Gaylord’s Restaurant is located at the former plantation house of Gaylord Parke Wilcox. This English Tudor style 16,000 foot mansion was built in 1935. While the restaurant does have a solid 4.0 rating on Yelp, we didn’t come here for food. My son, Gabriel, is a big railway fan so we came here to ride the only train on Kauai!
The tickets are a little pricey at $19 for adults and $14 for children 3 to 12 years of age. You do get a well narrated 45 minute “Signature Train Tour.” If your adventurous or hungry, you can add on a nature walk and lunch or an evening luau.
During the tour, Kimo will point out the more than 50 varieties of fruits and vegetables grown at Kilohana. The train ride will take you back to the plantation days of Kauai. Much of the produce that you see grown, on this working farm, goes to Kilohana’s Gaylord’s Restaurant.
Halfway or so through the plantation, you will disembark and first spend some time with the pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys and horses that comprise the farm and second you will feed them! No worries…there’s plenty of bread to go around!
In addition to Gaylord’s Restaurant, there are many unique little shops, in the mansion, including Cane Field Clothing & Gallery, Zensations, Banana Patch Studio & Aloha Spice Company, Kauai Sweet Shoppe, Clayworks at Kilohana, and Kōloa Rum Tasting Room and Company Store.
See the video below for a sample of the train ride. The scenery is beautiful and the ride, at 45 minutes, is not too long. Below the video is a brief history of the diesel engine used at Kauai plantations.
The fist diesel locomotive in the Territory of Hawaii was introduced in Kauai at the Kehaka Plantation in 1928 and proved to be very efficient. Soon Lihue and other plantations followed although beginning in the mid 30’s trucks began replacing fixed railroads. Hawaiian sugar plantations used trains for transportation until the 1950’s when a switch was made to cane haul trucks.