With a serious pineapple loving little boy on our hands, it would have been cruel of us not to visit the Dole Plantation during our recent visit to Oahu. Bergen (3-years old) cannot get enough of the stuff. In fact the other day when I ordered a pineapple-flavored soda at the Mexican restaurant we were dining at, he cried when the drink arrived as (we soon found out) he was expecting a plate of actual pineapple!
We planned for a morning visit, and thanks the resident alarm clocks surrounding our vacation rental, it wasn’t at all difficult to get ourselves there right as they opened their doors to at least try to avoid some of the inevitable crowds. The plantation is located in the town of Wahiawa, which in Oahu’s central valley, about a 40 minute drive from Honolulu, but only 10 minutes or so from our base in Haleiwa on the North Shore.
Truly trying to make the experience all about Bergen, we wasted no time dawdling around, and purchased our tickets for the pineapple train right away. Pineapples and trains: What more could a little boy ask for?
All three of us absolutely loved the experience! Learning about the geography of the region, the history of Dole, and the reasoning behind why pineapples grow so well in the central valley area was a lot more interesting than I anticipated. A few quick facts:
- Pineapple is good for digestion
- Pineapple is an excellent meat tenderizer, so would be a good choice when making a marinade.
- Pineapple is the symbol of hospitality.
- It’s best to eat your pineapple right away as they do not ripen after being picked.
- By the 1930’s, Hawaii was known as the pineapple capitol of the world (thanks to James Dole).
Bergen simply loved being on the train and pointing out all the different types of trees and other aspects of the surrounding landscape that he saw.
Upon exiting the pineapple express, which is 2-mile ride totaling about 20 minutes, we toured the grounds a bit, but really just high-tailed it to the Plantation Grille for a treat. Since we had a big breakfast at home and anticipated a hearty lunch as well, the three of us shared one world-famous Dole Whip. If you are not familiar with these creations, it is soft serve pineapple ice cream topped with fresh pineapples. Deliciously refreshing, and the perfect indulgence on a hot and muggy Hawaiian day.
We did spend some time in the gift shop. Although places like this make me extremely stressed and nervous because of the potential of our curious companion wreaking havoc, I actually found it to be worth our time to take a look, even for just 10 minutes or so. We were able to sample more pineapple concoctions, and purchased a few fun souvenir and gift items for our friends and family back home. We considered sending a whole pineapple (or two) as a gift, but quickly held back when we found out the price to ship!
Info to Know:
- The Dole Plantation is located in central Oahu in the town of Wahiawa
- Visitor Center Hours: 9:30am-5:30 (daily, except Christmas)
- Plantation Grille Hours: 10:30-4:30 (daily, except Christmas)
- Pineapple Express: Adults $8.50, Youth (4-12 years) $6.50, Children under 4 FREE
- Grounds are stroller friendly
- We just scratched the surface on what the plantation has to offer. For a fee, visitors can also tour the plantation garden, get lost in the World’s Largest Maze, and tempt your pineapple taste buds with a full menu at the Plantation Grille.
Are you a pineapple fan like our little travel companion? Have you ever indulged in the famous Dole Whip? Tell us in the comments!
More on Oahu:
- Pearl Harbor
- Haleiwa Getaway-Our North Shore Vacation Rental
- Lessons Learned from our Missed Flight!