March 26, 2023

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Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park with children can appear intimidating. You could have some trepidation over whether or not such a go to is harmful and methods to make it fascinating for the entire household. For those who do it proper, although, exploring volcanoes on Hawaii’s Huge Island shouldn’t be solely protected but additionally tremendous enjoyable for households. Comply with these 15 useful suggestions for visiting volcanoes in Hawaii by helicopter and by land.

Peering into Pu'u 'O'o from a helicopter tour of Volcanoes National Park with kids
Peering into Pu’u ‘O’o from a helicopter tour of Volcanoes Nationwide Park (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

1. Select the correct helicopter tour.

A helicopter tour of Hawaii’s volcanoes has lengthy been a bucket listing merchandise for me. I virtually did not go, although. Principally as a result of it is costly. Chances are you’ll be tempted to decide out as nicely, but it surely’s price each cent for such a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime expertise!

Usually, there isn’t a age restrict to fly in a helicopter (with doorways on) so even infants and toddlers can take part. Kids ages 2+ have to be secured in their very own seats in a automotive seat or accredited security restraint.

Hawaiian helicopter tour with kids
My household’s Hawaiian helicopter tour (Picture credit score: Journey Mamas)

Lower your expenses whereas exploring volcanoes by air and land:

We, like most Huge Island guests, spent nearly all of our trip on the drier and extra populous Kona aspect of the island. Due to this fact, I used to be initially contemplating a helicopter flight from the Waikoloa Heliport to keep away from the 2-hour drive to Hilo.

After performing some analysis, nevertheless, I realized that I may save my household tons of of {dollars} by reserving a helicopter tour from the Hilo Worldwide Airport. If you wish to lower your expenses and also you’re fascinated about exploring Hawai’i Volcanoes Nationwide Park by land as nicely, then I like to recommend reserving a helicopter tour from Hilo.

Save time and splurge on helicopter expertise:

If time is of the essence and also you’re keen to splurge, then e-book this amazing tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. It departs from Waikoloa on the Kohala Coast. Though you will not get the chance to hike previous the Kilauea Caldera on foot, you will notice loads of the island from above. You may even step out of the helicopter on the fringe of a freshwater pool, beside a thundering waterfall! (Ages 2+.)

My daughter and I were worried about motion sickness but our helicopter flight was smooth
My daughter and I had been apprehensive about movement illness, however our helicopter flight was easy (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

2. Overcome movement illness.

A snorkeling and boating tour the day previous to our helicopter flight left my teen daughter and me apprehensive about movement illness. After a lot encouragement from our Facebook fans (thanks!), we determined to go for it. I am so very glad we did. We felt a tad woozy afterward, but it surely was manageable, and we each agreed nicely price it.

This was my second helicopter flight. (The primary was in Sevierville, Tennessee.) Each instances, I used to be happy to expertise how a lot smoother and fewer nauseating a helicopter trip is in comparison with a small airplane flight. 

Nonetheless, it is good to take precautions, particularly if somebody in your loved ones typically suffers from movement illness. Deliver alongside a nausea-reducing treatment like Dramamine and skim these movement illness suggestions earlier than you go.

Pu'u 'O'o erupted nearly continuously from January 1983 to April 2018
Pu’u ‘O’o erupted almost repeatedly from January 1983 to April 2018 (Picture credit score: G.E. Ulrich, Wikipedia)

3. Examine the lava circulate.

In periods of eruption, parts or all the nationwide park might shut and helicopter flights could also be grounded for security’s sake. Moreover, when lava is flowing and the park is open, count on lengthy delays.

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is taken into account one of many world’s most active volcanoes. Chances are high, you’re going to get to see some molten lava at Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park. Eruptions in 2021, 2022, and 2023 have created a lava lake in Halema’uma’u Crater.

There was no lava to be seen anyplace on the Huge Island throughout my household’s first go to to Volcano Nationwide Park. As soon as the most important lava lake on the planet, Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea’s Caldera didn’t include any seen lava throughout our tour in 2018. That is as a result of all of it poured out when a giant magma chamber collapsed, inflicting a 3-month-long lava circulate. This additionally brought about the crater to develop considerably in dimension. Halemaumau Crater at Kilauea’s Caldera is now about 3 times as large because it was earlier than the collapse!

