Jurassic Park is one of the most epic movies of our generation and it’s approaching its 30th year anniversary in 2023.
One of the coolest parts about this film is that you can still visit a lot of the filming locations if you ever make your way to Hawaii.
And many of these locations are pretty epic in their own right.
When visiting these spots, you’ll soar over vast canyons, off-road into lush jungle terrain, scramble along muddy cliff sides, and other times, just casually enjoy more low-key experiences like guided tours and grubbing out on fish tacos.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll give you all the detailed information and tips you need to know about visiting these filming locations, since it’s not always so simple to check out some of these.
I’ll show you exactly where these places are and give you examples of stills from the movie so that you can line up your own shots.
Overview of Jurassic Park filming sites
Because there are so many places to see, it helps the first narrow down your island or islands.
Choosing your island(s)
If you primarily want to see sites from the original 1993 Jurassic Park movie then the Hawaiian island of Kauai is where you want to be.
Because that is where the vast majority of Isla Nublar (Jurassic Park’s island) shots were taken.
There was one iconic shot taken in Oahu and a couple of helicopter shots in Maui but for the most part Kauai is THE island for Jurassic Park movie destinations.
If you’re only spending time in Honolulu/Waikiki but still interested in Jurassic Park sites, you’ll be able to see a lot of Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sites in Oahu. I cover those in my detailed Jurassic World article.
However, this post is focused on Jurassic Park, so I will assume that is where your focus is now.
Choosing your sites
Here is a list of all of the Jurassic Park sites in this article.
I’ve organized them by location, access, price, and estimated time needed to visit and get your shots.
For access, “Public” just means that you can drive up/Uber to the spot.
Also, “free” means that you can visit/get your photos without having to pay but you may have the option to pay for additional things like food or tours.
|Limahuli Garden||Kauai||Public||Free||10 min|
|Hoopii Falls||Kauai||Hiking||Free||1.5 to 2hrs|
|Al Pastor Tacos||Kauai||Public||Free||30 min|
|Jurassic Falls||Kauai||Helicopter||$$$||2 hrs|
|Jurassic Gates and T-Rex Paddock||Kauai||Hiking or 4X4||Free||2 to 5 hrs|
|Olokele Canyon||Kauai||Helicopter||$$$||2 hrs|
|Allerton Garden||Kauai||Tour Needed||$$||3 hrs|
|Nāwiliwili Bay (Jetty)||Kauai||Public||Free||30 min|
|Kauai Beach Club||Kauai||Public||Free||30 min|
|Jurassic Kahili Ranch||Kauai||Roadside view||Free||5 min|
|Valley House Plantation Estate||Kauai||No entry||N/A||N/A|
|Kualoa Ranch||Oahu||Tour Needed||$$||3hrs|
|Jurassic Rock||Maui||Helicopter||$$$||2 hrs|
If you’re strictly focused on the island of Kauai then my recommendation would be to go for this shortlist of sites:
- Allerton Garden
- Limahuli Garden
- Hoopi Falls
- Jurassic Falls
- Al Pastor Tacos
- Jurassic Gates/T-rex Paddock
- Storm Jetty/Marriott
You could visit all of those shortlist sites in 2 to 3 days depending on how willing you are to stuff your schedule and how much of a priority you want to give Jurassic Park sites during your time in Hawaii.
However, you might want to give yourself 3 to 5 days because you never know how the weather might play out and chances are you’ll want to do some other non-Jurassic Park related things.
One thing you want to think about beforehand is what helicopter tours (if any) you will do.
Olokele Canyon is left off the shortlist because otherwise the list would require you to do two helicopter rides (Jurassic Falls and Olokele Canyon).
Two helicopter rides might be doable for you on a “spare no expense” tour but keep in mind that both of those two helicopter tours are doors-on which means that you’ll maybe have to deal with glares in your photos and videos.
Personally, we opted to do one doors-on tour to Jurassic Falls and then a doors-off tour where we were able to view Olokele Canyon (just not land on it).
Jurassic Park filming sites map
If you are a map person, here is a map of all the Jurassic Park filming locations:
Jurassic Park film sites in Hawaii
Limahuli Garden (Kauai)
The very beginning of Jurassic Park opens up with a dark and somewhat terrifying scene of a Jurassic Park gatekeeper getting viciously eaten by a hungry velociraptor after a botched transfer — the infamous “shoot herrr!” scene.
Later on, we see Dr. Grant visit the raptor paddock in the daytime as they feed another hungry raptor its lunch.
