While we were on Oahu we decided to do another local tourist thing 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 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 sign boards 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. Apparently 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 a 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 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. 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. Hope you enjoyed our visit to the Dole Plantation on Oahu. Here is a link to their website with hours and prices.