For more than 25 years, generations have been introduced to the fantastical and terrifying world of dinosaurs through Steven Spielberg’s iconic film franchise, Jurassic Park. Based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, 1993’s Jurassic Park took us to a fictional theme park where paleontologists and scientists recreated living, breathing dinosaurs. Guests mixed and mingled with a variety of dinosaurs, and, well, let’s just say it didn’t go quite as expected.
The series has expanded to include six films, with a seventh, Jurassic World Dominion, to be released in early 2022. The franchise has shattered box office records worldwide, gained fans around the globe, and made billions of dollars in profit.
While Jurassic Park looks like an entirely different world, much of it was filmed on location in Kauai. Each film has shot at least some scenes in Hawaii, and Kauai has more filming locations than any of the other islands.
If you’re a Jurassic Park fan planning on visiting Kauai, here are five locations you have to see:
Allerton Garden – Kapaa (East Side)
While in Kapaa, all Jurassic Park fans must stop and visit Allerton Garden. Located within the National Tropical Botanical Garden, or NTBG, the garden is breathtakingly beautiful. The NTBG is a non-profit organization focused on studying and saving the world’s tropical plants. In fact, they’ve assembled the largest collection of native Hawaiian plant species in the world.
In Jurassic Park, the iconic scene where raptor eggs are discovered near the aptly dubbed “Jurassic Tree,” was filmed here in Allerton Garden. The trees, actually Moreton Bay Fig Trees, still stand today and are viewable by the public.
The Garden offers a variety of guided tours, including group tours, private tours, and sunset tours. Most, if not all of them, will pass this location, and some tour guides will even point out the exact tree used in the film.
Hanapepe Valley/Manawaiopuna Falls – (Southern Kauai)
In the film, there is a scene where Dr. Hammond has assembled his crew of paleontologists and they are flying through a lush, beautiful valley in a helicopter. This was shot in the Hanapepe Valley, located in Southern Kauai. The only way to see this valley in person is via helicopter. Fortunately, there are several companies that offer helicopter tours of the area, so you can retrace the exact path of the Jurassic Park characters.
Located in the valley is the towering, majestic Manawaiopuna Falls. Beautiful in its own right, the waterfall is also familiar in the Jurassic Park universe. When the first helicopter full of guests touches down on the helipad at Jurassic Park Falls, it’s actually landing here. Some helicopter companies have permission to touch down on private property nearby, giving lucky fans an up close and personal view of the iconic waterfall.
Jurassic Kahili Ranch – Kilauea (North Shore)
Jurassic Kahili Ranch is a privately-owned, 2800-acre ranch located in Kilauea, on Kauai’s North Shore. Full of vibrant green pastures, impressive waterfalls, and clear blue ponds and streams, the area is visually stunning.
Fans may recognize this as the backdrop of the unforgettable moment when Ellie and Dr. Grant first see a Brachiosaurus in the first Jurassic Park film. They’ve just arrived on Isla Nubar and are hopeful and curious about what is about to unfold.
Jurassic Kahili Ranch is sometimes open to the public via a Hike & Explore package, but this is sporadic. If you’d like to see the grounds, your best bet is to call or email the ranch to get an update on their current visitor policy.
Hoopii Falls – Kapaa (East Side)
In Jurassic Park, Hoopii Falls stood in as the location of the fictional Mano de Dios amber mine. Although the mine is located in the Dominican Republic in the film, it was actually shot right here on Kauai.
One popular way to reach the falls is via a hiking trail. The trail is a 2.4 mile out and back, a moderate-difficulty path that cuts through the jungle and culminates at the waterfall. Although the always-busy trail is public, it traverses private property, so be sure not to stray from the path. Additionally, avoid swimming in or drinking the water. It contains toxic bacteria that makes it unsafe for consumption.
Pilaa Beach – (North Shore)
This last one is a long shot, but if you do visit, you’ll be greeted with stunning views and unusual solitude on one of Kauai’s most remote beaches — Pilaa Beach. Those who have seen Jurassic Park III will recognize this beach as the location of the film’s final rescue scene.
Interestingly, the land surrounding the beach is owned by the Facebook tycoon, Mark Zuckerberg. We’ll caution you that this beach is exceedingly difficult to access, and the rudimentary path leading there can be treacherous for the untrained hiker. For those brave enough to try, there is an exceptionally steep and rocky path that winds its way down to the shore. If you do reach the bottom, you’ll be met with a small, beautiful beach with unbeatable oceanfront views. It’s so infrequently visited that you’re likely to be the only one there – a rare feat in Kauai.
There are tons of Jurassic Park filming locations scattered across Kauai, but these are a few that must be added to the list of every fan. Let us know which ones you enjoyed most!