When booking our crater view room at Volcano House, we set aide three days to explore Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. But after two fulls days of adventuring, exploring, and hiking from sun up to sun down, we were exhausted — and we had pretty much seen everything our list of things to do.
On day three we spent A LOT of time in the car, heading out of the national park in two different directions. In the afternoon we drove toward Kona to Na’alehu to visit the famous Punalu’u Black Sand Beach and Punalu’u Bake Shop. But first, in the morning, we drove toward Hilo to Volcano in hunt of a pressed penny machine. Carter collects pressed pennies and we had already found every pressed penny machine on the Big Island but one, so we didn’t want to miss this last one at Akatsuka Orchid Gardens
With more than 500 blooming orchids on display at any given time throughout the year, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens boasts the Big Island’s largest collection or orchids. This 13,000 square foot orchid nursery, showroom, retail store, and gift shop is packed with a wide variety of orchids, tropical plants, and tropical flower arrangements.
Akatsuka Orchid Gardens was established in 1974, by Mr. Moriyasu Akatsuka who has been growing and selling Cattleya orchids more than 40 years. Before that he worked in a family orchid nursery in Japan.
During your visit to this orchid showroom and store, you’ll enjoy the sights and fragrances of gorgeous orchids and have the opportunity to experience the world’s first orchid maze.
The 8,000 square foot Orchid Maze offers a self-guided tour through a huge collection of stunning orchids, as well as the Cattleya orchid wall, orchid growth stages exhibit, interactive video learning stations, and even a mini zen garden. The website says the Orchid Maze is free, but when we visited, there was a $5/person fee to enter.
Before you leave, don’t forget to get your own pressed penny!
The $20,000 Orchid
If visiting between May and August, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the $20,000 orchid that was imported from Thailand in 1984. With no hybridization, the natural orchid was awarded a First Class Certificate (FCC) for size and symmetry in 1991 and is registered with the American Orchid Society.
This beautiful orchid blooms only once each year and stays in bloom for just two months.
Know Before You Go
- Akatsuka Orchid Gardens is located on the Big Island of Hawai’i between Mile Markers 22 and 23 at 11-3051 Volcano Road, Volcano, Hawai’i 96785.
- Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, but closed on major holidays.
- You can book a 45 minute guided Orchid Farm Tour And Tasting (11:00 am and 2:00 pm options, reservations recommended), which includes the Orchid Maze, an informational presentation, ice cream samples, and planting your own orchid to take home.
- Akatsuka Orchid Gardens is Hawaii Agriculture Certified so they can ship your floral purchases locally in Hawaii or anywhere on the US Mainland.
- If you love flowers and orchids, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens is a must-visit shop. Plus, it has a pressed penny machine!