Challenger Mission

Souvenir Sunday at Kona International Airport

It’s Souvenir Sunday, the day celebrates the fun, inexpensive items you can find  in airport shops.

This week our souvenirs come from the souvenir shop at the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center, which is located right next to the charming, open-air terminals at Kona International Airport.

Ellison Onizuka

The center is part museum/part education center and is dedicated to the memory of Ellison Onizuka, who was Hawaii’s first astronaut and one of the crewmembers who perished aboard the Challenger Mission on January 28, 1986.

Space Suit at Onizuka Space Center Kona Airport

The Onizuka Space Center is jam-packed with hands-on activities that explain space and space concepts as well as a wide variety of displays that include a piece of a moon rock, an Apollo 13 space suit and memorabilia that includes the freeze-dried macadamia nuts and Kona coffee NASA developed for Ellison Onizuka so that the Hawaiian astronaut would feel at home in space.

Onizuka freeze-dried macadamia nuts for space

Onizuka's freeze-dried Kona Coffee for space

The museum is just a 30-second walk from the main part of Kona International Airport and is a much better way for you and your kids to spend your time than sitting out in the sun in airport’s post-security area.

Even if you don’t want to explore the space center’s exhibits, consider stopping in to check out the gift shop. It’s has a carefully selected assortment of space-related books, games and space-related souvenirs.

That’s where I picked up these cool, inexpensive and easy-to-carry fashion accessories: glow-in-the dark, Space Shaped Rubber Bands.

Silly banz space shaped

souvenir sunday pick

If you find a great souvenir while you’re stuck at the airport, please snap a photo and send it along.

The favorite souvenirs here at are inexpensive (around $10), “of” the city or region and ideally, a bit offbeat. And if your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, you’ll receive a special airport or airline-related souvenir.