And finally, Ellie and Muldoon walk past this paddock later on in the movie.
All of the raptor paddock scenes were filmed at Limahuli Garden, part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which is located on the north side of the island. Specifically, the visitor center occupies the same space that the raptor paddock occupied.
Here are the movie stills:
The mountain ridges in the background of the scene below are the giveaway as to where this location is and you can line up your shot by referring to those.
Here is the shot we got which lines up pretty well.
You don’t actually have to book a tour or pay anything to visit the visitor center but you do need to proceed through the entrance gate to get there.
If you are visiting when the establishment is closed you can park on the side of the road nearby and just walk in.
Just make sure that you walk to the actual visitor center and that you don’t get it confused with one of the buildings out in front which don’t quite line up with the shot.
About those raptors… Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are three times their actual size. But during the movie’s creation, paleontologists discovered a new, much larger raptor called the “Utahraptor” which was about the same exact size as the raptors in the movie.
Hoopii Falls (Kauai)
Towards the beginning of the movie, Donald Gennaro, the lawyer sent to inspect Jurassic Park, is pulled across a stream to the Mano De Dios Amber Mine, where he seeks to get information on Dr. Grant related to the park’s upcoming inspection.
Both the stream he is pulled across and the amber mine where they discover dino DNA are found at the same spot at Hoopii Falls.
You’ll need to bust out your hiking skills to get to the spot.
It’s not a very difficult hike but there are some relatively steep sections on this 2.5 to 3 mile hike.
I would rate the hike as an easy to moderate hike and if you want some tips on how to get there I put together a detailed guide on how to hike to the falls.
The flow of the waterfall is a little bit different these days so the backdrop doesn’t look exactly the same but if you focus on the rocks on the ledge, you can line your shot up.
(Sadly, the mine cave does not really exist.)
Al Pastor Tacos (Kauai)
When Dennis Nedry and Dr. Lewis Dodgson were meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica to discuss the terms of their clandestine arrangement where Nedry would hand over InGen’s valuable dino DNA, it takes place here.
(By the way, San Jose, Costa Rica is definitely NOT located on the coast.)
Today, there are various food trucks including Al Pastor Tacos which occupy the space. We tried the fish tacos which were very solid but you also have some other great options like Chicken in A Barrel located next door.
It’s a little bit difficult to line up the shot because trees can obviously change shape after 30 years and you’re dealing with some other structures like a portable toilet in the way.
But if you take a little bit of time you’ll see that the three trees in the background match the shot and that it’s very possible to line up the frame.
On our visit, parked cars were where the table was but we still got a good shot of the background.
The other shot from the movie shows a building in the background but that building is no longer there and was replaced by a furniture building.
Did you know? When Nedry is shouting out “Dodgson! We‘ve got Dodgson here!” It’s because Nedry was secretly recording the encounter and wanted to have evidence to blackmail Dodgson.
Jurassic Falls (Kauai)
When Dr. Grant and others arrive via helicopter on Isla Nublar they zoom through steep canyons and then erratically touchdown at the base of Jurassic Falls.
It’s one of the most epic scenes of the movie and you can actually book a helicopter tour that will land you very close to where they landed.
You then have the opportunity to stand at the base of the Manawaiopuna Falls aka Jurassic Falls and re-enact a few different shots from the movie. We did the tour which runs about $360 and you can read all about it here.
In a nutshell, it’s an awesome way to experience this Jurassic Park related site but if you get stuck in the back row, especially in one of the two middle seats, your views are very limited which can make it harder to enjoy.
Foreshadowing? When they are landing at the waterfall and Dr. Grant struggles to buckle his seatbelt because he has two “female” buckles, it’s said that this is foreshadowing nature “finding its way” to reproduce with all female dinosaurs.
Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve (Kauai)
The Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve is home to two absolutely iconic scenes: the Jurassic Park Gates and the T-Rex Paddock
When the two Ford Explorers first enter Jurassic Park they make their way into the park through the ginormous wooden doors which prompts Ian Malcolm’s memorable line, “What do they got in there? King Kong?”
You can hike to this legendary spot or you can simply off-road which should be the way that I would recommend. There’s just something that feels special about taking a trip through this remote jungle terrain in a 4X4.
I did a detailed write up on visiting both of these destinations so I would suggest for you to check that out to get more information (including helpful GPS waypoints).
