During a visit to the island of Oahu in Hawaii, I rented a car and drove around exploring. I was in search of fun family activities in Hawaii outside of the resort experience. I decided to stop in at the Dole Pineapple Plantation while driving from Ko’ Olina to Oahu‘s North Shore. I love pineapples, but never really gave thought to how they arrived in the grocery store. My knowledge of pineapples consisted of it’s symbol of hospitality in antebellum days to it’s placement on Sunday hams baked by my mom. I’m a pineapple purist, enjoying this fruit freshly slice or as a singular flavor in a snack.
No one knows exactly when the first pineapple was introduced to Hawai’i, but it has become a profitable agricultural product that has gone from that American symbol of hospitality to a staple in households today. That’s why I was intrigued by Dole Pineapple Plantation and drove across Oahu to historic Wahiawa Town, Hawai’i. Plus, a visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation is free.
The entire property isn’t free to visit, as there are charges for some of the onsite activities, but it is a great stop for families or any visitors to Oahu. You might want to plan on spending most of your day exploring the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
The Pineapple Express – This fun and relaxing train ride around the Dole Pineapple Plantation provides an overview of the history of the pineapple in Hawai’i and how agriculture in the islands have grown to what it is today. This 20 minute ride costs $8 adults. $6 childres ages 4-12. Kids under age 4 are free.
Plantation Garden Tour – This guided walking tour takes visitors through four different gardens. Your guide highlights that various plants being grown and even talks about the various uses of the pineapple plant. Visitors even get the chance to plant their own pineapple in the fields, which really excited the kids in our group. Adults are $5. Children ages 4-12 are $4.25, Military is $4.40.
World’s Largest Maze – In 2008 this was designated by the Guiness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Maze. The fastest finishers of the maze get a prize at the end and also have their name added to the entrance sign. I was hot after riding the train and touring the gardens, so I skipped out on this one and went in search of something cool and tasty inside the Plantation Store. Adults $6. Children ages 4-12 are $4. Military $5.
Plantation Grille -The Plantation Grille serves burgers, hot dogs, fries, and even an island favorite – Loco Moco. There’s also a kid’s menu. I went for the ever famous Dole Whip, which was ambrosia after walking around the plantation all day. A regular Dole Whip cone is $3.95.
There’s no charge to visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and those who love to shop could get lost in the Dole Plantation Store. I know I did!
Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:00PM Daily. Closed on Christmas Day.
How to Get There
From Waikiki, hop on H-1 West, then transfer to H-2 North (Exit 8B). Continue to Kamehameha Highway (99). Dole Plantation is located at 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, about a 40-minute drive from Waikiki.
Bus Transportation from Waikiki
From Waikiki, take bus 8, 19, 20, 47, or 58 (which run every few minutes) to Ala Moana Shopping Center. Ask for a transfer—you’ll get a slip of paper that’s good for the rest the ride up to Dole Plantation.
From Ala Moana, transfer to bus 52 (the “Wahiawa-Circle Island” route) and get off at Dole Plantation. The bus ride takes approximately an hour and forty-five minutes.
One-way fare: $2
Special thanks to the Hawai’i Tourism Authority who assisted with my visit to Oahu.