Guided nature walks take visitors through the five valleys and plateaus and run from 10:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
If you are looking for a place to observe landscape reminiscent of that which the early Polynesians saw hundreds of years ago, then visit Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens on Oahu’s windward side.
Here, you can still find forests of kukui, hala, koa, and ohio-ái, a place were ti and pili grass still cover the slopes and ancient hei’aus lie quietly near streams. Nestled between the majestic Ko’olau Mountains and Kane’ohe Bay in Kahaluu, the 725 acre private estate of Senator Hiram Leong Fong, first Asian American to serve in the U.S. Senate, quietly preserves and promotes ancient Hawaii’s horticultural past.
The garden offers a 1 mile guided walking tour through the property that lasts a little over an hour and a half. The very knowledgeable staff will show you a variety of flowering trees and interesting tropical plant life while discussing their significance and native Hawaiian uses. You can see several fruit trees including star fruit, papaya, guava, lemons, limes, and lychee. Depending on the season and availability, your guide may help your children hand pick some fruit for tasting.
Our son was quite the connoisseur of lemons following our visit!
You will also be taken up through the gardens to take in the view of Kaneohe Bay.
In addition to the guided walking tour of the gardens, they offer lei making classes (for an additional fee of $6.50) using fresh flowers picked from their gardens.
We found Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens to be one of the better maintained and colorful gardens on the island.
The entry fee is a little pricey we felt at $14.50 for adults and $9.00 for children. Children under 3 are free. There is a small kama’aina and military discount available. Also, something not mentioned on any websites we could find...they only accept cash, no credit or debit cards.
There is a small gift shop and restroom facilities at the Visitor’s Center. We found the staff very friendly and knowledgeable. They had a coloring book and crayons at the ready for our son while we waited for our tour to start.
A word of caution if you decide to go--be prepared with both rain gear and sun protection as the windward side unpredictably receives a lot of both. Also, probably the most important thing to remember to make your visit enjoyable--is bug spray. There was an abundance of mosquitoes at the gardens.
This is one of the better gardens on the island and we enjoyed the visit. The staff’s knowledge and willingness to let you touch, taste, and smell the various plants and fruits were extremely enjoyable to our son, and made the trip well worth our time.
Senator Fong’s Plantation and Gardens is the creation of Senator Hiram Fong, Hawaii’s state senator from 1959 to 1976. Upon retirement he set out to create his ideal garden. After a lot of hard labor and dedication, his dream was realized in this idyllic spot.