Out of all of the Jurassic Park sites we visited, I probably enjoyed this one the most just because it felt so secluded out in the jungle and it took a little bit of adventuring to get there.
When you visit the spot at the gate there are two poles that supposedly mark the location of the gates. But it’s disputed that these are in the right position and the correct spot might actually be a few hundred feet farther down.
About 45 minutes into the movie, the tour takes them by the tyrannosaurus paddock where the staff of Jurassic Park tries to lure out the dinosaur with a sacrificial goat that pops up from below.
The T-Rex Paddock is about a mile past where the Jurassic Park Gates poles are located and the good thing about this location is it’s very easy to lineup where the shot was taken.
Did you know? The Tyrannosaurus’ roars consisted of a mixture of of dog, penguin, tiger, alligator, and elephant sounds.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous this is also where the trail begins to the Blue Hole which takes you up close to the Weeping Wall, an amazing site full of waterfalls.
It’s an all-day event though and it will require you to get wet and navigate river crossings so don’t take that challenge too lightly.
Olokele Canyon (Kauai)
After avoiding a Gallimimus stampede, Dr. Grant and the kids are making their way back to the visitor center and they stumble upon a large electrical fence.
Rather than fit the kids through the gaps in the fence that surely they could fit through they choose to climb. And unfortunately for little Timmy, he is stuck on the fence when they were rebooting the power and he gets electrocuted.
That entire scene, which I believe was done on the first day of filming, was filmed on top of a ridge in Olokele Canyon.
This is on private property but you can take a (doors-on) helicopter tour that actually lands at this location and get access that way.
We opted to just view it from a doors off helicopter tour since we were already doing the Jurassic Falls tour which is also doors on.
If you’re doing the Jurassic Falls helicopter tour then you can probably get a glimpse of Olokele Canyon, although you might not be able to see exactly where that spot was filmed.
We also did a hike in Waimea Canyon which gave us a partial view of where they filmed the scene but I don’t think you can see the actual spot because it is behind a large ridge.
Allerton Garden (Kauai)
Allerton Garden, also a part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, is a must for Jurassic Park fans because it’s home to several different scenes from the movie.
If you do a tour here, you can see the sights from the following scenes:
- Discovery of raptor eggs
- Clever girl scene
- Run to the emergency shelter
- Dilophosaurus paddock
The most recognizable shot from Allerton Garden is probably the discovery of the raptor eggs by Dr. Grant.
He discovers these hatched eggs inside a nest in some impressive fig tree roots as he realizes that life, indeed, does find a way.
You can check out this exact location by doing a tour of Allerton Garden which is a pretty worthwhile attraction.
They offer several different types of tours but my recommendation would be to do the Allerton Garden sunset tour because that is one of the tours that allows you to cruise around at sunset in a Jurassic Park golf cart for a little bit. Read about my experience with that tour here.
The infamous “clever girl” scene also takes place here. It was shot at the spot where there is a mermaid water feature that you will surely see on one of your tours. (It’s right by the fig trees.)
On the other side of the mermaid water feature, there’s an open grassy area which is where Ellie was making her best limping effort to get to the maintenance shed.
I also read that right next to the fig trees is where the Dilophosaurus paddock was.
When you are standing next to the fig trees you can look across the stream and you will see a dirt road and that is the road that the Explorers were driving on when they shot that scene.
I tried to line up trees from that shot but I wasn’t able to find anything that seemed like a direct match, though a couple of trees came close.
Like I said, I’d recommend doing the sunset tour which comes with a dinner and lets you cruise around in a Jurassic Park golf cart.
There’s also a worker at Allerton Garden (Pat?) who has been working there since the late 1980s.
She was there during the filming of Jurassic Park and had some cool stories to share about what it was like to be there.
I’d definitely spend some time talking to her if you get the chance.
Nāwiliwili Bay Jetty (Kauai)
While they were filming Jurassic Park on Kauai in 1992 and only one day away from completion, Hurricane Iniki blew through and it was a doozy.
Initially, it looked like it was going to head west past Hawaii but at the last second it took a quick turn north directly towards Kauai, making landfall on September 11th.
It’s still the most powerful hurricane to ever hit Hawaii in recorded history and it struck during El Nino allowing it to intensify to unprecedented levels.
When hurricane Iniki blew through, director Steven Spielberg took advantage of that opportunity to film some actual storm footage that he used in the movie.
It’s a really short scene but at around 54 minutes into the film you can see large waves crashing into a jetty.
