In the middle of O’ahu, the Dole Plantation serves as a great gathering place for family, food, and fun! It’s a good 40 minutes north of Honolulu, but is definitely worth the trip; there is something here for everyone!
The three main attractions at the Plantation are the Garden Tour, the Pineapple Express Train Tour, and the Pineapple Garden Maze; my husband and I decided to try them all! There is a package that includes tickets to all of the attractions, which runs $20/adult or $16/child. Or, if you’re interested in doing only one or two of the activities, a la carte prices can be found here.
Plantation Garden Tour
We started off by strolling through the garden, going at our own slow pace. There were tons of flowers, plants, and trees to view throughout the gardens, with placards along the way to explain a bit about the significance of the vegetation. Being a flower-lover, I specifically appreciated getting to be up close and personal to everything so I could take photos of them. Of course, the fragrance wasn’t too bad either.
Pineapple Express Train Tour
Next we headed to the train for a tour around the plantation. The line for the train was a bit long, seeing as there’s only one train that goes every twenty minutes. But, it was definitely worth it! After about 40 minutes in line, we got aboard the Pineapple Express! We learned so much about Dole, including the history of this plantation, as well as the cannery down in Honolulu. There were lots of beautiful views along the way, too: the Tanada reservoir with the mountains in the distance made for a great landscape. From the train, we got to see a bunch of different crops, from bananas to cacao, and sugar cane to coconuts. Of course, we saw the pineapple fields, but during this time in harvesting we couldn’t actually see any pineapples. That’s okay, though. We saw a few young pineapple varieties as we exited the train, and were able to take close up pictures. On the tour, we even learned some interesting facts about the pineapple crops; did you know that all of Dole’s Pineapples are planted and harvested by hand?!
Pineapple Garden Maze
After the train ride, we headed to the Pineapple Garden Maze which holds the 2008 Guinness World Record for being the largest maze.With a map and pencil in hand, we set out to find the 8 secret stations hidden among the maze; when found, we would mark the secret symbol on our map to prove that we’d been there. We started out really well, working together as a team to find the first four secret stations along the right side of the maze. But, the heat of the day, coupled with our impatience and a bit of hunger forced us to quit early. Even though we didn’t complete the entire maze, we both agreed that the maze was really fun and a great activity for families!
Our last stop was visiting the grille for a little pick-me-up. We ordered a Dole whip to share which truly hit the spot on such a hot afternoon.
At the Dole Plantation, there’s a little something for everyone. Young children will enjoy the ride on the train, and adults will love learning the history of the plantation along the way. Competitive children and adults alike will love meandering through the pineapple maze as they try and beat the clock! Photographers and nature-lovers will appreciate the beauty of the well manicured gardens.
There is also a huge gift shop with free demonstrations (pineapple cutting and cacao bean grinding) and plenty of souvenirs for purchase; there are tasty treats, fragrant lotions, and toys galore! And, if you work up an appetite while you’re there, they have a grille serving up tasty sandwiches and burgers, too.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dole Plantation. I will definitely visit again the next time I’m in O’ahu!
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Disclosure**I received a complimentary ticket to all three attractions, but my opinions are all my own. I paid for my husband’s tickets and would happily do it again because we had such a fun time at all three attractions!
Written by guest blogger Heather Young (my lovely daughter!), whose photography is featured on her blog, Heather Hiding Photography.