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Hawaii’s lush tropical landscapes have served as the backdrop for many major Hollywood blockbusters over the years. And one of the most iconic is none other than Steven Spielberg’s 1993 smash hit Jurassic Park, which brought dinosaurs back to life on the big screen.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Jurassic Park was filmed primarily on the islands of Kauai and Oahu in Hawaii, with key locations including Kapaa Town, Keahua Arboretum, Manawaiopuna Falls, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down all of the major Hawaii filming sites seen throughout Jurassic Park. You’ll discover where key scenes like the iconic dinosaur reveal, raptor kitchen encounter, and final T-Rex showdown took place on location among Hawaii’s stunning natural landscapes and scenery.

Lush Jungles and Scenic Vistas of Kauai

Kapaa Town

The small town of Kapaa on Kauai’s eastern shore provides a glimpse into local island life. Its main drag is home to a mix of shops, restaurants, and low-key lodgings surrounded by verdant mountains and ocean views.

Parts of Jurassic Park were filmed along Kapaa’s coastline, capturing its dramatic seascapes and palm tree-lined beaches with the towering Mount Waialeale often visible in the distance.

Keahua Arboretum

The Keahua Arboretum is a botanical garden tucked away in the lush Wailua River Valley. Its walking trails wander through rainforest filled with native Hawaiian plants. Several scenes bringing dinosaurs to life on Isla Nublar were actually shot along these winding jungle paths.

The dense foliage and proliferation of tropical flowers make it easy to imagine being on an isolated prehistoric island!

Manawaiopuna Falls

One of Kauai’s most famous waterfalls, Manawaiopuna Falls may look familiar to Jurassic Park fans. Its powerful cascade pouring into a pristine pool below was featured prominently when the helicopter first brings visitors to lay eyes on the awe-inspiring dinosaurs.

In real life, reaching the falls requires a vigorous uphill hike, but the payoff is worth it. The majestic 400 foot waterfall surrounded by vibrant rainforest makes you feel like you’re getting a peek into the age of dinosaurs!

Sprawling Ranch Lands of Oahu

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu has been used as a filming location for numerous Hollywood blockbusters, including Jurassic Park. Spanning over 4,000 acres, the ranch features lush valleys, towering mountains, open pastures, and pristine beaches that serve as the perfect backdrop for epic movies.

In Jurassic Park, Kualoa Ranch stood in for the fictional island of Isla Nublar, home of the ill-fated Jurassic Park. The breathtaking Kualoa Mountains, with their distinctive peaks, were featured prominently throughout the movie as key dinosaur habitat.

Scenes with the towering Brachiosaurus and herd of Gallimimus were filmed against these mountains, etching them into movie history.

Additionally, a pasture on the ranch filled with grazing cows and horses was used to shoot the memorable scene where Dr. Alan Grant and the kids come across a sick Triceratops. This moment highlighted Dr. Grant’s awe at seeing his first living dinosaur.

The open space allowed film crews to capture the Triceratops animatronic in all its glory with the scenic ranch and mountains completing the realism.

Clearly, with its diversity of locations, Kualoa Ranch was integral in bringing Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs to life in an authentic, organic environment grounded in reality. Even decades later, fans still recognize its iconic landscapes that transported audiences to Isla Nublar in 1993.

It remains a must-see destination for any Jurassic Park fan visiting Oahu.

Iolani Palace Grounds

Located in the heart of Honolulu, the grounds of the historic Iolani Palace were used briefly during the start of Jurassic Park for an impactful scene showcasing the danger of the escaped dinosaurs.

In the scene, a young girl feeds meat to the friendly compies – tiny green dinosaurs with vicious teeth and claws. Moments later, the compies begin attacking a man near the palace’s distinctive steps in a terrifying turn.

This brief but memorable scene quickly established the threat of these little dinosaurs, which looked harmless initially.

The distinctive architecture of Iolani Palace, considered the only official royal residence in the United States, adds grandeur and gravitas to the scene. Built in 1882, the stately palace with its American Florentine-style provided an ironic, majestic backdrop highlighting the havoc caused by the compies.

Though featured only briefly onscreen, Iolani Palace and its manicured grounds are an easily recognizable Oahu landmark seen during a pivotal early Jurassic Park scene. It’s yet another iconic Hawaiian location adding to the film’s sense of wonder and terror involving dinosaurs on the loose.

Additional Filming Sites and Details

Honolulu International Airport

The opening scenes showing the arrival of Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler were filmed at the Honolulu International Airport on O’ahu. The airport served as a stand-in for the fictional Costa Rican airport where the characters land to tour Jurassic Park.

Parts of the Honolulu International Airport terminal and surrounding areas are briefly visible in the background behind the actors. According to IMDb, filming took place here in September 1992.

Heaphy’s Pole Yard

Heaphy’s Pole Yard near Kahuku on O’ahu was used to film the scene where Dennis Nedry meets with Lewis Dodgson to discuss stealing embryos from Jurassic Park. The Pole Yard stores thousands of wood poles and provided an appropriately remote and secretive meeting spot for the clandestine exchange.

In the movie, Nedry parks his red Jeep Wrangler next to a pole yard building while Dodgson arrives via helicopter to hand over a fake Barbasol can for smuggling the embryos off the island.

No traces of Jurassic Park remain at Heaphy’s today, but it continues operating as a wood pole storage and treatment facility. Fans may recognize the large wood poles and buildings even though nearly 30 years have passed since filming occurred there.


As this exploration of filming locations shows, Jurassic Park made magnificent use of the diversity of landscapes across Hawaii to bring the wonder and terror of living dinosaurs to life.

From the lush jungles of Kauai to the open ranch lands of Oahu, Hawaii provided a picturesque backdrop brimming with exotic atmosphere perfect for showcasing prehistoric creatures.

So next time you watch Dr. Grant gaze out at sweeping island vistas or see the ripples on a glass of water foreshadowing approaching danger, remember the natural Hawaiian beauty that set the stage for it all.

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