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Mauna Kea Observatories

Island of Hawaii, HI
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Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Cultural
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28 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Apex, North Carolina
Top Contributor
115 reviews 115 reviews
54 attraction reviews
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014

We did this with a tour operator. Do not drive this yourself. It can be dangerous, the road is very steep and you can get dizzy when you get to 14,000 feet of elevation. Also, you will not have a telescope. The tour operators have them in their vans. We did sunset at the observatories and it is absolutely the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

Awesome drive ,beautiful views. be sure to stop at ranger station and gift shop to get used to altitude.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2014

This was hands down the highlight of my stay at Kona. We took our own car up (easy drive no matter what all the scary signs say). If you've ever driven the ski fields in NZ this is a walk in the park. One road up and one road down. Given the lack of oxygen in the air you do... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 9
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

Family fun driving through the cloud and fog and narrow, rough roads at times. Will we make it! Vegetation changes and land becomes barren. Then suddenly you break through the cloud and are at the top of the mountain where the sky is clear and blue and you're surrounded by the huge observatories. Fresh, clean, cool air and amazing view.... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
13 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

Took a trip up to watch sunset and star gaze The observatories are amazing when they open ready for the night sky . With no pollution you stare upwards in amazement at the night spectacle. The Milky Way is visible , Saturn and it's rings then viewed through the telescope it was breath taking. Returned part way down mountain and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
Winnipeg, Canada
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Must see if visiting Big Island. Arrive just before sunset to enjoy all the stars. Drive up to the top is a bit scary but not bad - just need to use different gear when going downhill. Many telescopes were set up by professors and students of University. We saw Saturn so clearly - it was amazing. It was very... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
25 attraction reviews
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013

If you are a serious photographer and/or star gazer..AVOID the visitors center or be prepared for a lot of inconsiderate tourists taking FLASH photos with their iPhones. I have never encountered a more inconsiderate group of individuals in my travels. Add to that the very LOUD Star Gazer lady who insists that everyone yell ALOHA!!!!! at the top of their... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013 via mobile

Drive to visitors center: Go around sunset so you can hike up a hill to see an amazing vista and see Mona Loa while standing on Mona Kea! After that hang around for the students to set up some very expensive telescopes to view the moon, nebulas and the specific planets. Bring a picnic dinner - the visitors center doesn't... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 11
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
26 attraction reviews
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

I loved seeing these telescopes! I loved loved loved it! Recommend going with a 4X4 and they dont recommend anyone with a heart problem or anyone over the age of 65, or under 16 as it is almost 14 thousand feet above sea level. At around 10 thousand feet there is a little shop and visitor center, they recommend you... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 9
Berkeley, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Second visit to this remarkable place. Some of the world's largest telescopes with access to much of the sky. One of the few land locations where both the Southern Cross and North Star are visible. We drove our rented car to the very top, and I really didn't think we would make it. The atmosphere is so rarefied that the... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 6

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