Spring Into Kauai’s Kid-Friendly Farms and Gardens

Spring Into Kauai’s Kid-Friendly Farms and Gardens

Partner Content | Photo: Allerton Garden Tree Walk credit Jakob Owen

For families eyeing spring break on Kauai, its many beaches hold understandable appeal. But when it’s time for a break from the sun, the Garden Island’s lush gardens and farms can provide unique diversions in spectacular scenery.

Ride the Rails

The 105-acre Kilohana Plantation in Lihue offers the fun of an open-air train ride on a restored, vintage sugarcane railway with the bonus educational aspect of an agricultural tour. Conductors point out “canoe crops” — plants introduced to Hawaii by Polynesian voyagers — such as taro and sugarcane, plus orchards and fields with dozens of varieties of fruit and vegetables, including pineapple, mango, banana, cashew, papaya, longan and noni. You’ll also pass pastures with grazing horses, cattle, sheep and goat, and meet Kilohana’s friendly donkey Stiney. Wild pigs join the goats and sheep who rush to be fed by passengers at a special pit stop.

Kilohana Railway
Kilohana Railway

Families can book a 40-minute train ride, including the animal feeding, multiple times daily for $22 per adult, $16 for ages 3 to 12 (younger free) and $19 for ages 62 and over Or make more of a day of it with a four-hour experience that includes the train ride and animal feeding, plus a walk through the plantation and orchards, lunch from the onsite Plantation House by Gaylord’s, an alpaca encounter, a Native Hawaiian forest and other sights. The train and lunch package costs $95 adults, $70 ages 3 to 12.

Kilohana Plantation
Kilohana Plantation

Enjoy Art in Nature

On the self-guided, all-ages walking tour of Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park in Kilauea, kids will enjoy spotting the more than 30 whimsical bronze sculptures in the Formal Gardens, along with the Japanese teahouse, a lagoon with waterfall and island, desert and palm gardens, and shower trees. Volunteers await at various sites to help the curious Georges. Volunteers are stationed at various locations in the Formal Gardens to answer questions. The 3-hour tour (depending on your pace) is $20 for ages 5 and older (younger free.)

Na Aina Kai
Na Aina Kia

Families with children 13 and older may appreciate the light adventure of the 2.5-hour  Waimakai Walk, a guided nature hike that descends into a wooded canyon before visiting untouched Kaluakai Beach, then visits the Formal Gardens, including all the sights on the self-guided walking tour. Challenge yourselves with the Poinciana Maze. It’s $60 for ages 13 and older. Note: All tours must be reserved in advance.et, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Taste Chocolate at Its Source

Lydgate Farms in Kapaa has won international accolades for growing some of world’s best cacao, which produces the beans that eventually become chocolate. Families with children 7 and older can learn all about the delicious process and sample fresh fruit on the Kapaa farm’s 3-hour Chocolate Farm Tour ($135 adults, $95 ages 7 to 12); families with kids 6 and younger can’t take part in the tours, but they can head directly to the gift shop for free tastings. 

Cacao Pods
Cacao Pods

Explore a Tropical Valley

Beautiful Lawai Valley is home to two very different gardens, both part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and reached by a bus ride down from the visitor center near Spouting Horn in Poipu. In McBryde Garden, families can take a self-guided tour of some 50 acres of plant collections including indigenous plants, palms, heliconia, breadfruit, canoe plants and more; it costs $30 adults, $15 ages 2 to 12 (younger free.)  On a guided tour of the artfully  landscaped “rooms” of Allerton Garden, you’ll stop at the giant roots of the Moreton Bay Fig trees seen in “Jurassic Park” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”; the price is $65 adults, $32.50 ages 2 to 12.

Allerton Garden Tree Walk
Allerton Garden Tree Walk

For convenience, try the “Best of Both Worlds” guided tour, which showcases highlights of both gardens; the 2.5-hour tour is $65 adults, $32.50 ages 2 to 12. For a grand finale to your spring break, the Allerton by Fire experience includes a guided tour of Allerton Garden and an open-air luau with dinner at the Allerton Estate House, Polynesian music and dance, and a fire-knife dance. Held Tuesday and Thursday evenings, it costs $175 adults, $150 ages 2 to 12.

Allerton Gardens
Allerton Gardens

Make a Splash

One Saturday a month, Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens opens its Children’s Garden to visitors, who can play in its fountains, tree house and other kid-friendly structures; admission is $10 for ages 1 and older, but must be reserved online.

At OUTRIGGER Kaua‘i Beach Resort and Spa in Lihue, centrally located to all the activities listed above, every day is family splash day. Its series of kid-friendly pools are lushly landscaped with tropical plants and a waterfall, with more greenery all around the resort. Its poolside gardens are also the site of free cultural activities suitable for families, including lei making, hula and ukulele lessons. 

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