Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with KIDS
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Visiting National Parks is a great way to introduce kids to the wonder of the United States. The National Park service was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson to preserve the nations natural wonders and create revenue for the country – for every $ we spend to preserve the parks it earns $10.
According to the writer, Wallace Stegner,
“Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”
Now, there are 58 national parks in the United States. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is extra special because it is also a World Heritage Site. World Heritage sites are recognized as being of outstanding international importance and it is most certainly an amazing place to visit.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Why visit a national park?
Visiting national parks is a great way to get kids into the great outdoors.
Thanks to wonderful technology kids spend more time indoors than they did just a generation ago. My kids are amazed that when I was a kid we had only 5 channels and if you didn’t see a show when it came on…you just missed it!
Kids benefit from time spent outside. Studies show:
“…outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.”
Getting outside is good for the brain, too! R. Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, says
“…nature creates a unique sense of wonder for kids that no other environment can provide. The phenomena that occur naturally in backyards and parks everyday make kids ask questions about the earth and the life that it supports.”
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – See an active volcano!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Kilauea has been erupting since January 3, 1983 – longer than your young travelers have even been alive!
The volcano produces enough lava every single day to resurface a 20-mile long road. That is a lot of lava! What better way to explain to children how a volcano creates islands?
Visit the Halemaumau Crater and watch the steam venting!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Thurston Lava Tube
There are different types of lava depending upon the thickness of the lava. Lava tubes are created when part of the lava cools and hardens quicker than the rest. The outer portion cools and hardens like a straw while the inside lava continues to flow eventually leaving the straw portion empty. This empty ‘straw’ is a cave you can visit. The Thurston Lava Tube was discovered in 1913 by Mr. Thurston. Ask the kids what they would name a lava tube if they were to discover one.
From the road, this is an easy walk, but on a slanted surface. Be careful if it is wet as the ground can be slippery. This is another reason to always wear sturdy closed-toed shoes on adventures!
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Volcano House
Consider staying at Hawaii’s oldest hotel which is located right inside the park. From the hotel, you can view the Halema’uma’u Crater and see the glow from the lava at night.
If you don’t stay the night be sure to visit anyway. Sit for a few minutes and see the video playing in the sitting area and check out the souvenir shop. They have everything from kid stuff to wonderful art.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Crater Rim Drive
The Crater Rim Drive is a 10.6-mile drive that goes around the Kilauea Caldera. You’ll see the main attractions like the Kilauea overlook, Jagger Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Plan PLENTY of time.
If you aren’t staying in the park, be aware that the park is FAR away from pretty much anything. Hilo is only 45 minutes away but Kona (which doesn’t look that far on a map) is 3 hours away. Look carefully at a map of Hawaii – there aren’t really that many roads in general.
We stayed near Kona in the Hilton Waikoloa Village and did the trip in one day. Leave early and plan on getting back late.
Happy Aloha Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist