As Seen on Film: A 'Jurassic World' at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii
Although you won’t encounter any dinosaurs, you can experience the stunning vistas of Isla Nublar for yourself on a trip to Kualoa Ranch on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Jurassic World — the summer blockbuster film about a theme park where people interact with dinosaurs — may be fictional, but the landscapes seen in the film are very real and breathtakingly wild.
Jurassic World tells the story of two brothers who travel to Isla Nublar to see their aunt, the manager of the dinosaur-themed adventure park that first sparked imaginations during the first Jurassic Park film, released in 1993. During the boys’ visit, a genetically enhanced Tyrannosaurus rex escapes, sparking chaos across the scenic island.
Not Your Typical Movie Set
Between April and June 2014, Kualoa Ranch served as a major backdrop to the science-fiction adventure film, just as it did during the filming of Jurassic Park.
“We are honored and grateful to have both the original Jurassic Park and the new film, Jurassic World, filmed here at Kualoa Ranch," said John Morgan, president of Kualoa Ranch and a descendant of the property's first owner. "They filmed quite a bit of the new movie here on eight different sets. To know that the movie might reach a billion dollars in box office sales in its first month is amazing.”
The family-owned property has a long history of serving as a stage for numerous Hollywood films. In addition to Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, the ranch also set the scene for Godzilla, 50 First Dates, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style, the 1966 musical comedy starring Elvis Presley. Several popular television shows — including the original and new Hawaii Five-O, Magnum P.I. and LOST — also used Kualoa Ranch as a backdrop.
Even when Hollywood crews show up for filming, Kualoa Ranch remains a working beef cattle ranch. In business since 1850, the 1,600-plus-hectare property stretches across dense rainforest, rugged mountain and remote valley terrain that is often only accessible by horseback, foot or all-terrain vehicle.
You’ll recognize this fallen tree at Kualoa Ranch from the first "Jurassic Park" film, released in 1993.
See This “Jurassic” World for Yourself
The ranch offers a variety of guided tours, including the "Hollywood's Hawaii Backlot" tour. Hop on a vintage bus for a 90-minute drive to see the famous Jurassic Park fallen tree, Godzilla's footprints and other favorite movie sites and filmmaking memorabilia from many different shows shot on location. The tour costs $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 3 to 12.
"Whether our guests come to Kualoa to experience the magical beauty of the land, learn about the Hawaiian culture and our storied past, or see the places where two dozen major motion pictures and TV shows were filmed, they go away with more than they expected,” Morgan said.
To get to Kualoa Ranch, hop a flight to Honolulu International Airport. Getting to the ranch from the airport, which is only 34 kilometers away, is surprisingly easy and very affordable. Airport shuttles provide transportation from Waikiki Beach, where public transportation to Kualoa Ranch is available.
Kualoa Ranch’s rugged landscape has set the scene for numerous hit movies and television shows.