Check the National Park System website to study volcanic exercise in Hawaii.

4. Respect present situations at Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park.

Even when you aren’t getting to see lively lava circulate, the nationwide park nonetheless presents loads of pleasure for households.

As a result of lava was not flowing, our helicopter was capable of circle Pu’u ‘O’o. This volcanic cone is a part of Kilauea’s jap rift zone. Till April 2018, Pu’u ‘O’o had been erupting since January 1983. This makes it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption on Earth over the previous 200 years.

We had been capable of peer proper into Pu’u ‘O’o from our helicopter seats. That is actually probably the most thrilling issues I’ve ever carried out and it is one thing my household will at all times keep in mind. View my YouTube video above to see what I imply!

Throughout our helicopter tour, we additionally obtained an opportunity to see the most recent actual property on Earth, created by the 2018 huge eruption and subsequent summit collapse. The decrease Puna eruption lasted 4 months. The lava cooled to kind volcanic rock, creating 875 acres of latest land within the Pacific Ocean.

This land was created by the 2018 lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii
This land was created by the 2018 lava circulate on the Huge Island of Hawaii (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

5. Respect the ability of Hawaii’s volcanoes.

Over 700 homes had been destroyed by the 2018 volcanic exercise on Hawaii. Our helicopter pilot, Darryl, informed us that a lot of the homes that had been destroyed are in a Zone 1 space, probably the most harmful lively volcanic zone.

There are 9 lava-flow zones on the islands, with Zone 9 being the least prone to expertise volcanic injury. Darryl stated that homes within the first zone have a 90 % likelihood of volcanic devastation.

Though Zone 1 residents are unable to buy insurance coverage for his or her properties as a result of excessive danger of volcanic destruction, they will purchase Hawaiian actual property at a cut price fee.

A number of the homes that survived the eruption are second-generation properties. Which means the unique properties had been annihilated years in the past and have been rebuilt by the proprietor’s kids or grandchildren.

The surviving houses here are second generation in Zone 1 on Hawaii near Volcanoes National Park
The surviving homes listed below are the second technology in Zone 1 on Hawaii close to Volcanoes Nationwide Park (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

6. Keep protected whereas exploring Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park.

Is it protected to discover lively volcanoes in Hawaii with children? 

Jim Bendt, CEO of Pique Travel Design, a journey company specializing in Hawaii, says in this CNBC article, “Huge Island is over 4,000 sq. miles. The world of the most recent eruption covers 10 sq. miles. Vacationers should not have any worries visiting.”

Moreover, volcanologists carefully monitor exercise to supply warnings to residents and guests. The University of Hawaii Hilo’s website explains, “scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) have devices that monitor the rift zones 24 hours a day. Earlier than an eruption, the bottom inflates quickly and seismographs file volcanic tremor (underground magma flowing up in the direction of the floor).”

Nonetheless, if you happen to’re staying in Zone 1, you need to take heed. The College of Hawaii Hilo continues, “Though there’s often a rise in seismic exercise and floor deformation for a number of hours previous to an eruptive outbreak, residents dwelling in distant areas might have little warning and fewer time to evacuate themselves and their possessions previous to a fast-moving lava circulate.”

Most essential is to remain on marked trails and overlooks, and swiftly comply with any evacuation directions.

Lava flowing into the ocean from Kilauea eruption
Lava flowing into the ocean from Kilauea eruption (Picture credit score: georgeburba,

7. Watch out for poor air high quality.

Because of gases and ash launched by volcanoes, air high quality in Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park can attain harmful ranges. Poor air high quality from volcanic sulfur dioxide fuel and particulate matter might be detrimental to everybody.

These with lung situations, nevertheless, needs to be particularly cautious. Do not forget to deliver alongside an inhaler for bronchial asthma victims (like my son).

