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply.
When: Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: ʻŌhiʻa Wing (across Crater Rim Drive from Kīlauea Visitor Center)

Coffee Talk: The Nature Conservancy on Hawaiʻi Island. Based in Nāʻālehu, Shalan Crysdale is the Hawaiʻi Island Forest Program Director for the Conservancy. He oversees forest program operations, including stewardship of three preserves and two conservation easements across the island. He and his team of four protect 10,000 acres along the southwest flank of Mauna Loa, including the Kaiholena Preserve in Kaʻū.
When: Sept. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: Kahuku Visitor Contact Station


The Search for Exoplanets: Earth Like Planets and Alien Worlds. Orbiting distant stars, myriad alien worlds have recently been discovered. Some of these exoplanets fall in the “goldilocks” or habitable zone. Some appear to have oceans of liquid water and favorable conditions for life. Could Earth 2.0 be orbiting a nearby star? Come learn about the hunt for planets around distant stars with Subaru Telescope astronomer Julien Lozi. Hear about the exoplanet revolution and what this means for the field of astronomy and how Hawaiʻi may be the perfect place for future discoveries. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park programs and co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free, but park entrance fees apply.
When: Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

Explore Kahuku. The Kahuku Unit, one of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s best-kept secrets, is open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it’s free! Guided ranger programs and talks are offered on the weekends, check the park calendar for more info. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes.
When: Thursday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Kahuku is located in Ka‘ū, about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance. Enter Kahuku on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5.

A Walk into the Past with Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar. Walk back to 1939 and talk with the founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, at the edge of Kīlauea volcano. Dressed in period costume, actor Dick Hershberger brings the renowned geologist to life. 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 a free ticket at the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai the day of the program. This program is subject to cancellation during inclement weather. Supported by Kīlauea Drama Entertainment Network.
When: Most Fridays, Sept. 1, 15, 22 & 29 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Each performance is about an hour.
Where: Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center


Stewardship at the Summit Rainforest Restoration. Volunteer to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. Under 18? Parental or guardian accompaniment with written consent is required. Visit the park website for details.
When: Sept. 1, 9, 15 & 22. Meet at 8:45 a.m.
Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center on any of the above dates.

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.
Where: Meet at the Kīpukapuaulu parking lot, Mauna Loa Road, off Highway 11 in the park.

Explore the Summit and Other Ranger-Led Walks. Discover Kīlauea volcano on an easy one-hour, ranger-led walk offered daily. Other ranger-led programs may be offered; check with rangers at Kīlauea Visitor Center for additional programs.
When: Explore the Summit is offered daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: Meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

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