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Filmed in Hawaii: Jurassic World (2015)

Filmed in Hawaii: Jurassic World (2015)

If you’re as familiar with 1993’s Jurassic Park as I am, then you’ll know that Hawaii is no stranger to prehistoric monsters. It’s also home to filming locations for The Lost World Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) – the second and third films in the series. More recently, though, 2015 blockbuster Jurassic World was also filmed in Hawaii.

In fact, the fourth film covered more Hawaiian ground than any of its predecessors. And while the new park doesn’t last long once the deadly Indominus Rex escapes, there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying your own self-made tour like my wife and I did. So here are all the Jurassic World filming locations in Hawaii you need to know about.

1. Na Pali Coast – North Shore, Kauai

This jaw-dropping coastline has featured many times in the series, but Jurassic World takes us there by the “Isla Nublar Ferry”. For unbeatable views of this rugged beauty, go a little higher with Island Helicopters’ Jurassic Falls Tour. And you’ll be glad to know that, despite our best efforts, we didn’t spot any giant prehistoric marine creatures lurking beneath these turquoise waters.

"The Cathedral" - the needle-like tops of Na Pali Coast mountain range

2. Waimea Canyon State Park – Waimea, Kauai

Na Pali Coast isn’t just viewable by helicopter. If hiking is a walk in the park for you, there’s an 11-mile trail from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Valley. Alternatively, a drive up through Waimea Canyon State Park – our preferred choice – is recommended, as both Kalalau Lookout and Pu’u o Kila Lookout offer intimate rear views of these striking coastal mountains.

View of the Na Pali Coast from Kalalau Trail
View of the Na Pali Coast from Kalalau Trail

3. Jurassic Falls – Hanapepe Valley, Kauai

The Jurassic Falls Tour saw us enjoy a full aerial tour of Kauai, but its signature selling-point – and only landing point – is Jurassic Falls. You’ll remember them from the original 1993 film, and they remain one of the most iconic Jurassic Park filming locations. In fact, they’re seen again in Jurassic World when characters Claire and Masrani fly across the island to visit the Indominus.

A view of Jurassic Falls. Kauai; aerial view

4. Fish Pond – Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Our first Jurassic-themed stop on Kualoa Ranch’s Premier Movie Sites Tour saw us at the Fish Pond – the ranch’s windswept seafront. It’s seen several times in the film as it’s overlooked by the island’s helipad, though digitally altered to include the theme park. The closing scene where the T-Rex belts out an almighty roar towards the horizon is particularly memorable.

Fish Pond - the windswept seafront of Kualoa Ranch in Oahu

5. Jurassic Valley – Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Just like the original, Jurassic World’s very own dinosaur stampede was filmed here. It’s also where brothers Zack and Gray explore lush meadows filled with grazing herbivores aboard the “Gyrosphere”. Scenes from TV series Lost were filmed here, too, and my wife and I even enjoyed a jungle gym of sorts left behind by Kong: Skull Island (2017).

Aerial view of the mountain range and Ka'a'awa Valley of Kualoa Ranch in Oahu

6. Indominus Rex Enclosure – Kualoa Ranch, Oahu

Unlike in the film, the Indominus Rex’s bunker-like enclosure remains completely intact. Here, we stood in the same spot as Claire when she looks through the window at the deadly dinosaur-hybrid. And while we also see the iconic claw marks on the enclosure wall, luckily we didn’t see the Indominus herself in the surrounding jungle – unless she was camouflaging again…

The Indominus Rex’s bunker-like enclosure of Jurassic World 2015 movie

7. Pacific Aviation Museum – Pearl Harbor, Oahu

Pearl Harbor’s Pacific Aviation Museum is of course much more than just a Jurassic World filming location. Nevertheless, it served the penultimate scene where survivors of the fallen park gather in a hangar on the mainland, and where our lead characters reunite. Whilst finding the exact hangar might prove difficult, a visit to this site is a must if you’re on Oahu.

Historic Ford Island aviation control tower at Pearl Harbor. Oahu, is a great monument to the vital service it provided during WWII

8. Honolulu Zoo – Waikiki, Oahu

In the film, children are seen interacting with infant dinosaurs (of the herbivorous kind, of course) at the park’s “Gentle Giant Petting Zoo”. This scene was filmed at Honolulu Zoo’s elephant enclosure. The real gentle giants were temporarily relocated while filming took place, but the fact that a real zoo was among the Jurassic World filming locations added a nice touch to our tour.

This elephant enclosure of Honolulu Zoo was used to film "Gentle Giant Petting Zoo" in 2015 Jurassic World movie

9. Hawaii Convention Center – Waikiki, Oahu

The “Jurassic World Visitor Center” is seen a number of times in the film. And every time we see it we’re presented with impressive holographic dinosaurs and digital displays. We didn’t see any such holograms when we entered this building’s lobby area, but just being here helped us to recall those imaginative scenes.

Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu was filmed as Visitor Center in Jurassic World 2015 movie

10. Manoa Falls – Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu

In a nail-biting scene, Zack and Gray jump from the top of a booming 150-foot waterfall to escape the Indominus Rex. The spellbinding Manoa Falls are found in the tropical mountains of Koolau on the Manoa Falls Trail. It’s a one-hour roundtrip to see them, however, caution is strongly advised due to frequent flash floods and swimming in the pool is hugely discouraged.

Manoa Falls in Oahu are easily reachable via 1-hour roundtrip Manoa Trail

11. Paradise Park Manoa Road – Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu

Near the Manoa Falls Trail is the abandoned Paradise Park. Ironically, in Jurassic World it was used as the island’s “Restricted Area” – the remnants of the original 1993 park. It’s also where Zack and Gray literally take us on a trip down memory lane to the old Visitor Center, which has been long since reclaimed by the jungle.

12. Makai Research Pier – Waimanalo, Oahu

Located on the south-east corner of Oahu, Makai Pier is a test site for underwater equipment, but in the film it doubled as the theme park’s lavish port. The pier is often open to the public and there are some picturesque beaches nearby. We didn’t find any prehistoric marine reptiles here, either, but we did spot sea turtles and there’s even the dinosaur-free Sea Life Park in the area.

Makai Research Pier on Oahu's south-east corner is a test site for underwater equipment; in Jurassic World 2015 movie it was filed as the theme park’s lavish port

These might be the most worthwhile Jurassic World filming locations, but where was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom filmed? While trailers for the latest sequel depict a mainland setting, the film is set to destroy Isla Nublar, meaning Hawaii was called upon again. In fact, we were even lucky enough to visit part of the set in Jurassic Valley during the Premier Movie Sites Tour.

Other filming locations for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom include Heʻeia Kea Small Boat Harbor and Halona Blowhole on Oahu, which will serve as some of the island’s final scenes. However, given the current popularity of prequels, it’s possible that future films could return to the island. And if they do, the franchise will no doubt call upon its true home, Hawaii, once more.

People watching the Halona Blowhole erupting at the southeast corner of Oahu
People watching the Halona Blowhole erupting at the southeast corner of Oahu

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom marks Jurassic Park’s 25th anniversary and will hit US theatres on June 22 2018.

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