While we were on Oahu in December of 2016 we decided to do another local tourist thing (we had already done Pearl Harbor, and the State Capitol) and we visited the Dole Plantation. It was a lot different than what I was expecting. Then again, I guess I really didn’t know what to expect. What I was expecting was the beautiful scenery around the plantation. I wasn’t disappointed.
I had done a little research before we left and I learned that it originally operated as a fruit stand beginning in 1950, Dole Plantation opened to the public as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience” in 1989. Today, they state that the Dole Plantation is one of Oahu’s most popular visitor attractions and welcomes more than one million visitors a year.
How could it not be, when they have activities for the entire family, including the Pineapple Express Train Tour, the Plantation Garden Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze? There is something for everyone in the family no matter what age. Until I looked into going, I had no idea it was such a big attraction. I thought “Wow we are going to do something so different!” Guess not, lol. But it was a great experience.
The Dole Plantation is about 45 minutes from Waikiki and it was a pleasant drive. We got there and had ample places to park. It was pretty full, but they have a huge lot. We made our way into the building and bypassed the store for the time being to make sure we had time to see everything we wanted to see and do. We got our tickets and decided to do the Plantation Garden Tour first.
There are eight different gardens where we got an up-close view of the plants that are the source of tropical delights from coffee to exotic fruit to colorful cacao pods, used to make Waialua’s signature single-estate chocolate. As we walked around there were signboards where they teach us which plants were sacred, how plants were cooked and how native Hawaiians used these plants for everything they needed, from medicine to canoes to chewing gum! They were very interesting. I liked seeing some of the old equipment they used. The view was amazing.
We didn’t do the Garden maze but the kids seemed to love it. In 2008 it was named the world’s largest maze. It stretches over three acres and includes nearly two and one-half miles of paths crafted from 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants. As an incentive to get through the maze quickly, the fastest finishers win a prize and enter into the history of Dole Plantation, with their names recorded on a sign at the maze’s entrance. That’s pretty cool huh?
Besides the Garden Tour, the most popular activity is the Pineapple Express Train Tour. It is so cute and was quite an interesting tour. We learned the story of pineapple in Hawai‘i, hear how James Drummond Dole founded his world-famous agricultural empire where Dole Plantation stands today, and we traveled through the stunning scenery of the island’s famous North Shore. There are some incredible views.
While we were walking about the Garden Tour we saw many people walking around with drinks in what looked like huge pineapple-shaped cups. We headed inside and ended up having a couple of bowls of pineapple ice cream. When in Rome right? It was delicious and we realized that neither of us had had pineapple ice cream before. How can this be possible? I love pineapple and I had never tried this. Well, it won’t be the last time, lol.
We had a great time visiting the Dole Plantation and trying some of my favorite fruit during a cutting demonstration. It was interesting and we got to try some fresh pineapple!!! It was so amazing, and I wish we could have had more. We were tempted to buy one but we knew our bags would be full and we wouldn’t have room. Oh well, we will have to remember this for next time and leave a little extra space, lol. One side note, if you do bring pineapples to the airport you will have to go through an agricultural inspection before going through regular security. It didn’t seem to take TOO long but just wanted to give a heads up. Hope you enjoyed our visit to the Dole Plantation on Oahu. Here is a link to their website with hours and prices.
Dole Plantation Visitor Information
64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy.
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
Daily: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
The Plantation Garden Tour takes about an hour. The Pineapple Garden Maze usually takes 40 minutes to solve. The Pineapple Express Train ride lasts 20 minutes. However, a minimum of one hour is suggested for the Pineapple Express Train ride and pineapple-cutting demonstration combination. I have to say the pineapple demonstration is fun and we actually got to try the freshly cut pineapple. So yummy. Make sure to see one of the shows.
|Plantation Garden Tour|
|Group Tours (25 or more)||$6.7|
|Pineapple Garden Maze|
|Group Tours (25 or more)||$7.25|
|Pineapple Express Train Tour|
|Group Tours (25 or more)||$10.5|
|Maze & Garden|
|Train & Garden|
|Train & Maze|
|Train, Maze & Garden|
From the North Shore (Haleiwa Town Center), take bus 52 (the “Wahiawa-Haleiwa” route) and get off at Dole Plantation. The trip should take roughly 30 minutes. One-Day Pass: $5.50
Dole Plantation has two wheelchairs available for guests on a first-come, first-served basis. To borrow a wheelchair, go to the cashier station at the front of the store. You must leave a photo ID with the cashier when borrowing a wheelchair. Guests are also welcome to bring their own wheelchair / mobile chair. Please note that our Train and Garden attractions are wheelchair accessible, however, the Maze attraction consists of gravel pathways which may be difficult to maneuver with a wheelchair.
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