The garden island of Kauai is known for its rugged beauty (featured in Jurassic Park!), friendly people, laidback lifestyle, and adventure tours. Yup, they like to offer kayaking, hiking through a rainforest to hidden waterfalls, zip lines that rival the Nile in length, boat tours where you can swim to hidden caves, and more. Amazing and life-changing, but not necessarily family-friendly. And honestly, Kauai is SUPER keiki-friendly. If you are looking for Kauai toddler activities (beyond the beach), look no further than the Kauai Kunana Dairy.
Why is a Dairy Farm in Kauai a Great Toddler Activity?
Picture this: a working farm not far from the east coast of Kauai. You can hear the bleating of baby goats gamboling in an open pasture, the squawking of happy free-range chickens, and you can smell the soft sweetness of tropical fruits in the breeze from the ocean.
Besides just the experience of being on a tropical farm with your family, this tour also delved into other local products. We were able to try a product made by a local company that heals sunburns and arthritis. The family at Kauai Kunana Dairy also keeps bees and makes products from local honey (which tastes of all good tropical sweet things).
Education and Sustainability
This is a working farm. They sell what they produce at several island farmer’s markets and a few other stores. One of the best things our daughter realized is that not everything is ripe when you want it. We visited in February, and most of the fruits do not ripen until later in the year. We could see the bananas, mango flowers, etc but I think learning about the seasonality of food is important. Especially since at home in Los Angeles, we can find anything, any time of the year.
You can learn about animal husbandry. At Kauai Kunana, they have several different species of goats. Interestingly, our tour guide mentioned that all the goats are mixed breed so they tolerate the tropical weather better. Plus, I think this helped our daughter learn that milk comes from animals, not plastic bottles in the supermarket.
Make a picky eater try something new
After spending a tour on a goat farm, your toddler will try goat cheese in all its glory. You will also get to try some new fruits they might not be familiar with, and that’s one of the best ways to combat the picky-eater syndrome.
What Will We Get to Do on this Tour?
You start your tour by the milkhouse, and they provide fresh fruit as well as fresh juice and water. Once everyone has assembled, the tour guide lets you feed the goats. You pick up a giant branch (help your little ones, obviously), and the goats come to you. They are behind a fence, but they climb on it in order to catch the juicy top leaves.
Once they have eaten their fill (and your toddler has had 4 cups of fruit juice because it’s fun to use the dispenser), you move on to the milking area. You guide will explain how they milk their goats twice a day, every day. The goats even get a little snack while they’re being milked. Though they are fed primarily grass, during milking they receive grains for a few extra nutrients.
From there, the guide will show you all the herb and plant trees they have on the farm. Curry leaves, peppercorns, allspice, and more all right there on the farm. It made me wish I do not have the superpower of killing plants simply by looking at them.
Next you visit the baby goats (if you go at the right time, see below). This was a major highlight. One, baby goats are adorable. Two, they let you hold them. Baby goats are so cuddly and soft. The only downside of this is that your child may spend the rest of the tour pretending to be a baby goat and you will need to carry them and occasionally respond to their “baby goat maaaas.”
From there, you see the rest of the farm. They have multiple different fruit trees, a chicken pen for the egg-laying chickens, and a garden. After your kids have burned off some baby goat steam, you head into the Farm Kitchen for an in depth look at the goat cheese-making process. In case that makes you incredibly hungry for cheese, at the conclusion of the tour they let you try their different cheeses. It’s pretty difficult to choose a favorite between the passionfruit chevre, sundried tomato, marinated herb, pepper jacques, artichoke, or plain. I had to try all of them so many times, I forgot to take a photo. It’s hard to hold the camera when stuffing your face with goat cheese.
When Should We Go on this Tour?
According to our tour guide, you get a slightly different tour depending on when you go. If you go in the winter, you get the amazing baby goat experience. If you go later in the year, especially in the summer, they have more fruit to try from the trees. We did get to try the rambutan, which was delicious, and I was proud of my daughter for trying a new food. Plus it was fun watching her eat it like a popsicle.
The Nitty Gritty: How do I make this happen? My toddler will love this!
Sign up on their website. They have tours once a week on Wednesdays. It lasts about 2 hours. Make sure you wear sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, and consider bringing a bathing suit so you and your family can drive out to the beach and wash off the dirt afterward. The cost of the tour is $45 per adult, and $20 for kids 2-12. Kids under 2 are free!
When you make your booking, you receive an email from the farm with directions, and your tour guide meets you at the parking area. There is a bathroom you can use during the tour (which comes in very handy when potty-training toddlers).
Final Thoughts on Kauai Kunana Dairy for Toddlers
We have been now to Kauai twice with our toddler, once when she was just a year old. I think this tour is great for families with kids of all ages (OK, teenagers may be kind of “over it” unless they are hipsters into organic farming), and even couples who want a different side of Kauai away from the super-touristy cruises, shopping, and adventure travel.
And if you cannot get to Kauai Kunana Dairy for the tour, make sure you check out their products at the island’s farmer’s markets. Their chevre really is a thing of foodie beauty.
If you are interested in recommendations on other things to eat while in Kauai, check out my post on how to be a Foodie Family in Kauai.