Visiting the Dole Plantation in Hawaii 2023 – Is it worth it?
Visiting the Dole Plantation in Hawaii is on most families bucket lists but is it worth it? Having been there, I would say the answer is a resounding yes!
Located on Oahu, the famous Dole Plantation offers something for everyone. From the world-famous Pineapple Garden Maze to the endless activities and attractions like a train ride through the plantation and pineapple-themed games and more.
Where is the Dole Pineapple Plantation Located?
The Dole Plantation is located in Oahu, Hawaii in the town of Wahiawa. It is on the middle of Oahu, close to the North Shore and it will take about 40 minutes to drive there from Waikiki Beach. Read more reviews here.
Directions to DOLE Pineapple Plantation
From Waikiki, hop on H-1 West, then transfer to H-2 North (Exit 8A). From H-2 take Exit 8 to Wahiawa. Continue to Kamehameha Highway (99). Dole Plantation is located at 64 1550 Kamehameha HWY, about a 40-minute drive from Waikiki.
Your Guide to Visiting the Dole Plantation
Dole is known worldwide for producing and selling pineapple. James Drummond Dole arrived in Hawaii in 1899 to do just that. But, ironically, the fruit is not a native species. It is believed to be an import from Brazil or Paraguay, carried here in the 16th century by Spanish traders who arrived on the islands during one of their many voyages.
But native or not, grow pineapple here Dole did. An entire island’s worth. At one point, the company owned the entire land mass of Lanai and employed thousands of workers to grow, harvest and process pineapple from 20,000 acres.
But there is much more to the Dole Plantation for visitors to see than a history of the great agricultural entrepreneur. There are three main attractions:
The Dole Plantation offers the world’s largest maze to travel through. It is in the world records for the longest maze at over three miles of winding paths. My family and I had a great time finding our way through this unique experience!
The Pineapple Garden Maze
Dole Plantation is also home to the World’s Largest Maze, aptly named Pineapple Garden Maze. This 7-acre maze is made up of 14,000 Hawaiian plants and features bridges, towers, lookout points and more. Navigating the maze can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on your skills as a puzzler.
The maze also offers educational games, an interactive kiosk and a video tour that can provide information about the plants, flowers and sights throughout the maze.
One of the best mind puzzling and Hawaii tourist attraction there is!
Insider Tip: I would recommend that kids 6 and over will get the most out of the maze.
Pineapple Express Train Tour
There is also an outstanding train ride unlike any you’ll find elsewhere, The Pineapple Express Train Tour. This 20-minute ride across the plantation is lovely, fun and educational – and it would be hard to decide where one aspect ends and the other begins.
Knowledgeable and entertaining guides fill riders in on the history of the Plantation and company as they provide information about the whole agricultural industry in Hawaii. Those businesses continue to employ over 40,000 people and generate $3 billion in revenue yearly.
Among other fascinating tidbits, visitors will learn that each pineapple plant continues to be planted by hand, using the leafy crown from a previous pineapple. Harvesting is also still done by hand, an unusual practice in this era of machine agriculture. Along the 2-mile ride, visitors can see some of Oahu’s finest sights including the Waianae Mountains and the ocean beyond.
The Pineapple Express Train Tour provides an entertaining journey through time; as pleasant and educational a ride as you’ll find anywhere. Whether visiting for the day or just on vacation, this tour is an absolute must-see.
Dole Plantation Garden Tour
The Dole Plantation also houses several gardens that will make any lover of botanical exhibits swoon and its Plantation Garden Tour is worth the visit.
There are thousands of Ti Leaf plants, a member of the lily family that can grow 10 feet high. There are over 3,000 species related to pineapples called the bromeliad family and the Plantation Garden Tour offers a wide variety of them to view. Many sport delicate pink and white flowers that resemble orchids.
The state’s official flower, the yellow hibiscus, is here in abundance along with other varieties in pink, red and white. There are other beautiful native species, as well, such as the Koa and the Ohia Lehua, a flower made of fine tendrils.
Of course, the lei flower or garland makes up a significant part of the gardens. Leis were once made of shells, bones and other objects. The lovely pink and white flowers that comprise the contemporary offering make it clear why the practice evolved to use these instead.
Can you just get a Dole Whip at Dole Plantation?
You must have heard the famous Dole Whip, a cold, creamy treat made from the sweetest pineapple juice. Yes, you can get this classic dessert at Plantation at the gift shop. The Original Pineapple Soft Serve is a must-try for many visitors. Not only does it taste delicious but its presentation makes it look almost too beautiful to eat!
The Dole Plantation also has a retail shop where you can find pineapple-themed souvenirs, books and gourmet food items. There is also a snack bar for those needing something savory during their visit. From burgers to salads, the menu has something for everyone’s taste buds.
Insider Tip: Recipe to Make Dole Whip at Home (though it’s never tastes as good as it does in Hawaii!)
