You may never get to the vast coral-reef system that is the Northwest Hawaiian Islands—the protected chain of islets and atolls spanning 1,200 nautical miles is remote (stretching from Nihoa, 155 miles northwest of Kauai, to Kure Atoll, 56 miles west of Midway), and visitation is severely limited. But if you’re in downtown Hilo, you can explore the wonders of the region that President George W. Bush protected as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2008 (and President Barack Obama expanded in 2016). Inside a handsomely renovated, century-old building, the Mokupapapa Discovery Center reveals the beauties and mysteries of the World Heritage Site’s ecosystem and its relationship with Hawaiian culture. Exhibits include a 3,500-gallon saltwater aquarium with brilliant coral and reef fish; the sounds of Hawaiian chants and seabirds; interactive displays on each of the islets; a life-size Hawaiian monk seal exhibit; and a giant mural by Hilo artist Layne Luna, who also created the life-size models of giant fish, sharks, and the manta ray. Both the content and the cost of admission—free—are great for families.