A ‘spooktacular’ weekend on tap at ‘Imiloa

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Lauren DeMent works in the decorated atrium of the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. 'Imiloa will be hosting a Halloween weekend for keiki on Saturday, Oct. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 31.

The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo is getting spooky for Halloween weekend.

Keiki and their families are invited to celebrate Halloween with special crafts, unique planetarium programs and a scavenger hunt for all ages.

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“Because of COVID-19, we still have to observe state, county and (University of Hawaii) protocols. However, with Halloween on the horizon, we feel that the least we can do is bring some joy to the community and give something different for our visitors to experience,” said Yu Yok Pearring, marketing director.

This year’s Halloween theme is based on the critters found on Maunakea. In the exhibit hall, visitors can enjoy making various Halloween crafts, which will feature the creatures.

Visitors also can participate in an engaging and educational garden scavenger hunt called, “Search for Maunakea’s Creepy Crawlies.”

“The weekend will be Halloween with a local culture twist,” Pearring said. “We hope that featuring the creatures from Maunakea will give an educational and cultural perspective to our visitors.”

The planetarium will be offering new experiences with a live program called, “Search for the Nocturnal EXTREME,” and an interactive show, “Black Holes — The Other Side of Infinity.”

The planetarium also will be showing a “Haunted Galaxy Gallery,” which will feature glimpses into the most haunted and chilling places in the universe.

Visitors will be able to walk through the planetarium to hear astronomy-related stories while viewing posters of creative artwork based on real phenomena, which were commissioned by NASA.

“Everyone has endured so much since the start of COVID-19, and we hope that our special Halloween weekend offerings, along with the fun decor, will bring back some of the excitement and joy associated with this festive mood for all our visitors, near and far,” said Executive Director Ka‘iu Kimura.

‘Imiloa will be hosting the Spooktacular Halloween Weekend during its normal weekend hours. The center will be open on Saturday, Oct. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The weekend programs will be offered through modified two-hour time blocks for each visit. The time blocks are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Due to space limitations, all visitors are strongly encouraged to secure their admission tickets online and are required to observe existing COVID-19 protocols.

“If they want to stay longer, visitors will have the chance to do the scavenger hunt and hang out around the garden outside the two-hour window,” Pearring said. “We are definitely praying for good weather.”

‘Imiloa also has opened a Spooky Species Poster Contest for kids from grades K-12. Participants can showcase spooky artwork by illustrating select endemic species of Maunakea and their unique ecosystems.

Participants can illustrate the pe‘epe‘e, the wolf spider, the ‘enuhe hamui‘a, a carnivorous caterpillar, and the ope‘ape‘a, the hoary bat.

Poster submission deadline is today by 4 p.m. at ‘Imiloa.

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To purchase tickets or for more information about the Halloween weekend, visitors can go to imiloahawaii.org.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com