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Experience a volcano up close and personal with our daily lava shows! Free with admission. Book Online and Save!


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Open every day
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

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Occurs Twice Daily!

12:00 pm

2:30 pm

Basalt cinder rock is melted in a brass furnace for about two hours at around 2500 degrees Fahrenheit and once it’s in its molten liquid state, it is poured out as lava. The lava cools quickly and forms volcanic glass that shatters with the strain of the quick cooling.  During the show, the presenters talk about an upwelling of magma called  a “Hot spot” that has led to the formation of volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This Hot Spot in conjunction with the movement of the tectonic plates of our Earth’s crust create the Hawaiian Island chain. The audience is also presented with samples of various types of basalt lava including the most common types of lava flows that occur in Hawaii and some of the more unusual formations of lava found in near Hawaiian volcanoes.

25 min – Science Adventure Center Hot Spot Theater

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This image is provided by a USGS research camera mounted in the observation tower at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The camera is looking SSE towards the active vent in Halemaʻumaʻu, 1.9 km (1.2 miles) from the webcam. For scale, Halemaʻumaʻu is approximately 1 km (0.6 mi) across and about 85 m (~280 ft) deep. To view other USGS live cams, please visit:

This video shows activity in the summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. Spattering like this is common in the lake, and this video shows the view from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu (closed to the public due to volcanic hazards). This spattering has recently been visible from the Jaggar Overlook inside Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park (open to the public). To view other USGS videos and images, please visit:

This video clip shows typical spattering activity in Kīlauea’s summit lava lake. This spattering was occurring along the eastern margin of the lake on the evening of October 5.


A “hot spot” is an unusually hot section of Earth’s mantle. Hot spots are approximately 2700 degrees Fahrenheit; hot enough to cause rock to melt and become magma. When the magma and gas rise up, they fill what is called the Magma Chamber 1-3 miles beneath the Earth’s crust. As it rises pressure builds up and causes the chamber to crack and we get eruptions at the surface. This is the process that continues to shape the Hawaiian Islands today.

Thinking about visiting Kīlauea?

Read through the USGS’ List of Volcanic Hazards on Hawaiʻi