Looking for something fun to do with the whole family in Oahu Hawaii? The Dole Plantation is the perfect spot. This immersive experience will teach the kids all about pineapples and other tropical plants along with eating some tasty treats when you visit. Visiting the Dole Plantation was something all of my kids enjoyed.
Visiting the Dole Plantation in Hawaii
When we were visiting Oahu Island in Hawaii we planned a stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation for a few hours of fun.
We had a fun-filled day previous to getting to the Dole Plantation. We started the day at Lenard’s Bakery for Malasadas for breakfast. Then we went to Waimea beach for swimming and cliff jumping. Stopped at the Aji limo truck for poke bowls and fish tacos before visiting the sea turtles at Laniakea Beach. We then grabbed coffee and tea at Vintage Island coffee and some Tasty shaved ice at Matsumoto shaved ice. Shopped at north shore macadamia nut co. before we stopped at the Dole Plantation.
Because it was close to closing time when we arrived we only had time to do 2 of the main attractions, the Train ride and the garden tour. We took a stop at the pineapple garden and then grabbed some delicious treats.
Once we arrived and got our tickets, we headed over to the train ride. We then went on a walk thru the tropical gardens. After we stopped at the on-site restaurant for some treats, then a stop in the gift shop. The gift shop is like a pineapple kingdom, if you can think of it being pineapple flavored it is.
What is the Dole Plantation
The Dole Plantation is a popular tourist destination located in Wahiawa on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, United States. It is a pineapple plantation and visitor center that offers various attractions and activities related to pineapples and Hawaiian agriculture.
In 1899, James Dole acquired a parcel of agricultural land in central Oahu without a specific crop in mind. After considering various options, he decided that the climate was perfect for growing pineapples. Over time, the Dole family expanded their holdings to include land on Lanai and Maui, which contributed to Hawaii becoming a major producer of pineapples, accounting for approximately 80% of the world’s supply at its peak.
The present-day Dole Plantation had its origins in 1950 when a fruit stand was established within Dole’s pineapple fields. In 1989, it underwent significant expansion and rebranding, transforming into a comprehensive tourist attraction. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Oahu.
Things to do at the Dole Plantation
There are 3 main attractions at the Dole Plantation. The Train ride, the garden tour, and the pineapple maze which I will share more about below. Aside from those 3 main attractions, there are other fun things to do as well.
Pineapple Variety Garden. Right outside of the plantation garden, you will see a small area that has pineapples growing in it, that is the Pineapple garden. You will discover a wide range of pineapple varieties grown at the Dole Plantation. You can learn about the different types, and their characteristics, and even see pineapples in different stages of growth.
Pineapple Cutting Demonstration. Inside the gift shop and restaurant area you can continue the fun and learn how to cut a pineapple the right way. They have a demonstration of how to properly cut and enjoy a pineapple. The plantation staff will show you the techniques and share interesting facts about this tropical fruit.
Plantation Country Store. Visit the Plantation Country Store, where you can find a wide selection of local products, including fresh pineapples, snacks, candies, and other Hawaiian treats.
Get tasty treats at the snack Bar, Restaurant, or Food Trucks. Enjoy some delicious pineapple-inspired treats at the snack bar or sit down for a meal at the plantation’s restaurant. They offer dishes incorporating pineapples into their recipes, as well as other Hawaiian specialties. They also have a local food truck or 2 outside that you can grab food from. You will want to make sure that you grab a world-famous dolewhip while you are there.
The Dole Plantation Maze It’s a 3-acre maze with 2.5 miles of paths that visitors must navigate to find the exit. The maze contains around 14,000 local plants. We did not have the chance to do the maze due to the time we got there however it looked like it would be perfect for the kids, especially the teens.
Pineapple Express Train Tour
Hop aboard the Pineapple Express Train ride for a narrated tour of the plantation. The train takes you through the original dole pineapple fields, providing insights into the history of the plantation and the cultivation of pineapples in Hawaii. The train ride is about 20 minutes long.
Dole Plantation Garden Tour
Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Dole Plantation. Learn about various tropical plants, Hawaiian plants, tropical fruits, and tropical flowers while strolling through the serene surroundings. This is a walking tour that you will walk thru the different gardens. There are 8 different Gardens that you will see when you are walking on the garden tour:
- North Shore
- Native Species
- Ti Leaf
- Life on the Plantation
Tips for Visiting the Dole Plantation
There are a few things that will make your visit to the Dole Plantation even more enjoyable.
- Plan your visit. Check the Dole Plantation’s operating hours and plan your visit accordingly. Consider arriving early in the day to avoid crowds and have ample time to explore.
- Wear comfortable clothing and footwear. The plantation involves walking and outdoor activities, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.
- Stay hydrated. Hawaii’s climate can be warm and humid, so bring a water bottle and stay hydrated throughout your visit.
- Apply sunscreen. Protect your skin from the sun’s rays by applying sunscreen before heading out. It’s always a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses as well.
- Grab a map. Upon arrival, pick up a map of the plantation to help you navigate through the various attractions and activities.
- Download the app. When you are visiting downloading the app will come in handy when you are walking thru the different garden areas. There are signs that you can scan the QR codes and then an audio will play that gives more information about the plants you are looking at.
- Enjoy the food. Don’t miss the chance to try some pineapple-inspired treats at the snack bar or restaurant. You will want to grab a world-famous dole whip, and you can fancy it up by having one of their dole whip sundaes.
How much time should I spend at the Dole Plantation?
If you plan on doing all of the activities at the Dole Plantation and you are having kids with you I would plan for 4 hours. We had 2 hours and in that time were only able to go on the train ride and see the gardens.
How do you get tickets?
Tickets are not sold online. You have to go to the Ticket stand at the Dole Plantation.
Can you walk around Dole Plantation for Free?
You can shop in the gift shop and dine at the restaurant at no cost. You will need to pay admission for the attractions that are there.
Where is Dole Plantation Located?
The Dole Plantation is located in Wahiawa, on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii, United States. It is approximately 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu and 15 minutes from Oahu’s north shore. The exact address of the Dole Plantation is 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa, HI 96786.