Pacific Tsunami Museum
Location: Hilo, Hawaii (130 Kamehameha Ave.)
When to visit: Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm (Closed Sun & Mon)
Cost: $8 adults, $4 kids
Time needed: 30-60 minutes
Tsunamis aren’t frequent in Hawaii, but when they do happen, they can be devastating. The city of Hilo on Hawaii Island has experienced two significant tsunamis in the past 70 years that resulted in the deaths of dozens of people.
At the Pacific Tsunami Museum, you can read about these tragedies, hear survivors’ stories, and learn how the islands have since worked to protect themselves from future tsunamis.
From the videos to the exhibits loaded full of good information, you could spend up to an hour in here educating yourself. The 1946 tsunami that killed more than 150 people is a major focus of the museum, as is the 1960 tsunami that took another 61 lives. In both cases, downtown Hilo saw massive damage, and some nearby small towns were completely wiped out.
On display are a handful of photos taken just as the 35-waves crashed ashore, and plenty more pics of the aftermath. The museum also has a section dedicated to other tsunamis around the world, including the 2004 event that killed a shocking 170,000 people in Indonesia.
You can see evidence of how tsunamis form with the interactive wave machine.
The modest but informative museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. It’s definitely worth a visit if you make it to Hilo.