Dole Pineapple Plantation: Things to Do on Oahu, Hawaii
Visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Hawaii
Traveling to the island of Oahu in Hawaii? You should plan a trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation!
We recently visited Oahu, Hawaii, spending time in both Honolulu and on the windward side of the island in Kailua. We toured a number of recommended places during our stay, including a stop at the pineapple plantation near the North Shore of Oahu.
My husband's grandmother actually grew up in Hawaii in a foreman's home on the Dole plantation! I had heard the stories, but had never been to Oahu until recently. It was very exciting to visit and learn about growing pineapples and other Hawaiian crops. The grounds are meticulously maintained and employees are quite knowledgeable about the history and current operations at this working pineapple plantation.
Be sure to schedule time for a tour of the Dole Pineapple Plantation when you visit Oahu!
Why Visit the Dole Plantation?
Enjoy that pineapple in your Mai Tai on vacation? If you are like most people, you probably think of gentle tropical breezes and sunshine when you eat the tropical fruit!
Besides tourism, Hawaii's economy is based largely on its agricultural exports. In addition to coffee and sugar cane, the islands are well-known for its pineapple crops - even though the Hawaiian word for pineapple ("Hala kahiki") means foreign fruit! The plant is not native to the islands, but has been grown there since the Spanish introduced it more than 300 years ago. Today, 1/3 of the world's fresh pineapples are grown in Hawaii
Visiting the Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu in Hawaii is an educational, fun experience. There, you can learn how to select a pineapple, slice and prepare a fresh pineapple for eating or use in recipes, how to cultivate a pineapple plant, and what goes into the planting, harvesting and processing of pineapples from a farm. Of course, pineapple samples are offered - sweeter than anything you'll find at the local grocery store.
The other main attraction of the Dole Plantation is the world-famous "Dole Whip." You can only find this frozen, soft serve, non-dairy concoction at the Dole Plantation and at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In a cup, cone or float, Dole Whip is a heavenly pineapple treat!
The Dole Pineapple Plantation is also a great stop on the way to other locations on the North Shore of Oahu. We visited the plantation the day we visited Waimea Falls, which is only about 20 minutes north from Dole.
Stop for 30 minutes or stay for 2 hours - the weather in Oahu is generally temperate and mild year-round. The day of our visit in January, it was about 75 degrees F, with a nice breeze. Rain showers are frequent, but often short-lived.
The Dole Pineapple Plantation is a "Sweet" Place to Visit
Information for the Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu
Address: 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily; closed on Christmas day
Cost: Free admission. Some hotels and tour companies offer day-long excursions from Honolulu that include a visit to the North Shore of Oahu (prices vary). Group tours are also available at special rates for schools or other organizations, including one or all of the attractions listed below.
Attractions: Pineapple samples and demonstrations (free), world's largest maze, plantation garden tour, Pineapple Express (2-mile, 20 minute train tour) - note that each of these attractions requires separate admission which varies from $4.00 - $8.50, depending on child, adult or military families)
Amenities: Gift shop, restaurant, restrooms, souvenir stands, walking tours
Travel time from Honolulu: Approximately 30-40 minutes
Parking: Available and free
Background of the Dole Plantation on Oahu
Since 1900, the small, local company established by James Drummond Dole in Wahiawa, Hawaii has become a global success. James Dole established the very first pineapple plantation on Oahu, founded as the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.1
In 1950, Dole opened up a fruit stand to the public at the plantation. Eventually, in 1989, the company expanded its public amenities, opening as the "Pineapple Experience." Now, 25 years later, the plantation is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oahu. More than a million people make the trip north from Honolulu to see the Dole Pineapple Plantation.
Dole is practically synonymous with pineapple today, although the corporation distributes a number of food products in addition to the fruit with the prickly exterior and sweet, golden flesh. Since the 1930s, Hawaii has been considered the pineapple capital of the world. Pineapple is Hawaii’s second largest industry.
1Mr. Dole's cousin, Sanford Dole, is well-known in Hawaii as having been the first president of the Republic of Hawaii and the first governor of the United States Territory of Hawaii, following the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1894.
The Dole Plantation Maze
The Pineapple Garden Maze
One of the biggest attractions at the Dole Plantation is the Pineapple Garden Maze! Kids and parents of all ages will love the challenge to successfully navigate the world's largest maze - as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Be sure to bring your walking shoes because the paths extend about 2.5 miles over 3 acres of land.
But don't worry about getting lost. You get a "cheat" map card, and the added challenge of trying to locate eight separate stations within the maze. When you reach each spot, there is stamp for your "passport," to show at the end.
During your tour, enjoy the thousands of plants native to Hawaii. Don't forget your camera and a water bottle!
Where is the Dole Pineapple Plantation Located?
© 2013 Stephanie Hicks