Mokupāpapa Discovery Center showcases the marine life of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, perhaps Earth’s most remote and pristine ocean environment – and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is also a World Heritage Site). Scientific interpretation, a 2,500-gallon saltwater aquarium, and more await visitors. Located at 308 Kamehameha Ave. in Hilo, near the Hilo Farmers Market. No admission, open Tues. – Sat. (808) 933-8195
Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens is a 12-acre rainforest zoo located south of Hilo on Mamaki Street. Namasté, its white Bengal tiger, gets fed daily at 3:30, and there's a children's petting zoo on Saturdays from 1:30-2:30. The zoo is also known for its beautiful botanical gardens, which have more than 100 varieties of palm trees and other plants. Open 9-4 daily. (808) 959-7224.
Puako Petroglyph Preserve, off Highway 19 and just north of the entrance to the Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast, offers a short hike that leads to more than 3,000 petroglyphs; the hotel provides a free map and brochure.
Pu‘ukoholā National Historic Site is Hawai‘i’s largest heiau (temple) and was built under the order of Kamehameha I to appease the war god Ku. Once the hillside heiau was complete, Kamehameha sacrificed a rival, and set sail to unify all the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. Pu‘ukoholā “Hill of the Whale” is located between the Kohala Coast resorts and Kawaihae off Highway 270. The founding of the Hawaiian Kingdom can be directly associated with this one sacred structure. Open daily 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding federal holidays.