Central Oahu is as exciting as the Windward Coast or the North Shore and it is a good place to stock on supplies when planning a short trip in the more rugged parts of the island. Known as a cozy bedroom community and for its pineapple plantations, Central Oahu lies at the heart of the island, nestled between the Waianae and Koolau Ranges. The area is divided into the communities of Mililani, Pearl City, and Wahiawa. Each area has its own distinct atmosphere, with Pearl City known for its retro style and architecture and is where you will find the Aloha Stadium and the site for the NFL Pro Ball held every year. It is also home to the Pearlridge Shopping Mall.
Mililani is the area’s bedroom community which grew out of a small, quaint Hawaiian town. You can stop by for food here, as the area is dotted with eateries and ‘local grinds.’ This is also the only city in Hawaii which was given the title of All American City by the National Civic League. Waipahu is located on the northwestern shore of Pearl Harbor and was one of the towns that suffered considerable damage with the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Dole Pineapple Plantation
Central Oahu is famous for being the site of the world famous Dole pineapple plantation, located in Kamehameha highway. This maze of pineapple gardens accepts visitors everyday from 9 am to 5:30 pm. A former roadside fruit stand, the Dole Pineapple plantation is now known as ‘Hawaii’s Complete Pineapple experience.’ You can take a miniature train ride through the pineapple gardens using the Pineapple Express Train, which will take visitors on a short two-mile tour as they learn about the history of the pineapple in Hawaii as well as learn interesting facts about James Dole, the pioneer of the pineapple industry in Hawaii. The place is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest pineapple garden maze. Admission is free but rides cost from around $3 to $5. You can also take any one of the self-guided mini tours in any of the eight mini-gardens, where one can find examples of native Hawaiian plants. This is also a good way to learn about the contract laborers who came from all over the world to work on Hawaiian sugarcane and pineapple fields and whose descendants now comprise the Hawaiian population.
The Railway Hawaiian Society
Train-lovers will surely enjoy a trip to the Hawaiian Railway society, which was formed in the '70s to preserve the only-running railway in Hawaii. The Society is now a member of the State and National Register of Historic Sites. The railway is open for passengers every Sunday except for the fourth Sunday in December. If you want a special train ride, you can choose to go on the second Sunday of the month, when you can ride Parlor Car 64 which only seats 16 people.
Those who want to play golf will enjoy a day at the Mililani Golf Club, which has a prime location nestled between the Wai`anae and Ko`olau Mountain Ranges. The golf club was opened in 1966. You can also head over to Waipahu where you can play at the Royal Kunia Country Club, which is a few miles from Waikiki. This the best golfing club for beginners.
Located in Wiapahu, the Plantation village is an outdoor museum that showcases the lifestyles and traditions of those who came to Hawaii to work in Hawaiian sugar, banana, or pineapple plantations. It was opened in 1992. The Village is an integral part of the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park and consists of original structures and model homes built to imitate the homes of plantation workers in the past.
Kukaniloko Birth-stones State Monument
Another place worth visiting is the Kukaniloko Birth-stones State Monument located in Wahiawa. This features an arrangement of 180 stones in a half-an-acre swath of land and surrounded by eucalyptus and coconut fields. It is a historic site, formerly used as a birth site for royal births, thus the name.
The Tropic Lightning Museum
This museum contains exhibits from the 25th Infantry Division from 1941 up to the present. It also supports the education and training for men and women in the military. Here you can find exhibits of artillery guns and vehicles, among other artifacts.
The Wahiawa Botanical Garden
For those looking to experience the abundant flora of Hawaii, they can head right to the heart of Oahu, where the Wahiawa Botanical Garden is located. The garden houses a collection of ferns, flowers, and trees from all parts of the Hawaiian islands.
This is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii and the site of the infamous Pearl Harbor Attack on US naval warships by the Japanese during World War II. It was named such because of the many pearls that used to be harvested in the harbor. Visiting ships during the 1700s also reported large numbers of pearls on the harbor when they docked. Pearl Harbor has been designated as a National Historical landmark and contains several memorials for the men and women who perished during the attack. These memorials include the USS Arizona and the Battleship Missouri Memorials.
The USS Arizona Memorial
This is a memorial to the USS Arizona which was bombed on December 7, 1941 and resulted to the deaths of 1,177 crewmen. Guests can start the tour at the visitor’s center, where they can view a film of the attack and look at the names of those who perished in the explosion. The memorial itself is built on a platform set on top of the sunken hull of the warship. A marble wall adorns the memorial where you can see a list of the names of those who died on the battleship that day.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
This memorial sits on Pearl Harbor’s Battleship row and is where General McArthur received the surrender of the Japanese that ended World War II. The memorial hosts an extensive array of war exhibits that span three wars. This 60, 000 ton battleship spans three football fields long and stands a whooping 20 stories tall.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park
This is a memorial dedicated to the USS Bowfin, one of the US submarines that fought in World War II in the Pacific. The USS Bowfin spans 10,000 square feet and stands next to the waterfront memorial built to honor the submariners who perished in World War II. You can also see for yourself how submarines fought their battles by trying out the interactive guns and torpedoes.
Pacific Aviation Museum
If you want to experience World War II airfare, a visit to the Park Aviation Museum is a must. It contains interactive simulators and extensive exhibits of the Second World War. Located in Pearl Harobr’s Ford island, the museum features authentic American bomber planes and Japanese Zero and B-25 bombers. Ford Island is the largest island in the harbor and is home to an American military base.
USS Oklahoma Memorial
This memorial was unveiled in 2007 in honor of the men and women who died in the Pearl Harbor attack. The Oklahoma was destroyed by nine torpedoes, which capsized and sunk the 35,000-ton battleship and caused the loss of the lives of 429 crewmen, leaving only 32 survivors.
Central Oahu National Park
The Central Oahu National Park is a public park operated by the Honolulu local government. It has a 20-court tennis center, an aquatic center, four baseball diamonds, and four regulation–sized baseball diamonds as well as a four-diamond softball complex. There is also an archery range and tennis stadium. The center hosts various sporting events such as baseball, soccer, and swimming and is also the home of the Hawaii Pacific University Baseball Team.