Kilohana Train Ride

Kilohana Train Ride! Fun for the whole family.

Kilohana Train RideThere are so many things to do on Kauai, like exploring sea caves on the Na Pali Coast, zip-lining over lush valleys, kayaking up the Wailua river, or riding a four-wheeler into the island’s interior. However, if you are traveling with small children,  these kinds of activities could be challenging for your family. The Train Ride at Kilohana offers a fun alternative.

While the train ride is the perfect activity for families with children, it’s not just for kids. Kauai is rich with railway history, starting in the 1800’s when the sugar cane plantations began using trains to haul cane. The train depot displays historical photos and factual accounts in a series of posters where you can learn all about it. Additionally, all types of plantation era artifacts can be found on the property at Kilohana.

I have been lucky to be able to take my son on the train every year on his school field trip. It’s heartwarming to see the children’s excitement as they wait for the train. Toddler boys seem to be especially fascinated with trains. The tour is paced on Hawaiian time which gives the little ones time to look, touch and get their pictures taken before hearing, “All aboard!”

Once aboard, the train blows its whistle and off you go. Your guide will tell you about the history of the plantation as the train snakes along its three-mile track. For the children, the animals are the highlight of the trip. Horses, donkeys, cows, chickens, goats, ducks and pigs are all visible from the train. After passing the plantation house and the donkeys, the train makes its way through an orchard abundant with every kind of exotic fruit imaginable, and some that you can’t even imagine! All the fruit and vegetables grown here are used in the restaurant 22 North, located in the Kilohana Plantation Estate.

After passing by the orchard, the train makes a brief stop to let off the passengers that are going on a more extensive hiking tour before stopping one more time to feed the pigs. As the train slows to a stop, pigs come running from every direction because they know it is feeding time. Every passenger is given a piece of bread to throw over the fence. Little baby pigs scurry around trying to get a piece of the action. Snorts and squeals can be heard as they compete for the crumbs.Kauai Train Ride Farm Animals

While there seemed to be over a hundred pigs here, the guide once told me that they started with something like four pigs. Pigs can multiply at an astounding rate and in fact, outnumber the human population on Kauai. Unlike the fruits and vegetables that are grown for the restaurant, these pigs are pets and won’t end up on the menu.

It’s hard to get the children back on the train after all the excitement, but eventually, everyone is boarded and the train moves on, now passing taro patches, hen houses, and finally going through a small stretch of natural forest. While I say natural, it is what you will see today but the forest is not Hawaiian at all. Java Plum, Eucalyptus, Pothos vines and Macaranga, all native elsewhere, have taken over the native forest here, so it has a different look today than it did just a few hundred years ago. Your guide will tell you all about it. When the train emerges from the forest it brings you right back to the depot.

Kauai Estate Kilohana and GalleriesAs you disembark the train you wont have to go far to explore the rest of Kilohana Plantation Estate. Numerous shops and boutiques are located on the property, including the Koloa Rum Company. For the visitors 21 years and older sample the Kauai made rum in their elegant tasting room. You can also take a peek inside the Luau pavilion where the Luau Kalamaku, which is held every Tuesday and Friday evening, and restaurant 22 North is open for lunch. We always enjoy our trip to Kilohana and I’m sure you will too.