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Address: 65-1120 Mamalahoa Highway, Island of Hawaii, HI 96743
Phone Number: 808-885-7887
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7:30 am - 5:00 pm
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Hours:
Mon - Fri 7:30 am - 5:00 pm

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 22 reviews
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A great place to learn about the huge telescopes on top of Mauna Kea

If you go to Mauna Kea, AND have a 4 wheel drive unit and lots of warm clothing you can drive to the top of the mountain--but you still can't see the telescopes. If you want to... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed November 21, 2015
oldpo
,
Hillsboro, OR

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22 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Dover, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
109 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We stopped in here on a whim with hopes of getting some insight into the operations of the telescope on Mauna Kea. We stood in the entrance area for about 45 minutes listening to some interesting background about the telescope, its history and operations. Afterwards, the guide was helpful in answering all of our questions. Unfortunately, this was the extent... More 

Helpful?
Thank NHAnimator
Hillsboro, OR
Level Contributor
123 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2015

If you go to Mauna Kea, AND have a 4 wheel drive unit and lots of warm clothing you can drive to the top of the mountain--but you still can't see the telescopes. If you want to see how those pieces of technology work you need to drive to Waimea, and just off the city center there is an official... More 

Helpful?
Thank oldpo
Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
270 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2015

was excellent. We did not have a four wheel drive vehicle nor the time to visit the observatory on top of the volcano. But the Visitor Centre in Waimea, where the astronomers work on the data from the mountain top observatory was fascinating. A knowledgeable and helpful guide called Ed told us so much about the work done there. There... More 

Helpful?
Thank Irwi
Ventura, California, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2015 via mobile

It's not Disneyland, it a real observatory, and deserves both more funding, and respect for what it is, a great experience that is volunteer based. It's worth the drive, as the views are amazing!

Helpful?
1 Thank Jim N
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2015 via mobile

If you are interested in the telescopes this is a great stop. The visitor center isn't large but the lady at the desk took us around and explained the telescopes and other astronomical devices they are using. She was great with my 12 year old too. Asked him questions and got him thinking. She also gave us some take away... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ann B
Honolulu
Level Contributor
380 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2015

Takes a bit of effort to get to the top of the mountain, every afternoon the park rangers take folks with 4-wheel drive vehicles (only those are permitted to drive to the 14,000-foot summit of Mauna Kea) if the weather allows-up tot he top. Its a bit safer that way in a caravan as the roads are dirt and can... More 

Helpful?
Thank Cardiotron
Stockton, California
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2015

We were lucky enough to get a private tour of Keck #1's telescope. This is an incredible facility with extremely devoted scientists and support personnel. The trip to the almost 14,000 feet (4,300 meters) was very fast and with incredible scenery along the way. The 8+ meter telescope was nothing short of amazing! Although it is not easy to get... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank LatinOnTheGo
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
290 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2015

The visitor center in Waimea is separate from the mountain top observatory tour. The Visitor Center is an embarrassment to such a prestigious enterprise. I was in and out in five minutes after reading every photo cation and staring at the static displays. Souvenirs were limited to coffee mugs, postcards, and a couple of t-shirts. Clearly some new direction and... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank charlesodonnell
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
335 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

We are huge astronomy fans and we really wanted to drive to the top to visit the W.M. Keck Observatory telescopes. We rented a 4x4 to be safe and were pleased that we did. At the visitor center at 9000 feet you feel the high altitude. At the top at over 14,000 feet I really was feeling the altitude. Be... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Marc L
Texas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2014

There are numerous signs warning that the road up from the visitors center is dangerous and they recommend that you take a commercial tour mini-bus from that point up. I was skeptical that the warning was just to help the tourism business, but my wife was spooked and opted to wait at the center. I drove up in my rental... More 

Helpful?
4 Thank Johnny007

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?