Feeding the Pineapple Obsession: Oahu’s Dole Plantation with Kids

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?

Dole Plantation with Kids | WildTalesof.com

Dole Plantation with Kids | WildTalesof.com

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.

Dole Plantation with Kids | WildTalesof.com

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.

Dole Plantation with Kids | WildTalesof.com

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!

Dole Plantation with Kids | WildTalesof.com

More on Oahu: 

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17 thoughts on “Feeding the Pineapple Obsession: Oahu’s Dole Plantation with Kids

  1. Pineapple is an everyday treat for us here. We have the choice of many different types of pineapple, one being the sweet Phuket pineapple. I love them all though.
    I have had a Dole whip! They sell them at the tiki room in Disneyland. It’s so delicious!

    • You guys are so lucky! Bergen would be in heaven there–guess we just need to place a trip to Thailand. Does your daughter enjoy pineapple too?

      Yes, I’ve had the Dole Whip at Disneyland too–love the tiki room–so much fun 🙂 And now I can’t get the song out of my head!

    • Bummer! There’s always next time or…you can just plan a trip to Oahu 🙂 Yes, I loved looking out at the landscape from the train–the red dirt was really striking.

    • We had such a fun morning–love seeing how excited my little guy gets about trains 🙂 I don’t know how anyone couldn’t like pineapple! 😉 So tasty!

    • Oh wow–how lucky to have a friend who lives in Hawaii & it sounds like their location is ideal too! Bet you are excited to be planning a Hawaii trip next year–yes, I bet you and your family will love visiting Dole.

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog & for your comment!

  2. I’ve heard so much about this Dole Plantation – friends and family members rave about it but we have yet to experience it for ourselves. We are pineapple fiends – I keep a bag of frozen pineapple cubes on hand in our freezer (since they’re not always in season here)

    When we do make it out to Hawaii, it is going to be one of the first things we’re going to do – any excuse for a Dole Whip (we’ve only enjoyed the ones at Disney World)!

    The train ride sounds like a ton of fun – especially for parents with little ones

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