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Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Located on beautifully landscaped grounds with intriguing sculptures here and there, this charming complex includes an eclectic art gallery and excellent vegetarian café housed in redwood buildings built in 1908. A cute little one-bedroom "artist's cottage" is available for rent on the grounds as well. If you're lucky you'll get to meet the eccentric lord and master of this enclave, the one and only Ira Ono, known for his recycled "trash art," and his friendly hospitality. www.volcanogardenarts.com. COST: Free. OPEN: Tues.--Sat. 10--4.
A memorial to all those who lost their lives in tsunamis that have struck the Big Island, Hawaii and the world, this small but informative museum offers a poignant history of the devastating waves. In a 1931 C. W. Dickey-designed building—the former home of the First Hawaiian Bank—you'll find an interactive computer center, a science room, a theater, a replica of Old Hilo Town, a children's corner, and a knowledgeable, friendly staff. In the background, a striking quilt tells a silent story. www.tsunami.org. COST: $8. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 9--4:15.
Built in 1839 for David and Sarah Lyman, Congregationalist missionaries, the Lyman House is the oldest frame building on the island. In the adjacent museum, dedicated in 1973, there's a realistic magma chamber and exhibits on the islands' formation. There's also an interesting section on Hawaiian flora and fauna. The gift shop sells Hawaiian books, cards, gifts, and music. It's best to call ahead for tour availability. www.lymanmuseum.org. COST: $10. OPEN: Mon.--Sat. 10--4:30, Mission House tours 11--2.
Behind the stone-loading platform of the once-famous Hilo Railroad, constructed around the turn of the 20th century, the former manager's house is a poignant reminder of the era when sugar was the local cash crop. The railroad, used to transport sugar from the plantations to the port, was one of the most expensive built in its time. It was washed away by the 1946 tsunami. Today one of the vintage switch engines is on display at the museum, and on special occasions even runs a few yards on a short Y-track. www.thetrainmuseum.com. COST: $6. OPEN: Weekdays 9--4:30, weekends 10--2.
Local Big Island artwork is featured at this historic gallery, an 80-year-old fire station at the intersection of Lindsey Road and old Mamalahoa Highway, directly across from Waimea Chevron. Supporting the Waimea Arts Council, the gallery is home to annual juried shows as well as solo and group exhibitions by its many award-winning multimedia artists and artisans. www.waimeaartscouncil.org. OPEN: Wed.--Sat. 11--3.
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