Central Oahu is the region nestled between the Waianae and the Koolau Mountain Ranges. On the northern end are Wahiawa and the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and on the south is the shoreline. Much of Central Oahu is fields and plantations. Most of the area is where once the sugar cane plantations were, but with the death of the sugar industry in Oahu, the land is taken over by the newer crop, coffee. The world’s largest pineapple fields are located in Central Oahu, many of them planted with pineapple for the Del Monte and Dole Corporations.
Among these many fields in Wahiawa on the northern end of Central Oahu, is the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Dedicated to the perpetuation of the Hawaiian agricultural heritage, Dole Plantation is a working plantation. Visitors here can take the Pineapple Express Train tour, which is a fully narrated 2-mile 20 minute train tour, educational and very informative. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of the pineapple and its cultivation in Hawaii. You’ll learn about James Dole, the pioneer of the pineapple industry in Hawaii, and how his enterprise grew from a two-horse farm to the largest producer and marketer of pineapples in the world.
The world’s largest maze is also located here. Officially recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records 2001 as the World’s Largest Maze, it is made of 11,400 colorful Hawaii plants, including varieties of hibiscus, the official state flower. Covering an area of more than two acres with a path length of 1.7 miles, the maze is full of fun and adventure for people of all ages.
Close by is the Wahiawa Botanical Garden, a 27 acre oasis, filled with exotic plants from around the world. Lovers of tropical flora shouldn’t miss this. West of Wahiawa is Schofield Barracks, made famous by the movie, "From Here To Eternity". Schofield Barracks is considered by many to be the most beautiful military base in the world. For those interested in history, there is Kukaniloko. This is where the Hawaiian royalty came for the birth of their children, represented by the giant birthstones.
Along the southern shore of Central Oahu is Pearl Harbor, the most visited spot of the island of Oahu. The USS Arizona Memorial is located here, which honors the over 1,100 American fighting men killed on December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack. The tour of this historical site features a theatre presentation that shows footage of the attack and its aftermath. The addition of USS Missouri, nicknamed the Mighty Mo, has further enhanced the importance of the site. It was on the USS Missouri that the document of surrender was signed by representatives of the allied nations and the government of Japan. Also at Pearl Harbor, is the USS Bowfin Museum, one of only 15 World War II submarines in existence.
To the east of Pearl Harbor is Pearl City. A popular attraction here is the Aloha Stadium, home of the University of Hawaii Rainbows, and site of the annual NFL Pro Bowl. Located inside the Stadium is the Aloha Flea Market, or the Swap Meet as it is popularly known. Three days a week vendors pitch tents here to sell their wares. It is a perfect place to find a bargain. Here visitors can find everything from Hawaiian shirts to tropical plants to native foods, all at very competitive prices.
Pearl City is also home to a vast and beautiful shopping mall, the Pearlridge Center. Pearlridge is divided into two parts, Pearlridge Uptown opened in 1972, and Pearlridge Downtown built as an extension in 1976. Between the two separate shopping centers lies Sumida Farm, which is the largest supplier of watercress in the State of Hawaii. To go from one center to the other, visitors can ride the island’s only monorail and enjoy breathtaking views of the historic Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. Pearlridge Center is the largest enclosed shopping center in the State of Hawaii with over 170 stores, 2 food courts, 12 full-service restaurants, a miniature golf course, 2 arcades, 16 theaters, an emergency clinic, and an 8-story office complex.