Former Plantations Have Blossomed as Themed Attractions


Reed Travel Features

HONOLULU -- Hawaii has many museums and attractions with sugar- or pineapple-plantation themes.

A listing, by island, follows:


* Dole Cannery. Off Nimitz Highway, west of downtown Honolulu, the pineapple-themed shopping facility is being doubled in size (the cannery closed in 1992).

It also is being transformed from a center specializing in Hawaiian products to one of brand-name outlets.

A second phase was completed last March.

More than 30 retailers are open; 60 will debut for the "grand opening" this summer.

Pineapple museum exhibits remain on display throughout the facility, and there is a free video presentation on Hawaii's pineapple history.

Horizon Group, a major shopping center developer, took over as owner and operator of the cannery from Dole Food Co. two years ago.

Also, work is expected to start during the first quarter of this year on a $40 million aquarium attraction called UnderWater World Hawaii, a joint venture with Tarlton Aquastar.

It is expected to take a year to build.

Dole Cannery is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 4 p.m. Sundays.

There is a free shuttle service from Waikiki with Hilo Hattie, a nearby Hawaiian products outlet.

For more information, call Dole Cannery at (808) 531-2886.

* Dole Plantation. On Kamehameha Highway, on the way to the north shore through the central plain, Dole Plantation is one big store, operated by Dole Food Co. amid its 5,500 acres of pineapple.

Since the closing of the cannery, all its pineapple is shipped fresh (and can be purchased for shipment here).

The attraction features Dole logo items and candies and Hawaiian products as well as a snack shop.

Gardens, with signage for a self-guided tour, feature 30 types of pineapples from around the world.

A convenient rest stop for those driving to the north shore, Dole Plantation gets 900,000 visitors a year.

It is open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free.

The number is (808) 621-8408.

* Kahuku Sugar Mill. Kahu-ku Sugar Co. on the north shore closed in 1971 after 90 years of operation.

In 1976, the mill and its 14 acres opened to the public as a theme attraction and shopping center.

By the early '80s, the attraction had gone out of business.

Visitors, however, still can take a free, self-guided tour through the mill.

The flywheels and steam gauges are color coded as an aid to the tour. However, the mill has not been well maintained. The interiors are rusting, and display photographs have faded.

The grounds have a post office, fast-food operations and souvenir stores.

* Hawaii's Plantation Village. The attraction, part of Waipahu Cultural Garden Park, has 30 plantation homes and buildings, most replicas, some originals, on what once was a plantation camp.

It is just below the Oahu Sugar Co. mill, which operated between 1896 to 1995.

Each building, containing furniture and memorabilia, represents a different ethnic group from the plantation era, with structures ranging from thatched-roof homes of the 1840s to plantation homes of the 1940s.

Among groups represented are Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Okinawans, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, Koreans and Filipinos.

A restored Chinese cookhouse, built early this century, is the sole surviving building on its original site.

Other buildings include a Chinese society building, ca. 1909; a Japanese bath house; a Filipino dormitory; a social hall, and a plantation store.

Waipahu Cultural Garden Park includes gardens and an education center.

Plantation Village is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Admission ($5 adults; $4 for seniors and visitors ages 5 to 17) includes a guided tour, which leaves hourly and lasts 90 minutes. The final tour is at 3 p.m.

The number is (808) 677-0110.

* The Hawaiian Railway Society. A volunteer nonprofit group, the society operates 90-minute narrated train rides every Sunday from its headquarters, the former railway yard at Ewa, an old plantation town west of Honolulu.

The ticket office and gift shop are open at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Departures are at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The rides are on six miles of track operated by the Oahu Railway and Land Co. (1889 to 1947), which ran both passenger and freight trains around the island.

The price is $8 ($5 for visitors ages 2 to 12 and 62 and older), and passengers ride in covered cars pulled by a diesel-electric locomotive.

Locomotives and coaches serving the sugar mills are displayed in the yard.

