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Discovering Hawaii’s Jurassic Secrets: A Dinosaur Adventure for Families

Are you heading to Hawaii with kids who love dinosaurs? Find out how to visit the real Jurassic Park!
This list of Jurassic Park filming sites was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Hey fellow adventurers and dino-enthusiasts!

If you’re anything like my family, a love for dinosaurs and the awe-inspiring landscapes where they “roamed” in our favorite movies has you dreaming of your own prehistoric adventure.

Now, while we all know dinosaurs didn’t actually roam Hawaii, the islands have played a starring role in many of our beloved dinosaur movies.

Yes, I’m talking about the lush, green, and absolutely breathtaking landscapes that served as the backdrop for the Jurassic Park series and other dino-centric films.

Having explored Hawaii with my two dino-crazy boys more than 40 times, I’ve discovered some fantastic spots where you can walk in the footsteps of filmmakers and imagine dinosaurs around every corner.

Kualoa Ranch: Where Dinosaurs Roam (On Screen)

Let’s start with the crown jewel of dinosaur movie locations: Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.

Kualoa Ranch is a must-see attraction on Oahu! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

This place is as close as you can get to stepping into a scene from Jurassic Park. It’s not just a movie location; it’s an adventure destination that offers a variety of tours that are perfect for families.

On the ranch, you can take a movie tour and see where iconic scenes were filmed. Imagine the thrill on your kids’ faces when they stand in the very spot where dinosaurs chased the characters!

We had WAY too much fun at Kualoa Ranch! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The landscape here is so unique and awe-inspiring; it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the backdrop for such epic tales.

Plus, there’s something magical about seeing your kids’ imaginations come to life as they pretend to spot a T-Rex around the next bend. Find out everything you need to know for Kualoa Ranch.

Exploring Kauai: The Real Jurassic Island

While Kualoa Ranch might be the most recognizable spot, Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, is where the magic of the original Jurassic Park movie was born.

The lush valleys, towering cliffs, and dense rainforests of Kauai provided the perfect “prehistoric” setting that captivated audiences around the world.

Allerton Garden. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

There’s Allerton Garden in Poipu that was used as a filming location for Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

One must-visit spot is the Waimea Canyon; it’s not directly a movie location, but its dramatic landscapes will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Just driving through or hiking some of the trails gives you a sense of adventure that’s very Jurassic-like.

Hoopii Falls on Kauai.

Hoopii Falls is the setting for the fictional “Mano de Dios” amber mine location in Jurassic Park. It requires light hiking along private property to access it.

Then there’s the Na Pali Coast. Accessible by boat, helicopter tour, or, for the more adventurous families, a challenging hike, the Na Pali Coast’s rugged beauty is unmatched.

Seeing the sheer cliffs and pristine beaches from the air is an experience your kids will rave about. It’s as if you’re flying over Isla Nublar itself!

Other Dino-Movie-Inspired Adventures in Hawaii

While the Jurassic series might be the most famous of the dinosaur movies filmed in Hawaii, the islands have played backdrop to other movies too. This means there are plenty of opportunities to explore and pretend you’re on a dino adventure.

For example, you can visit some of the beautiful botanical gardens on the islands, where the lush surroundings will transport you to another world.

This is such a cool tropical rainforest. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island is a fantastic spot, with its paths winding through rainforests and waterfalls. It’s easy to imagine dinosaurs lurking in the foliage.

Tips for Your Dinosaur Adventure in Hawaii

Now, embarking on a dinosaur adventure in Hawaii is something you and your family will never forget. But, to make the most out of your trip, here are a few tips:

  • Plan Your Visits: Some locations require reservations, especially now, as places are more mindful of crowds. Check ahead and book tours early.
  • Be Prepared for Adventure: These explorations can mean a lot of walking and sometimes hiking. Make sure the family wears comfortable shoes and brings along water and snacks.
  • Respect the Land: It’s crucial to remember that while these places are fun to explore, they are also precious natural and cultural sites. Always stay on marked paths and follow any guidelines provided.
  • Let Your Imagination Run Wild: The best part about visiting these movie locations is the chance to let your imagination soar. Encourage your kids to pretend they’re part of their own dinosaur story. Maybe even come up with a family dinosaur name!

Hawaii’s Jurassic Filming Sites Wrap-Up

Exploring Hawaii’s Jurassic secrets has been one of the highlights of our family travels.

It’s not just about seeing where movies were filmed; it’s about experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of nature that looks so fantastical, it could easily be home to dinosaurs.

Each visit brings new adventures, new stories, and new memories.

So, if your family dreams of dinosaurs, why not plan a trip that’s both educational and wildly entertaining?

Hawaii offers a unique opportunity to combine natural history with the imaginative world of movies.

Trust me, it’s an experience your family will talk about for years to come. Here’s to your own epic dinosaur adventure in Hawaii! Aloha!

Looking for more things to do in Hawaii? Check out Kualoa Ranch ATV Tour Review, Kualoa Ranch Jungle Tour Review, Kualoa Ranch Movie Tour Review, and Kauai ATV Tour Review!