A ranger leads a group of hikers onto the floor of Kilauea caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National // © 2016 National Park Service
Feature image (above): Another view of the Kilauea caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park // © 2016 Creative Commons user waywardtraveler
The entire National Park Service turns 100 in 2016. Throughout the country, national park visitors can expect celebratory events and deals including waived entrance fees on Jan. 18, April 16-24, Aug. 1, Aug. 25-28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.
If clients prefer a park with lava flows, steam vents and native plants and animals, then this is the year to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HAVO). The 15th national park to be established in the U.S., HAVO is presenting visitor-friendly events and activities surrounding its 100th birthday.
“Clients will relish the opportunity to celebrate and connect with Hawaii's rich history and culture, enjoy nature and make new discoveries,” said Jay Talwar, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. “Upcoming centennial events and programs may help convince travelers that 2016 is the year to plan a Hawaii Island visit.”
Following are highlights of HAVO’s year-long celebration.
After Dark in the Park
Now through December 2016, visitors can attend HAVO’s free, centennial-themed evening programs. Held on one Tuesday each month, the talks focus on different facets of the park’s history. Topics range from Kilauea volcano’s explosive personality to the challenges of conserving the park’s native species.
“Each of these 12 monthly programs will enlighten participants about the park’s fascinating history and evolution, but will also emphasize the role we all play in shaping our next 100 years,” said Cindy Orlando, park superintendent for HAVO.
On the Saturday following each After Dark in the Park event, rangers will lead free, guided excursions related to that month’s topic. The February 2016 hike leads to a forested pit crater where rare and endangered species are naturally protected. March’s trip invites visitors to join park staff as they clean up a habitat for nenes (endangered Hawaiian geese).
“We want to share stories our visitors and local residents may not be aware of through the After Dark in the Park program, then take them out into the field to experience the park in person and on foot,” Orlando said.
In Hawaii, clients can purchase a tri-park annual pass providing one-year’s worth of unlimited entry to HAVO and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park on Hawaii Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui. The pass costs $25.
Each Thursday throughout 2016, HAVO is sharing a photo and description of a historic event, artifact or artwork on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Archivists have assembled the images — dubbed the Socientennial series — to provide an enticing overview of the park’s first 100 years.
Other anniversary highlights include a traveling exhibit of quilts inspired by national parks, on display at HAVO in March; the debut of a new HAVO museum with art, artifacts and photos; a free cultural festival on Aug. 27; and a juried art exhibition from November to December.