Monday, August 22, 2016

Kilohana Plantation Train Tour

This afternoon we took the kids on a train tour of the Kilohana Plantation and Mansion. Originally built in 1935 by the Wilcox family, the mansion is a 16,00 square feet 3 bedroom, 9 bathroom home located in the center of 36 acres of land used to grow sugar canes.

The mansion now hosts shops and restaurants in most of its space. The rooms are still labeled by what they were originally used. Because the mansion is registered as a historical site, there are few modifications allowed. My biggest surprised was walking into a shop and discovering it was used to be a bathrooom. The 50's stile tile, sink and shower are still all there - just decorated with beach-themed merchandise.

The house's coat closet was big enough to have a shop in it as well. It even boasted it's own private bathroom - that's the difference between a home and a mansion.

The 40 minute train ride was interesting and entertaining. The guide described the different plants grown locally. Over 90% of the plants in the island are not indigenous to the area.  I also learned that bananas don't grow on trees. They are actually an herb because the stem of the 'tree' does not contain any woody tissue.

Half way through the ride we stopped to feed the goats, wild pigs and chickens they keep on part of the property. There are 5 wild hogs for every inhabitant of Kauai. For that reason there is a year-round open hunting season on wild hogs. They are not the friendliest of animals so we were instructed to break a piece of tortilla and throw it at the them. The goats and chickens were pretty mild and we could feed them directly into their mouths/beaks.

Sugar canes are no longer grown in the plantation for harvesting. They are instead used in between every row of new fruit trees planted to protect them from wind damage. Once the tree is tall enough to withstand the wind on its own, it is usually also wide enough to reach the sugar canes. So the canes are removed and used by bar tenders when making special cocktails.

We saw a variety of fruit trees:orange, star fruit, papaya, coconut and longan. We also saw taro fields and pineapple leaves.