See a Vintage Lighthouse that Calls to SeabirdsKaua‘i
Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge is a regular stop on the flight path of the largest colony of seabirds on the main Hawaiian Islands. Every day, hundreds of birds come and go from the nooks and crannies of the refuge’s cliffs and hillsides.
Six species nest on the refuge. They are the red-footed booby, brown booby, great frigate bird, Laysan albatross, wedge-tailed shearwater, Newell’s shearwater, white-tailed tropicbird and red-tailed tropicbird.
A nearly century-old lighthouse is the focal point of the refuge. Construction of the lighthouse, which became operational in 1913, required materials to be lifted from cargo boats in the ocean and carried up steep cliffs. The lighthouse’s Fresnel lens, the original source of the light beam that guided merchant ships sailing from Asia to Hawai‘i, is valued at $1 million and remains a work ofart. It weighs 4 tons, floats in a vat containing more than 250 pounds of liquid mercury, and is composed of hundreds of reflecting prisms.
The lighthouse, which ceased operation in 1976, is in need of repair, and a major fundraising campaign has been launched to restore the structure. An automated light on a 10-foot tower in front of the lighthouse now handles the light-guiding job.
The Wildlife Refuge is one of the busiest refuges in the United States, currently ranking among the top five in annual visitation. Watch for the Kilauea Lighthouse sign as you turn off Kuhi‘o Highway into Kilauea Town. Kilauea Point is at the end of the road. The refuge is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days a week except for federal holidays. Entrance fee is $5.