5 Hawaiian Vacation Spots with Jurassic Views
Visit the sites where the famous movies were filmed
More than a decade ago, director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs and our imaginations to life with the release of the hit film, "Jurassic Park." The mighty prehistoric beasts returned to the big screen in the 2015 blockbuster hit "Jurassic World," plowing their way through dense tropical forests, frolicking across vast valleys and intriguing us all over again.
In the movie, the fictional Isla Nublar resort that actor Chris Pratt must rescue from the escaped dinos is located on an island off the coast of Costa Rica. But in real life the spectacular scenery belongs to the stunning islands of Hawaii.
You can experience the verdant jungles, cascading waterfalls and picturesque coastlines you see in "Jurassic World" and the original "Jurassic Park" — without having to worry about a dinosaur attack — on your next visit. Here are five places you’re sure to recognize.
1. Honolulu Zoo: Honolulu, Oahu
In "Jurassic World," the Isla Nublar resort caters to kids with an onsite petting zoo, where youngsters can get up close and personal with friendly dinosaurs. Playing the role of the petting zoo was the Honolulu Zoo, located near Honolulu’s popular Waikiki Beach. You won’t find any prehistoric critters here, but you can admire the zoo’s exotic collection of animals from around the world, including Sumatran tigers, black rhinoceros, hippos and giant Galapagos tortoises.
Although you won’t see any dinosaurs at the Honolulu Zoo, you will spot such fascinating animals as giraffes and zebras.
2. Na Pali Coast: Kauai
With its rugged cliffs, mysterious caves, secret beaches and cerulean waters, the stunning Na Pali Coast impresses all who visit the northwest coast of Kauai. It also left a lasting impression on those arriving at Isla Nublar for the first time. This iconic Kauai coastline set the scene for both "Jurassic Park" and "Jurassic World" — it’s the first sight guests have of the dinosaur-populated island.
You can experience that same view while on an air tour or you can see it from the ground while hiking some or all of the nearly 18-kilometer Kalalau Trail. The trail begins at Ke’e Beach, about 17 kilometers west of the resort town of Princeville.
The Na Pali Coast is the first thing “Jurassic World” visitors see as they arrive at Isla Nublar.
3. Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Falls): Hanapepe Valley, Kauai
Tucked away in central Hanapepe Valley, Manawaiopuna Falls made its film debut in "Jurassic Park" as the backdrop when the helicopter carrying the film’s stars lands for the first time on Isla Nublar. Since then, this 122-meter-high waterfall on the island of Kauai has been known as “Jurassic Falls.”
The beautiful waterfall makes another appearance in "Jurassic World." Because Manawaiopuna Falls sit on privately owned land, the best way to see this iconic movie location is by helicopter, just like in the film. Companies such as Island Helicopters offer tours to many locations from the Jurassic series.
After its appearance in “Jurassic Park,” Kauai’s Manawaiopuna Falls became known as “Jurassic Falls.”
4. Manoa Falls: Oahu
Unlike Manawaiopuna Falls, Manoa Falls can easily be accessed on foot. Located about 9 kilometers northeast of Honolulu, this waterfall gets a prominent cameo in "Jurassic World" when the two young boys, Gray and Zach, leap from the top of the 46-meter-high falls to avoid being eaten by the terrifying Indominus rex. We don’t recommend doing that, but you can follow the Manoa Falls Trail. Approximately 2.5 kilometers from the small town of Manoa, the trail leads to the base of the falls, where you can admire plummeting water and the lush landscape.
Looking up at Manoa Falls, you’ll be even more impressed by Zach and Gray’s escape in “Jurassic World.”
5. Jurassic Kahili Ranch: Kauai
This location doesn’t appear in the latest Jurassic installment, but Jurassic Kahili Ranch on the northern coast of Kauai (about 16 kilometers east of Princeville) did make a splash in several other "Jurassic Park" films.
In the first movie, the characters are awed by herds of towering brachiosaurus and parasaurolophus gathering near a pond. At one point, a brachiosaurus stands on its hind legs to reach leaves at the top of a tree found on the ranch’s more than 10 square kilometers of rolling green hills. You won’t see any dinosaurs here — just a population of 200-plus cattle that provide grass-fed beef to the island.
The verdant landscape at Jurassic Kahili Ranch may be covered in dinosaurs on the big screen, but in real life it’s home to large herds of cattle.