Since the Volcanoes National Park was closed by the federal government shutdown, we spent the day in Hilo, and I'm glad we did. The Pacific Tsunami Museum is right downtown, in the area that was wiped out by a big one in the late 1940's (I think). The building is one of the few that survived along what used to be the third block in from the harbor. We enjoyed the personal introductory tour by a very knowledgeable and pleasant staff member, and then went through the rest of the exhibits on our own. While not a real large place, we spent about two hours there and learned a lot about tsunamis. Several of the displays focus on stories of survivors and have photos and artifacts of their experiences. The best part was the videos of their first-person interviews. It was fascinating and quite moving. We learned about the tsunami warning system for the Pacific Ocean, which allows plenty of time for people a few hundred miles away from the starting point to seek shelter, and gives at least a few minutes for those closer to the undersea earthquake to scramble for high ground. Another display told of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004(?) that killed hundreds of thousands of people who had no warning of it, since that ocean has no warning system similar to the Pacific. Sad. There were plenty of staff members available to answer questions, and also a small gift shop. Not real fancy, but all very interesting, especially for coastal dwellers like us.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.