The Maui Tropical Plantation (1670 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., 808/242-8983, 9am-5pm daily, free admission) is a 60-acre working plantation that grows everything from coconuts to star fruit and apple bananas to coffee. Catering to all ages, the plantation is an informative stop for anyone interested in Hawaii’s agriculture.
Some additions have recently been put in as a way to attract a more active crowd, so the Maui Zipline (808/633-2464) and Maui Paddler (808/281-2826, 9am-3:30pm daily) outfits both operate on the plantation grounds. While the zipline is a popular tour suitable for small children and beginners, the paddle tour navigates a small lake and teaches you the basics of outrigger canoe work. Both excursions are tame, although they do offer an educational experience for families who just might want their children to learn something on vacation.
The longtime draw is the Tropical Express Tram Tour ($15 adults, $5 children), otherwise known as “the train.” This 40-minute train ride makes a large loop through the agricultural fields narrated by a driver who is well versed in the crops. Trams run eight times per day 10am-4pm, and while children will be excited to be on a train, adults will learn something about the crops growing around them.
You can purchase crops grown right on the property at Kumu Farms (167 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., 808/244-4800, 10am-5pm Tues.-Fri., 10am-3pm weekends), a certified-organic market. There isn’t anywhere else in Central Maui where you can buy organic produce that’s going to be this fresh. The farm features everything from cilantro to peppers to chard and carrots, as well as the famous sunrise papayas which are grown at the sister store on Moloka‘i. You can also purchase bags of their homemade macadamia nut and basil pesto. If you’re staying on the west side of the island and plan on doing some cooking in your condo, there is no better place to pick up your produce on your drive back from Central Maui.