I believe these shots were filmed from Kalapaki Beach outside of the Marriott Kauai Beach Club.
If you drive around the Marriott Kauai Beach Club area you’ll be able to easily see the jetty.
If you can’t access the beach, a good way to get a good view is to head over to where the Kuki’i Point Lighthouse is located, at the end of the golf course.
The public has access to some stairs right at the edge of the golf course and you can walk down to a rocky area where you have some pretty impressive views.
This is a great way to get the jetty shots if you don’t have a super powerful telephoto lens because it is much closer than the beach is to the jetty.
Chickens on the loose. When you visit Kauai you’ll no doubt be surprised at how many wild chickens you encounter. Some speculate these chickens are descendants of birds that escaped after Iniki blew coops wide open.
Marriott’ Kauai Beach Club (Kauai)
The jetty in front of this hotel was featured in the movie but the hotel itself was not. Still, this is an interesting site for true Jurassic Park fans.
When Hurricane Iniki blew through, the production crew decided to ride it out at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club where they were already staying during their three weeks of production. (The hotel went by a different name back then.)
Specifically, they held up in the hotel’s ballroom with catering, back-up generators, and all of that movie set equipment that could come in handy when trying to ride out a hurricane.
At one point they even put a harness on someone so that he could step outside and check the latest weather conditions on his radio.
There’s some video footage from the hurricane that shows them wandering the premises and hanging out in the ballroom so it was easy to verify this hotel.
The strong wind gusts from the hurricane, which reportedly hit over 200 mph, did some damage to the ballroom as water was finding its way in.
But it seems that for the most part the ballroom held up pretty well and everybody was safe inside.
Everyone from the crew passed time a little bit differently and Spielberg spent some of his time telling the kids ghost stories (one could only imagine how vivid those were).
Apparently Richard Attenborough (Dr. Hammond) slept through the hurricane and when questioned by Spielberg as to how he did it, he famously said “My boy, I survived the Blitz.”
As long as the hotel ballroom is not being used for some type of event you should be able to get a glimpse of it.
To put the ultimate cap on our Jurassic Park experience we decided to stay at the Marriott Kauai Beach Club for two nights.
It wasn’t the most impressive hotel stay but it was super cool to spend a couple of nights in the same location that the 100+ person crew did during filming.
Jurassic Kahili Ranch (Kauai)
When Dr. Hammond first brings everyone to Jurassic Park they swerve down the hillside in Jeeps and then stumble across a brachiosaurus who promptly does an impressive (but unnecessary?) stand up move to get some grub off a tree.
Soon after that we see a herd of dinosaurs hanging out by a pond and the reality of Jurassic Park starts to sink in for the paleontologists.
Both of those scenes were shot somewhere on the Jurassic Kahili Ranch.
Unless you are able to obtain special access which appears to be ridiculously difficult, you’ll only be able to view this site from the roadside.
I don’t think you can actually see any of the sites that were used in the film from the roadside but you can still get a good glimpse of the property which is pretty beautiful and looks similar to what is in the movie.
Valley House Plantation Estate (Kauai)
The Jurassic Park visitor center that appears multiple times in the film was located at the Valley House Plantation Estate.
It only existed as a façade though because all of the interior shots were done in studio.
This is probably the most confusing site to me.
It’s difficult to find a verified address and the address I did find online brought me to a location that did not seem like it was the entrance to a plantation estate though maybe it was super hidden?
Regardless, it’s all private property and they don’t appear to be open to visitors of any kind so I would not count on making a visit to this place.
Other shots filmed at this site include: the sick triceratops, the emergency bunker, and whenever Dr. Grant and Ellie reunite.
Kualoa Ranch (Oahu)
Kualoa Ranch is where many blockbuster films have been shot over the years and it’s essentially Hollywood’s Hawaii backlot.
It’s got several Jurassic World scenes located throughout the property that you can check out on the Jurassic Adventure Tour which we did and thoroughly enjoyed.
But there was one scene from Jurassic Park shot at this location, too.
Because of the hurricane blowing through Kauai, the producers had to move locations at the last minute and that’s why the Gallimimus stampede scene was shot at Kualoa Ranch in Oahu.
It’s the “they’re flocking this way” scene where Dr. Grant and the kids run behind a large piece of driftwood to hide during the stampede before a T-Rex comes on the scene to pick off a Gallimimus.
If you do the Jurassic tour, you’ll stop at a driftwood spot which is where the trio hid for cover during the stampede.
