Oahu – Day 2 – Part 5
The Dole Plantation is a 30 minute drive north towards the North Shore from Pearl Harbor, making a good half way point. It’s not just any farm where you can just visit and see how they grow pineapples, you can definitely spend a portion of the day exploring the plantation. Although you are greeted by (an amazing) gift shop as you arrive at the plantation, there are tours that take you through the plantation, the worlds largest maze, the “Pineapple Express” train, and the world-famous Dole Whip!
We did not go on any tours, or ride the “Pineapple Express,” or check out the worlds largest maze, but we did spend more than an hour exploring the little garden area outside (to see the rest of the plantation you have to buy tickets for the other stuff), shopped, and had Dole-Whip.
Gift Shop etc.
The entire building you walk into is basically the gift shop for the Dole Plantation. You can get everything from the basic Hawaii themed souvenirs to Pineapple themed things to some local crafts. But most of my shopping at the gift shop consisted of pineapple gummy bears, pineapple candy, pineapple covered chocolate (see a theme here?). You can even get some fresh pineapples (to be shipped home to you) – though the price seems a little steep. I wish I bought some!!!! The pineapple we have in California no longer tastes as good.
Everything was a little expensive (a bag of pineapple gummy bears were almost $9), but I’m still savoring my snacks and not exactly sharing. My friend actually specifically asked me to get him some when I told him I was going to Hawaii, and I knew it had to be good. I got three bags and I wish I got more. I looked for the gummy bears at the airport on my home and was disappointed. I got some that were not from Dole and it just was not the same. By the way, please ask me for some of my pineapple snacks if you see me (I’ll have some on me until they disappear), I want to share but you have to ask.
The people that work there are also really nice. They’re ready to answer any of your questions. They also took the time to help me find my hat – which I had dropped.
You can also all of this online on their website. I just wonder how much shipping will be.
At the top of the hour, there is a pineapple demonstration, where you’re given a crash course on pineapples. She taught us how to choose a good pineapple, how to grow pineapple, how to cut a pineapple (using their special knife), and of course how to eat a pineapple. This is where I had some of the best pineapple I’ve ever had (and it was free) – it better be amazing considering the fact that we’re at a pineapple plantation.
When we were tasting the pineapple, she sprinkled something called “Li Hing Powder” over the pineapple. It’s a red/pink powder (made from dried plum) that tastes sweet, sour, and salty and goes great with the pineapple. We actually eat fruit at home with “Li Hing Powder” but their specific powder just tasted better. I also knew to get it, because it was another thing my friends asked me for.
World-Famous Dole Whip
Dole Whip is basically pineapple fro-yo. I’d originally heard about Dole Whip from my friends who waited in long lines at Disneyland then I started hearing more and more people tell me about all these other places where you can get Dole Whip outside of Hawaii. I’m lucky to have it available in San Diego at Lapperts Ice Cream (not far from my house). BUT the Dole-Whip at the Dole Plantation was so much better! I wonder if it’s because I’m at a pineapple plantation, making the trip so much more worth it.
You can also grab lunch at the Plantation Grill, but I had something else in mind for lunch.
We went outside for a little to find quite a few tables outside perfect if you’re grabbing lunch. There’s a big Dole-Whip float thing outside for you to step into and take pictures. Kind of cute – we got our pictures.
There is a little garden where you see pineapple trees/bushes/plants with pineapples on them. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen pineapple that way before. Right at the garden is a booth where you will buy your tour tickets etc. We skipped that to give us more time at our next stops.
As you continue walking down a little more to find a koi pond. There’s a little vending machine where you can buy food to feed the koi and boy is it a site as they’re being fed. There are lots and lots of koi in the pond and they all come out and pretty much fight for the food!
Next Stop: More dessert at M. Matsumotos Grocery Store and Lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
64-1550 Kamehameha Highway
Wahiawa, HI 96786
Location: Near Wahiawa in Central Oahu, Hawaii. About 40-minute drive from Waikiki.