Delve into the island of Hawaii – its creation by violent volcanic activity, and the many plants, animals, and people that thrive in this tropical environment. At Hilo’s Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, stroll among 100 varieties of palm, and displays of orchids, bamboo and rhododendrons, perhaps encountering some resident peacocks along the way. Many exotic birds and animals make their homes here in natural exhibits, including Hawaii’s state bird, the nene, a species of goose.
Hawaii is a major producer of those addictive macadamia nuts that come salted, roasted, chocolate coated, embedded in brittle and baked in cookies. A visit to the Mauna Loa factory provides an opportunity to sample some of the goodies made with this popular nut. Get a look at the production process, from tree to package, and wander through this garden setting surrounded by the 250,000-tree macadamia orchard.
Visit Lava Tree State Park, a once lush rainforest destroyed by a lava flow. The hollow stone skeletons of trees remain, now covered with moss. At Ahalanui Park, you'll have time to enjoy a dip or just dangle your feet in the warm geothermal waters of the pond, and relax with a picnic lunch.