Charters are operated during the week.

The number is (808) 681-5461.


* Grove Farm Homestead Museum. On 80 acres, the museum was the estate of George N. Wilcox, a descendant of early missionaries who ran Grove Farm sugar plantation early this century.

It was opened as a museum by Mabel Wilcox, one of George's nieces, in 1978.

Besides the main house, with original furnishings and memorabilia, there are gardens, plantation cottages and equipment, including locomotives.

Grove Farm got out of the sugar business in the 1970s, and the company moved into real estate and shopping-center development.

The homestead, outside Lihue, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Admission is by guided tour, which takes two to two-and-a-half-hours and costs $5 (children up to age 12, $2).

Reservations must be made in advance of arrival.

The number is (808) 245-3202.

* Kilohana. Near Grove Farm, one mile outside Lihue, is Kilohana, the estate of another sugar baron named Wilcox, Gaylord Wilcox.

Built in the 1930s, the restored, Tudor-style mansion housed antique collections, a dozen stores and art galleries, time-share and activities desks, and Gaylord's restaurant.

The 35-acre estate features gardens with old plantation homes and plantation memorabilia.

Admission is free.

For a fee, narrated rides by carriage, pulled by Clydesdales, are offered.

Kilohana, open daily at 9 a.m., also specializes in theme parties and functions for incentives and other groups.

Call Kilohana at (808) 245-5608.


* Maui Tropical Plantation. The attraction, located 10 minutes south of Kahului Airport at Waikapu, on Honopilani Highway, has 60 acres of crops, orchards and flowers.

It features a restaurant (open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a plant nursery and a store selling Hawaiian products and orchids and other tropical plants that can be shipped home.

Admission to the store and grounds is free.

Narrated tram tours run every 45 minutes, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The cost is $8.50 for adults, $3 for children.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the attraction offers the Hawaiian Country Barbecue and Dinner Show, 4:45 to 7:30 p.m., with buffet dinner.

The price is $51.95 plus tax (children, $19.95), with a tram ride included.

Maui Tropical Plantation is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The number is (808) 244-7643.

* Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum. Ten minutes from Kahului Airport, at Puunene, on highway 350, the museum is on one of the routes to the Kihei resort area.

The museum, 10 years old next July, is in a plantation manager's home, across from A&B's Puunene Mill.

It features the history of Maui and its sugar, with the emphasis on Samuel T. Alexander and Henry P. Baldwin, who founded A&B on Maui in 1869.

Included are interactive displays, scale models of the mill's machinery, photographs and artifacts.

The museum is open daily except Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $4 (ages 6 to 17, $2).

The number is (808) 871-8058.

* The Lahaina, Kaanapali & Pacific Railroad. Known as the Sugar Cane Train and operating for 26 years, the LK&P has 11 roundtrips a day between the Kaanapali resort area and Lahaina, 30 minutes one way.

It follows the route of the earlier cane-hauling trains of Lahaina's Pioneer Mill, one of Hawaii's four functioning sugar plantations.

Carriages, replicas of those in Hawaii in the 1880s, are pulled by Anaka and Myrtle, remodeled quarry steam engines, while passengers are entertained by singing conduc-tors.

Fares are $9.50 one-way and $13.50 roundtrip ($5 and $7 for children ages 3 to 12).

Free shuttle services, from Kaanapali hotels to the Kaanapali station, and within Lahaina town, are provided.

Packages combining the train with Lahaina attractions and ocean cruises are available, and arrangements can be made for groups.

The number is (808) 667-6851.


* R. W. Meyer Sugar Mill and Molokai Museum and Cultural Center. The restored mill, dating to 1878, features old photographs, equipment displays, a 15-minute historical video and a gift shop.

The museum is at Kalae, on the way to the Kalaupapa Lookout on the north shore.

Admission is free. A 45-minute tour is offered for $2.50.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information, the number is (808) 567-6436.

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