Recipe to Make Dole Whip at Home:
– 2 cups of fresh pineapple juice (or 1 can frozen pineapple juice, thawed)
– 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
– 1 teaspoon of lime juice
– ½ cup of heavy cream
1. In a blender, combine the pineapple juice, sugar and lime juice and blend until mixed.
2. Add the heavy cream, and blend on low speed until the mixture is creamy but still thick.
3. Pour the mixture into a bowl or container and freeze for 2 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.
4. To serve, scoop out 1-2 scoops into individual cups and garnish with fresh pineapple and/or lime slices. Enjoy!
The Dole Plantation truly offers something for everyone – beautiful gardens, tasty treats, and fascinating history lessons. Whether you’re an agriculture enthusiast, a fan of tropical plants, or just looking for a fun day out – the Dole Plantation has something to offer everyone.
So make sure you drop by this beautiful plantation in Oahu and experience all it has to offer!
Which to Choose? Maui or Oahu Family Vacation : Which Hawaiian Island is Better?
FAQs about How to Visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii
Enjoy a Sweet Trip to Dole: No visit to Oahu is complete without a trip to the historic Dole Plantation. With its iconic train ride, gardens, gift shop, and delicious Dole Whip desserts, this plantation has something for everyone to enjoy – find out the details. Buy your tour tickets here.
Q. Is it free to visit the Dole Plantation?
A. Prices vary depending upon the activity you choose, but entrance to the gardens is free. If you’re looking to get the most out of your trip, there are numerous paid tours and activities that await. You can either book online until 7:00 a.m on the day of or purchase tickets at the plantation kiosk when you arrive – both options provide an unforgettable experience!
Q. How long does it take to visit the Dole Plantation?
A. You should plan on at least 2-3 hours to experience all that the plantation has to offer, including the Pineapple Express train ride, garden tour and maze.
Q. What are the Dole Plantation hours?
A. The Dole Plantation is open from 9:30am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm. It is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Q. Does the Waikiki trolley go to Dole Plantation?
A. No, the Waikiki trolley does not go to Dole Plantation. However, you can get there by car or taxi or on a booked tour. There are also many tours that include the Plantation such as the Oahu circle island tour
Q. Where is the best place to park at Dole Plantation?
A. There is free parking available at the plantation and plenty of space for buses, RVs and cars. The parking lot is located at the entrance to the Pineapple Plantation grounds.
Q. Is there food available?
A. Yes, there is a café inside the plantation that offers light snacks such as sandwiches and salads, as well as ice cream and drinks. There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs.
Q. Can I buy a Pineapple from the Dole Plantation?
A. Yes, you can purchase whole pineapples or pre-sliced pieces at the Dole Plantation gift shop. You can also pick up fresh pineapple jam and other goodies. So don’t forget to grab some before you leave!
Insider Tip: When selecting a pineapple, choose one that appears plump and vibrant. The leaves in the crown should be lush green and the body of the pineapple should feel firm to your touch. While it may seem like opting for a larger fruit will mean more edible flesh, size does not necessarily affect flavor or ripeness; sometimes smaller is better!
Q. Is there an age limit for the Dole Plantation attractions?
A. No, children of all ages are welcome however children 3 years of age or under is able to go on the Attractions as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult.
Q. Are there any discounts available?
A. Yes, the Dole Plantation offers a number of discounts including military discounts, kama’aina (local resident) discounts, and group tour discounts. Check out the website for additional information about available discounts.
Q. What is the best time to visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation?
Although the attraction is consistently popular all year round, I would recommend avoiding weekends and the peak hours of noon to mid afternoon if possible. If not, be prepared for a wait as people leave.
Q. What else is there to to nearby on the North Shore of Oahu?
A. There is an abundance of things to do near the North Shore of Oahu! You can go surfing and body boarding at world-famous beaches like Waimea Bay, Pūpūkea Beach Park, Laniakea Beach, and Sunset Beach. If you want a more laid back experience, there are plenty of parks, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities.
There are also plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in the area. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, consider visiting Turtle Bay Resort or Shark’s Cove for some snorkeling or scuba diving – you may even get lucky enough to encounter some dolphins!
Of course, you can also enjoy some of the incredible sunsets that Oahu is known for. No matter what type of vacation experience you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone on the North Shore.
Is the Dole Plantation in Oahu worth visiting?
This overview of the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Oahu should give you a good idea of what to expect when you visit – from the train ride that takes visitors through the plantation to the various gardens and attractions like the Pineapple Garden Maze.
Whether you’re a local resident or are visiting from abroad, the Dole Plantation is sure to provide an enjoyable and educational experience for all.
So, come and experience all that the Dole Plantation has to offer! You won’t regret it! Enjoy a fun-filled day of learning, exploring and discovering an amazing part of Hawaii’s history, culture and agriculture with your family or friends.
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