With these air high quality risks, pregnant girls and oldsters of infants and younger kids might wish to contemplate visiting Hawaii’s volcanoes at a later date, particularly throughout eruptions. Aged guests and people with coronary heart issues also needs to take heed.

Examine the NPS’s Air Quality Alert to find out one of the best time to go to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park with children.

Our guided walking tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with kids
Our guided strolling tour of Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park with Kilauea EcoGuide Founder Erik Storm (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

8. Ebook a Kilauea strolling tour with children.

It’s unimaginable to see Hawaii’s volcanoes from the seat of a helicopter, but it surely’s additionally superb to discover Kilauea on foot.

To get probably the most out of visiting Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park with children, I extremely advocate reserving a Private Tour with Kilauea EcoGuide. Proprietor and lead information, Erik Storm, guarantees that every one the corporate’s guides modify their excursions to fulfill their viewers’s wants. This implies conserving issues fascinating for youngsters and teenagers, too.

Utilizing easy-to-follow graphics, Erik defined how volcanoes kind, why they erupt, and the reason for current lava flows on the island. He blended classes concerning the historical past and tradition of the Hawaiian Islands with science to maintain us all captivated. Plus, since it is a personal tour, we may additionally ask all of the questions we needed.

Our household took in views of Kilauea’s Caldera and walked previous steam vents, with clouds arising from the earth’s molten heart. We additionally realized about Hawaii’s strongest god, Pele, the god of Mauna Loa and all volcanic exercise on the island.

It was a lot extra significant to discover this World Heritage Web site with an professional in Hawaiian tradition and geology than it might have been to wander round on our personal. That is very true for the reason that Thomas A. Jaggar Museum closed as a consequence of instability from the hundreds of seismic occasions that occurred in 2018. This museum as soon as housed geological and cultural displays targeted on the examine of volcanoes and Hawaii. It’s set to be demolished.

Volcanic steam rising from the ground in Volcanoes National Park with kids
Volcanic steam rising from the bottom in Volcanoes Nationwide Park (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

9. Break up explorations to maintain children .

Kilauea EcoGuides is completely happy to interrupt the tour into extra simply digestible chunks for households with children. So, if you happen to’ll be staying on the Hilo aspect of the island for just a few days, I like to recommend asking if you are able to do half of the tour in the future and the opposite half the following day.

Select both a 3-hour or a 6-hour tour. Except your children are loopy about volcanoes, the shorter tour might be ample for households.

Book your private Volcanoes National Park tour now!

Visual graphics help kids and adults learn about volcanoes and Hawaii during the private walking tour
Visible graphics assist children and adults study volcanoes and Hawaii throughout the personal strolling tour (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

10. Go to the Kilauea Customer Middle.

Fortunately, at present you possibly can go to the Kīlauea Customer Middle close to the park entrance. Particularly if visiting the nationwide park by yourself, then the guests heart needs to be your first cease. It is positioned on the correct aspect close to the park entrance.

Park rangers and volunteers might be completely happy to supply suggestions for one of the best ways to discover the park. They may give suggestions for mountaineering trails, scenic drives, and different most important points of interest.

Plus, the customer’s heart presents a present store, one thing my children at all times prefer to peruse at nationwide parks. It is a good place to select up souvenirs like plush toys, instructional video games, and collectibles. Better of all, gross sales profit the Nationwide Park System.

The Jaggar Museum at the Kilauea summit is closed indefinitely
The Jaggar Museum on the Kilauea summit is closed indefinitely (Picture credit score: W Nowicki, Wikipedia)

11. Take part within the Junior Ranger Program.

Make Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park extra enjoyable for youths with the Junior Ranger Program. Choose up your Junior Ranger Booklets on the guests heart. Actions embody a scavenger hunt, coloring e-book, and arrowhead-making craft. Children ages 7 to 12 can present their accomplished workbooks to earn a Junior Ranger sticker.

