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What You Need to Know about Dole Plantation
What began as a simple fruit stand in Wahiawa at the center of the pineapple fields is now a very well-known destination in Hawaii.
Introducing the sprawling Dole Plantation, located in central Oahu. It’s a throwback to a period in time when the pineapple contributed significantly to the economy of the island.
Visitors of the plantation can give the sweet yellow fruit a try, take a ride on the famous Pineapple Express train, check out the pineapple fields, take a walk through their huge garden maze, learn how to identify fresh pineapple in grocery stores, and more.
Tours to the Dole Plantation are open daily starting from 9:30 AM and the site itself is located at Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa. Book a tour with us to experience the historical plantation with your family!
Dole Plantation Activities
These are the main activities you can expect when visiting the Dole Plantation.
Pineapple Express Train Tour
Take a ride for two miles on the popular Pineapple Express train! This train experience offers a fully narrated twenty-minute trip for everyone in the family.
You get to learn the story of how pineapple started in Hawaii, how James Drummond Dole founded his pineapple empire, and see the amazing scenery of the popular North Shore.
This tour in the Dole Plantation has four vintage-style trains available. These are:
- Lady Liberty: The train known as Lady Liberty came to the islands in 2003 and was made as a replica of a Mason Bogey 0-4-4T. It was originally created by Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts. The particular model was quite popular during the 1900s especially because of its ability to run on 3’ gauge tracks over sharp curves and even on hills. Such trains were used throughout the United States for logging, mining, and short-line passenger service.
- Pineapple Express: This train was originally manufactured in England by Severn Lamb. It uses a diesel motor and a hydraulic pump, which is a similar design to that of a bulldozer. Its train and engine were designed after an 1870 model 4-4-0 with tender. It has four passenger cars available.
- Aloha Express: The train for the Aloha Express was manufactured in China by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd. It uses a Diesel Electric drive that is the same as full-size trains that operate throughout the United States. Its locomotive is a 0-6-0 with a separate tender and carries three passenger cars that are also made by the same manufacturer.
- Ohana Express: The fourth and newest train of the Dole Plantation is the Ohana Express, which is also built by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd. In China. It is the latest workhorse of the plantation and drives a Diesel Electric just like most trains in the US. Similar to the Aloha Express, it has a 0-6-0 locomotive with a separate tender and three passenger cars.
Plantation Garden Tour
Although pineapple still reigns supreme in the Dole Plantation, there are other crops in Hawaii that provide a rich combination of the agricultural heritage of the island as well as a window to its diverse future.
This educational self-guided plantation garden tour will appeal to the whole family and is great for the senses. You get to see the fascinating colors of tropical fruit that are just ripening while being able to smell the sweet aroma of pineapple that is ready to be harvested.
As you go through the eight different gardens of the Dole Plantation, you get a close-up view of the plants that are the tropical delights of the island. You can find coffee, exotic fruits, cacao pods, and more here.
Based on the season, you get to see and smell the delicate fragrance of various flowers including pikake, plumeria, and pua kenikeni.
Coming a long way from the era when the plantation was king and the fields were filled with pineapple and sugarcane, today you can find diversified agriculture in Hawaii. This means that the region stretching from the North Shore all the way to Wahiawa is now packed with bright patchworks of tropical crops.
Some of the crops that are planted here include sweetcorn, banana, papaya, mango, taro, cacao, coffee, and flowers. Most of these amazing products are found in the finest restaurants in Hawaii and are sold in stores worldwide.
Pineapple Garden Maze
The Dole Plantation’s sprawling Pineapple Garden Maze was recognized as the largest maze in the world back in 2008. The maze itself stretches more than three acres and includes almost two and a half miles of paths that are made from 14,000 stunning Hawaiian plants.
Upon visiting the maze, you get to walk past the flora that is prevalent on the islands while seeking the eight secret stations that will lead you a step closer to the mystery that sits at the heart of this labyrinth. What’s even more astonishing is that this is just one of a few permanent botanical mazes that are still maintained in America.
Those who finish the fastest get to win a prize and are entered into the history of the Dole Plantation. The names of the winners are recorded on a sign at the entrance of the maze.
The Plantation Grille
The Plantation Grille is where you get to stop by to taste a wide selection of island favorites. Here you can find choices such as kalua pork plate, teriyaki chicken plate, and loco moco.
The more traditional food choices are also available here including hot dogs, salads, and cheeseburgers.
Finally, your visit to the Dole Plantation is not complete without trying out the world-famous Dole Whip. This pineapple treat provides a refreshing drink that will cool you down and quench your thirst after a day out in the sun.
Come Visit The Dole Plantation
Ready to tour Dole Plantation? Besides the popular activities offered by the plantation, you can also find informational displays, presentations, and the plantation’s country store. This shop offers a wide range of Dole Plantation gifts, foods, local favorites, and refreshments.
Before you leave, you can even decide to purchase a fresh pineapple that you can enjoy as you head home.
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