Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is the latest entry in the Jurassic franchise and a direct sequel to 2015’s box office monster Jurassic World. The story sees our heroes return to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption, three years after the collapse of the titular theme park. But a new breed of terror awaits them on the mainland once the island is destroyed (yes, some Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom filming locations bite the dust).
It’s fair to say that this film is one of two halves. The first half sees to the swift destruction of the infamous dinosaur-inhabited island, while the second is set against the backdrop of a creepy gothic mansion. You might already be wondering how Hawaii fits into this picture, but the first act is actually crammed with outdoor action. In other words, there are still plenty of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom filming locations in Hawaii for you to sink your teeth and claws into.
Here they are in order of appearance. But be warned that there are many spoilers ahead relating to the first half of the film.
Dillingham Ranch & Dillingham Airfield, Mokuleia, Oahu
North Shore’s Dillingham Airfield can also be seen in 2001’s Jurassic Park III. And as you might expect, it serves a very similar purpose in the latest installment. However, this time the jungle landing strip is located on Isla Nublar and not Isla Sorna (Site B) as featured in the third film. Our characters, Owen, Claire, Franklin and Zia, arrive here with several mercenaries as part of the dinosaur-rescue operation.
Another difference is that there isn’t a Spinosaurus waiting for the humans on the airfield (but, of course, dino-danger soon follows). The characters then head to their hi-tech basecamp in the jungle, a set which was built in Dillingham Ranch, opposite Dillingham Airfield. The historic ocean-facing ranch is open to visitors, where you can enjoy horseback riding, surfing, hiking and parasailing. It might be best not to watch Jurassic Park III if the latter interests you, though…
Papailoa Beach, Haleiwa, Oahu
Our characters’ touchdown on the island is at first terror-free (but later there’s lots of running and screaming). However, as they must pass through the abandoned Jurassic World Main Street, their return journey into the park is not without a blend of nostalgia and chills. The plaza, devastated by the previous film’s climactic dinosaur battle, is now overgrown with twisting jungle roots. It has been reclaimed by nature – or “life has found a way”.
For 2015’s Jurassic World, the Main Street set was filmed in New Orleans’ abandoned Six Flags theme park. But this time the rundown version was built at Papailoa Beach (known also as Police Beach), which was seen in TV Series Lost. The mountains you see in the background, on the other hand, are actually those of Kualoa Ranch that overlook the ranch’s Fish Pond. In fact, the same technique was applied in the previous movie during all Main Street shots.
He’eia State Park, Kaneohe, Oahu
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom takes place mostly indoors for its last half, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of jungle scenes beforehand. While Claire and Franklin are inside a bunker trying to restore the park’s online dinosaur tracking system, Owen is looking for Blue in the jungle – the raptor he trained from birth. This is the only time the film spends time deep in the jungle, but it’s filled with lots of action involving Owen, Blue, mercenaries and flowing lava, nonetheless.
The scene in which Owen finds Blue is not without a nod to the original Jurassic Park, as Blue leaps on top of the same jungle explorer jeep that the T-Rex attacks in the 1993 classic. The jeep was last seen falling out of a tree in Allerton Garden on Kauai, but Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom’s jungle scenes were shot at He’eia State Park. You could say the jeep has been on quite a journey over the last 26 years.
Kualoa Ranch, Kaneohe, Oahu
Are you really surprised that Kualoa Ranch is one of the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom filming locations? After all, it features in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, as well as other major blockbusters such as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Kong: Skull Island. For starters, the bunker in which Claire and Franklin end up trapped inside with a deadly predator was built on a hilltop in Jurassic Valley.
Once they escape, Claire and Franklin reunite with Owen to witness a dinosaur fight on that same hilltop. But they’re soon caught in a dinosaur stampede in the same valley aboard a Gyrosphere, before they plunge into the ocean. In fact, this scene called for the construction of a roller coaster track. Sadly, it isn’t available to ride on the awesome Kualoa Ranch tours, but the real Jurassic World: The Ride will soon open at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Halona Blowhole, Hanauma Bay, Oahu
Fortunately, the film’s protagonists escape the submerged Gyrosphere in one of the film’s more literal breath-taking scenes. They then find themselves washed ashore a rocky Isla Nublar beach, sprawled before a thrashing surf and spat upon by intermittent watery explosions. This short scene was filmed at none other than the spectacular natural phenomenon Halona Blowhole, just off of Hanauma Bay at Halona Point on Oahu.
This scene is easily one of the more majestic in the film, just before things take a rather literal dark turn. And the beauty of it is probably helped by the fact that the characters see dinosaurs being flown overhead by helicopters to an awaiting cargo ship at the Isla Nublar shipping docks. You won’t catch such sites here in real life, but the Halona Blowhole Lookout does offer incredible views of the Pacific and is a wonder to behold in itself.
He’eia Kea Harbor, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu
Our heroes waste no time in hijacking an abandoned jeep to make for the departing vessel, onto which the captive dinosaurs are being caged ready for auction on the mainland. What follows is an intensely explosive sequence, as the exploding volcano spits lava bombs at the docks as they drive. This scene was filmed at He’eia Kea Harbor. Don’t worry – despite all the pyrotechnic stunts, it’s fully intact and you can enjoy water-based activities here that don’t involve jeeps.
Luckily, the characters make it on board, but behind them Isla Nublar is being engulfed in lava and fire, in what is perhaps the most morbid but strangely beautiful shot in the film. It’s an emotional scene too, and could be as much a goodbye to Hawaii as it is to the fictitious island. But then as these films so often remind us, life always finds a way, so perhaps Hawaii could find its way back some time in the future. After all, the dinosaurs always do.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom filming locations also ventured overseas to the UK for studio shoots and the mansion shoots, which served the film’s second half. The motivation behind destroying Isla Nublar comes from the filmmakers’ decision to “move away” from the islands and, much like the dinosaurs, save the franchise from extinction. This is understandable given the 14-year hiatus that followed the critically and financially underwhelming Jurassic Park III.
What does this new direction mean for Hawaii? Well, the second island, Isla Sorna, remains in existence within the narrative, even if its dinosaur population has since dwindled to a size unworthy of the cinematic spotlight. And with prequels and movie-to-television conversions now more popular than ever, there may be hope yet for Hawaii. Either way, all will be revealed in July 2021 when the final Jurassic World movie is unleashed in theaters.
Dan is a freelance writer from the UK who works for a number of online publications. He’s also working on a science fiction novel, and believes the impression Jurassic Park made on him as a child – both the Spielberg film and the book by Michael Crichton – to be the source of his passion to write. He previously critiqued theatrical releases for his local radio station, while his blog ‘Curious Rookie’ remains his platform for sharing film, travel and book reviews. Dan has also visited some of the most iconic film locations around the world, and his favorite destination is the island of Kauai in Hawaii.