Aerial view of the volcanic eruption of volcano Kilauea in May 2018
Aerial view of the volcanic eruption of volcano Kilauea (Picture credit score: fthuerig,

12. Costume appropriately to discover volcanoes.

Costume in layers for the reason that temperature on the prime of Kilauea might be 12 to 15 degrees lower than at sea level. You also needs to put on comfy strolling or mountaineering footwear with tread for exploring trails.

Deliver alongside rain gear, too, like ponchos and umbrellas. My household was fortunate to go to Volcanoes Nationwide Park on an unusually dry and clear day. Bear in mind, although, that it usually rains 300 days per yr within the park.

Thankfully my son, Leo's asthma was not aggravated at Hawaii Volcano National Park
Fortunately my son, Leo’s bronchial asthma was not aggravated at Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

13. Plan forward for meals and snacks.

Bear in mind, there aren’t loads of eating choices inside Hawaii Volcano Nationwide Park. Due to this fact, you could wish to pack snacks and a meal on your go to. Packing meals and drinks additionally saves cash on this costly island.

My household picnicked at Queen Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo earlier than our helicopter trip. With a lot of picnic tables and 0 entry charges, this Japanese-style botanic backyard makes a wonderful and handy spot for a meal.

Erik, our strolling tour information, recommends the next eating places in Volcano, Hawaii for households earlier than or after exploring the nationwide park.

Queen Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo is a great place for a picnic before your Volcanoes National Park visit
Queen Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo is a superb place for a picnic earlier than your Volcanoes Nationwide Park go to (Picture credit score: Colleen Lanin)

14. Drive throughout daylight.

You’ll want to time your go to to Hawaii Volcanoes Nationwide Park in order that your drive takes place throughout sunlight hours. This offers you one of the best visibility throughout the journey.

The island is dwelling to Mauna Kea, the world’s largest area observatory. Due to this fact, to allow good star gazing, the island doesn’t have many streetlights. Moreover, the journey from Hilo might be fairly foggy.

Examine the time of sunset in Hawaii on your journey dates to create an inexpensive schedule on your go to. Give your self loads of cushion to make the trek, too, particularly if you must drive again to the Kona aspect of the island after your volcanic adventures.

After driving the 2 hours with white knuckles gripped on my rental Jeep steering wheel, I want I might adopted my very own recommendation!

Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea
Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea (Picture credit score: kelpfish,

15. Keep on the Hilo aspect of the Huge Island.

Higher but, I like to recommend spending just a few days on the Hilo aspect of the island as a substitute of doing a day journey. 

I anticipated Hilo to be far more like sleepy little Hana on Maui, dwelling to lower than 1,000 residents. As a substitute, we discovered a vibrant metropolis, dwelling to 45,000+ residents.

Plus, Hilo boasts some spectacular websites. Take pleasure in waterfalls like Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls. Discover the celebrities at Imaloa Astronomy Center. Take pleasure in plentiful black sand seashores. And Hilo is dwelling to the one tropical zoo within the U.S. — Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo.

To remain the evening inside Volcanoes Nationwide Park, you might have two selections — At the Crater’s Edge (for adults solely) or Volcano House (kids below 17 keep free).

Akaka Falls near Hilo on the Big Island
Akaka Falls close to Hilo on the Huge Island (Picture credit score: Vacclav,

Discover extra of Hawaii.

Hawaii is the sixth Hawaiian island I’ve visited. I liked the Huge Island a lot, I would even say it’s the best island to visit in Hawaii.

Uncover all of the superb issues to do in Maui with children.

Take a look at this listing of one of the best lodge swimming pools in Hawaii, really helpful by journey specialists.

Able to expertise conventional Hawaiian tradition, volcanoes, and different pure wonders of Hawaii? Check out flight prices with Hawaiian Airlines now! While you fly with Hawaiian, your trip and the spirit of aloha begin the minute you board the aircraft.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with Kids

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A Notice from The Journey Mama: I acquired a small media low cost on our helicopter tour from TripAdvisor and our strolling tour was hosted by Kilauea EcoGuide. We paid full value for the whole lot else throughout our go to to the Huge Island. All opinions are mine, as at all times. This story was initially written in 2018 and was up to date in 2023 to mirror modifications to the nationwide park.