Dole Plantation

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Like surfing is in the sporting world, the pineapple is in the world of fruit: an export that is truly Hawaiian. Whether visiting Hawaii for business or pleasure, with family or friends, a trip to the world famous Dole Plantation in the middle of the Island of Oahu is a must.

History

The Dole Plantation has a fascinating history that traces back over 100 years to a time when most people didn’t even know what a pineapple was. In 1899, James Drummond Dole travelled to the Hawaiian Islands after graduating from Harvard with degrees in both business and agriculture. Far more than a simple vacation, Dole was convinced that he could translate the impressive boom in stateside American agriculture to Hawaii.

He began by purchasing 61 acres of land in Wahiawa on the Island of Oahu. This was where Dole started his first plantation and this same spot is the current location of the tourist end of the Dole fruit empire. Over the years, Dole’s influence on the Hawaiian economy as well as his ability to bring modern technology to the pineapple industry, namely canning, helped propel pineapple farming into the second most lucrative business for Hawaii, a title which is still holds. Later on in his enterprise, Dole purchased the entire island of Lan’i for a plantation, earning that island the nickname Pineapple Island. He opened a modern canning plant in Wahiawa in 1901, which was moved to the shores of Honolulu a few years later. This plant helped supply pineapple to the mainland U.S. and the world, but supply was just the start.

Dole’s contribution to American agriculture and the pineapple specifically did not start and end with the construction of his plantation and plant. Rather, Dole was tasked with the responsibility of introducing the fruit into the mainstream American diet. A long, arduous process, this mission culminated with a 1925 recipe contest requiring the usage of Dole’s canned pineapple. The winning recipe, pineapple upside down cake, became a staple in 20th-century American homes and helped to propel the fruit into mainstream cooking where it still stands today.

The location of the current Dole Plantation is in the center of Oahu, just south of the North Shore beaches and a 40-minute drive north of Waikiki. This is where James Drummond Dole began his empire, though it is no longer a “working” plantation, but rather an area dedicated to tourism and the history of Dole family and the Hawaiian pineapple.

The most famous attraction at the Dole Plantation is a maze which was catalogued in 2008 by theGuinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world. The Dole Plantation’s maze spans over 3 acres and has paths that stretch for more than 2.5 miles.

Main Attraction

Spending the day at the Dole Plantation is a great way to break up a drive between Waikiki and theNorth Shore. There are many different activities and attractions for young and old. Most visitors begin their visit with a ride on the Pineapple Express. Through a 20-minute ride on a miniature train, passengers learn about the history of the plantation and the James Drummond Dole himself. In addition, the train travels some of the most magnificent scenery in the North Shore area.

A traverse through the maze is another huge attraction as is the Plantation Garden Tour which allows visitors to see how the pineapple grows as well as experience unique fauna native to Hawaii. Each activity is priced separately, allowing for visitors to pick and choose the length and extent of their trip. The plantation also offers tour packages, group events, and parties. The plantation also includes a gift shop and the Plantation Grille which specializes in cooking pineapple-based treats like the pineapple chili dog.

Why It’s a Must-See

Like a trip to the North Shore in winter, going to Hawaii without seeing the Dole Plantation makes your trip somehow incomplete. More than a strictly Hawaiian fruit, the American culinary landscape is now fully connected the pineapple thanks, in large part, to James Drummond Dole and his planation. Taking the time to learn about this fascinating history and experience this beloved fruit in its natural habitat is a must for anyone who has ever opened a can of Dole Pineapple rings and loved what they found.

Where to Buy It


There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.

Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.

Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from Dole Plantation either online or in person.

Purchase a Tourist pass. The Dole Pineapple is available on the Go Oahu Card and Honolulu Power Pass.