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The Big Island has a wide range of activities to offer clients.
On the east side of the island, for instance, clients can experience the beauties of the coastline and uncrowded whale watching by booking Lava Ocean Adventures’ new Natural Wonders of Hilo charter. Through May 2009, the 2½-hour journey features encounters with humpback whales and dolphins plus views of Kilauea volcano’s eruption, waterfalls and lava caves. Tours departs from Wailoa Harbor, with rates at $125 per adult and $99 per child (808-966-4200; www.lavaocean.com).
Parker Ranch, in the island’s cool Upcountry region, recently opened its doors on the Paniolo (cowboy) Hall of Fame. Free of charge, the attraction honors Hawaiian cowboy culture with photo portraits and short biographies of inductees statewide. It’s a must-see for cowboy enthusiasts and history buffs. Initiated by the Oahu Cattlemen’s Association, the exhibit is open Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (877-885-7999; www.parkerranch.com).
Next year has been dubbed the International Year of Astronomy, and Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii is celebrating by offering the monthly Maunakea Skies presentation, starting Jan. 17. Free throughout next year, the program teaches clients about the Hawaiian night sky as noted astronomers speak about new discoveries. Guests can also enjoy Imiloa’s newest planetarium show, Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope, which explores the role telescopes play to expand our understanding of the universe (808-969-9700; www.imiloahawaii.org).
Now through July 2009, Vavoom Volcano Tours is offering a buy-three, get-one-free offer on their visits to fiery Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Any party of four or more will get one free fare on all available adventures, excluding the Half-Day Tour (808-966-8858; www.vavoomhawaii.blogspot.com).
Bottom Time Hawaii is offering free nitrox (enriched air) for certified divers through February 2009. Perfect for multiple dives on multiple days, the offer must be mentioned when the reservation is made (866-463-4836; www.bottomtimehawaii.com).
Kona Village is hosting a triathlon camp Jan. 20-28. The program, limited to 20 participants, will incorporate expert coaching, personalized nutrition programs and logistical support. Clients can experience the pinnacle of training, nutrition, motivation, injury prevention, wellness and performance with some of the world’s leading experts (415-459-3104; www.triathlonexperiencekonavillage.com).
This December and January, food lovers can indulge in a feast of events celebrating culinary culture presented by the Lyman Museum and Hawaii Community College. Clients can take their taste buds around the world during ethnic-themed luncheons and a film festival catered by budding Big Island chefs. Lectures and excursions explore the island’s agricultural activity and innovation (808-935-5021; www.lymanmuseum.org).