As you are touring the island of Oahu on the north side of the island, you will no doubt see the acres and acres of pineapple farms. Here, Dole pretty much owns all you will see for what will seem like miles and miles. All of the pineapple grown on Oahu is used only in Hawaii. With the high cost to export and the low cost of pineapples out of Central and South America, the pineapple crops in Hawaii have become suppressed at market.
Dole Plantation is a tourist "stop" that many of the tour bus companies include on their Circle Island Tours. It also makes for a good diversion and break in what may be a long day behind the wheel. We have stopped here for both reasons... and for the delicious pineapple twist cone. A refreshing concoction that is like sherbet but not exactly. I don’t think it is "dairy" but I’ve never asked. I just know it tastes good and is very good to quench a thirst after a couple of hours at the beach or in the car.
At Dole Plantation there is a lot to do and see, and plenty to entertain the keiki’s. If you are interested in learning more about pineapple farming, the guided tour train through the fields is an ideal way to learn as you take the relaxing 20-30 minute ride. During the trip you will see pineapple growing it a variety of stages of their life, making it very interesting to see how they develop.
I probably enjoyed the gardens the most. A walking area of native flowers and plants, the time spent here was mostly taking photos of things we just don’t see back on the mainland. The colors of the hibiscus are especially striking and vivid. There is also a pretty water area, which on this day had some ducks swimming about.
There is also "The World’s Largest Maze" here at Dole Plantation. The Pineapple Garden Maze is the one attraction or thing to do, that we have never been quite interested enough to do, to pay the admission fee for. It is made up of a number of plants native to Hawaii and is said to be an educational treat in and of itself. Kids really enjoy their time running through the maze, most likely looking for a place to ditch their parents!
There is a rather expansive gift shop here. They sell everything you would hope to find that is Hawaiian including coffee, jellies, candies, jewelry, clothing and your typical knick-knack type gifts like refrigerator magnets and key chains. I found that their prices were rather high and the selection and quality not much better than what you might find at your local ABC Store or even K-Mart in their Hawaiian gifts section. If however, you just have to have a tee-shirt or something else that says "DOLE PLANTATION" then this is your shopping opportunity.
More information may be found at their website at: www.doleplantation.com.