The buzzkill is that the original piece of wood used in the film is no longer there because dead wood has a tendency to rot pretty quickly in such a tropical climate.
But you can still pose for some cool photos at that spot.
It’s a little difficult to line up the background exactly the way it was behind the log but it’s still really cool to check out that spot.
Jurassic Rock (Maui)
When the team is first arriving at Jurassic Park, they fly past an iconic rock, Keōpuka Rock, located off the shore which is now referred to as “Jurassic Rock.”
This is located off the coast of Maui and I believe you can get helicopter tours to take you to it.
Also, the following shots when the helicopter zipping through steep canyon walls were also done here in Honokohau Valley along with a shot of Honokohau Falls. I suspect you can see those by helicopter.
Some sources have stated that the shots were done in Kauai but I did not see any steep canyon walls resembling the footage from the movie so I think they were all done in Maui.
Lost World & Jurassic Park 3 Sites
If you’re also interested in checking out Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 sites, I have some of the major sites below.
There are definitely more locations worth adding and I will probably continue to add more sites as I come across them.
If you know of any other sites that should be added to the list just let me know in the comments!
Nawiliwili Harbor (Kauai)
When Dr. Malcolm is first arriving at Isla Sorna there’s a quick backdrop behind his boat that is at Nawiliwili Harbor. Interestingly, this is right next to the storm jetty that was featured in the original Jurassic Park (discussed above).
We weren’t able to hop on a boat in the middle of the harbor to get the shot but we did get it from the other side of the harbor near the lighthouse which is also where we got the photos of the jetty.
You can recognize this shot by focusing on the large hump found on top of the ridge.
Kipu Kai (Kauai)
At the beginning of The Lost World, the Bowman family is being served up a fancy lunch on the beach while their daughter, Cathy, wanders off and has an encounter with the Compsognathus that does not turn out too well for her and her family.
It’s on this sandy beach at Kipu Kai that the scene takes place.
Apparently, Kipu Kai beach is very difficult to access and while you can get there with a boat or kayak it’s not necessarily recommended which is why we only checked it out from the air.
Just about any helicopter tour should be able to take you over this beach because it is so close to the airport.
Pilaa Beach (Kauai)
At the end of Jurassic Park III, when the Navy and Marines storm the beach and everybody is being rescued, this scene takes place at Pilaa Beach.
The area surrounding the beach is owned by none other than Mark Zuckerberg but you can still access the beach by hiking down steep jungle terrain to the rocky shore and boulder hopping your way to the beach.
When we visited this beach we came across the remains of a 60 foot sperm whale which was one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen in nature. (Thankfully, it was pretty much all skeleton remains left.)
If you don’t want to hike all the way down, you can still view the beach from the top of the hill at the trailhead.
Dillingham Air Field (Oahu)
Dillingham Air Field has played a role in a lot of movies and shows.
In Jurassic Park 3, Dr. Grant is tricked into landing on Isla Sorna and after some ill-advised use of a megaphone, he has a run-in with a Spinosaurus that leaves them stranded on the island.
This was shot at Dillingham Air Field.
The same airstrip is also used in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
You can get a shot of the backdrop used in these movies from the side of the road outside of the airfield. However, I’d say this is one of the least interesting sites to visit.
I believe the airfield does offer tours so you might look into those especially if you are a fan of Lost.
Otherwise, this is a good airport to get adventurous and try out skydiving if you’re into that type of thing.
Ne Pali Coast (Kauai)
The Ne Pali Coast is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in the world and it’s been used to portray two different islands in the Jurassic Park universe.
It’s used at the beginning of The Lost World when we are first introduced to Isla Sorna and later on whenever Dr. Malcolm is arriving to the island.
The Ne Pali Coast makes yet another appearance in the Jurassic Park universe but this time at the beginning of Jurassic World when visitors first arrive at Isla Nublar and it also appears at the end of the movie.
We visited this breathtaking stretch of coast two times on separate helicopter tours while in Kauai.
The aerial views are stunning but the coast may best to be appreciated from the water which is also the best way to get the shots used in the Jurassic Park movies.
Try to time your visit for the late afternoon or just before sunset for the best lighting on this side of the island.
Jurassic Park is a movie that holds a special place with many people, especially those of us who grew up in the 90s.
It was an absolute dream to visit so many of these places and also very interesting to see how these sites looked in real life.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Kauai, I would highly recommend you to check out many of the sites — you won’t be disappointed!
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.