Mokupāpapa Discovery Center



Mokupāpapa Discovery Center will be closed on March 14, 2020 until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience. This is being done for the health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and employees, and as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thank you for your patience.

In 2003, the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center (MDC) was established to interpret the natural science, culture and history of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding marine environment. Since most people will never have the opportunity to visit these remote islands, our facility on the bayfront in Hilo, Hawaiʻi serves to "bring the place to the people" and spur greater public awareness of the region and ocean conservation issues.

Father and son enjoy a quiet moment in front of the aquarium.
Father and son enjoy a quiet moment in front of the aquarium. Credit: NOAA

Housed in Hilo’s historic, century old Koehnen Building, Mokupāpapa features a 3,500 gallon saltwater aquarium, interactive educational exhibits, lifesize models of wildlife found in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, artwork inspired by those islands and Hawaiian culture, and many interpretive panels in both Hawaiian and English. The beauty of the historic Koehnen building has been preserved and refreshed to show off its majesty, including a koa wood staircase, Hawaiian hardwood floors, and high ceilings.

In our new facility, the nature and culture of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands come alive as never before, transporting visitors to this remote ocean wilderness where predators rule the reefs, the skies teem with swooping, screeching seabirds, and the Native Hawaiian chanting of the Kumulipo (a Hawaiian creation chant) sets the mood for exploration and learning.

Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo Public Charter School students perform an opening ceremony at Mokupāpapaʻs Grand reopening.
Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo Public Charter School students perform an opening ceremony at Mokupāpapaʻs Grand reopening. Credit: NOAA


Mokupāpapa Discovery Center

76 Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720
Phone: 808-498-4709
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm