I remember being completely enthralled as I watched Jurassic Park for the first time. I was mesmerized by the vivid visuals and the seemingly real dinosaurs that were on the big screen. I was so curious to know how it was all filmed, so I took a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic movie’s filming locations. Join me as I explore the places that made Jurassic Park a movie masterpiece.
Overview of Jurassic Park
In 1993, the release of Jurassic Park caused a worldwide sensation as it transported us to a time when dinosaurs ruled the world. It also changed movie-making forever, introducing computer-generated special effects along with unparalleled adventure. But where was Jurassic Park filmed?
Steven Spielberg’s classic adventure film may have had its origins in a novel by Michael Crichton, but Jurassic Park’s physical locations cover almost all the Earth’s continents. In this behind-the-scenes look at where most of the action – and CGI – took place, we explore the various filming locations and why they were chosen. From the rough beauty of Hawaii to industrial Los Angeles and more, here is a look at how director Steven Spielberg brought Jurassic Park to life – as well as which areas stayed strictly off limits!
Over 25 years ago, the world was first introduced to the classic film Jurassic Park. The movie captured the dreams of many and took us on a journey to a place like no other. What many don’t know is that the iconic movie was filmed in several unique locations around the world. As an avid fan, I’m fascinated by the behind-the-scenes look at these stunning filming locations.
Let’s take a closer look at where Jurassic Park was filmed:
The breathtaking views of the fictitious Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna may have looked like they were shot thousands of miles away in an exotic locale, but several scenes for Jurassic Park were actually filmed directly off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Some filmmakers may be out of their depth when attempting to film so far from home, but Steven Spielberg and his team are certainly no strangers when it comes to innovative approaches to making a movie.
Spielberg chose the area based on its almost mystical appearance. Round-topped hills with lush vegetation sprouting vibrant green young growth, a coastal plain carved out by ancient lava flows and seas of brilliant blue that crash against the rocky shoreline all provide stunning scenery that still makes the heart soar. While much of the filming was done on-location on one particular part known as Kauai’s Na Pali coastline, there were several other interspersed throughout Hawaii.
Some of the filming locations include:
- Manawaiopuna Falls on Kauai Island, where Alan Grant (Sam Neill) first spies a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- A valley on Molokai’s north shore, where raptors attack Nedry (Wayne Knight) in his jeep and Drs. Grant and ellan Sattler (Laura Dern) driving to a chilly winter night meeting with John Hammond (Richard Attenborough).
- Parts of ‘Koolau Range’, which provided some adrenaline-filled footage.
- Kualoa Ranch – the same site used for ‘Godzilla’.
- Parts shot in California.
At each filming location, you can feel particles electrify within as if these spots have held onto memories from long ago that time hasn’t swept away. So if you haven’t seen Jurassic Park yet – we clearly urge you to do so soon – perhaps even plan an entire trip allowing you can visit all these places in person!
When people first watch Jurassic Park, they may find themselves awestruck by the film’s magnificent settings and dreamy settings that make it all look real. You may wonder where these scenes were filmed – the answer lies in an oasis called Kualoa Ranch, just north of Oahu in Hawaii.
This is the same place where some other Hollywood films have gone to shoot, including George of the Jungle, Mighty Joe Young, 50 First Dates and more. Over 4000 acres of lush green valleys, tropical rainforests and striking beaches provide the perfect backdrop for this blockbuster movie from Steven Spielberg.
They have featured the iconic Jack Hill valley on Kualoa ranch in all four of Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic’ movies – a crucial location for those memorable scenes involving Brachiosaurs eating tree foliage and engaging with human protagonists. What made this location so special was its spectacular backdrops, which allowed Spielberg to portray an environment that would transport us straight back to prehistoric times!
Kualoa Ranch provided a range of areas necessary for filming. From dense jungle foliage for waterfall scenes featuring wild reptiles to stunning mountain ridges where helicopters airlifted Tyrannosauruses from forest enclosures, Kualoa Ranch created it all! The lusciousness and grandeur of Mother Nature tied in with surreal CGI effects made the movie what it is today – iconic!
Red Rock Canyon, California
The multi-hued sandstone towers of Red Rock Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas in California, provided the stunning backdrop for the Raptor Attack scene. Although much of the scene was filmed in studio, Spielberg took some time to shoot unbelievable footage at the red rock canyon. Film hotshots know the area to be an incredible landscape oft chosen for movie scenes; Braveheart and The Lone Ranger both had some of their most iconic and memorable scenes here.
Visiting Red Rock today, you can still spot where specific shots were filmed. It’s where Alan Grant (Sam Neill) ducks behind a rock from a charging raptor down a gorge; slams shut and locks the door interlinking two gyro spheres while Lex (Ariana Richards) holds her terrified little brother Tim (Joseph Mazzello) in his lap; and provides Lex with an opportunity to make one of many fateful escape attempts. Here’s also where Alan finds himself between two raptors –still shuddering– as they creep closer towards him as if he were their next meal.
A reliable telltale that you’re at this exact location is if you search far enough and find your way into what looks like an enclosed semi-circle valley with steep walls on either side –it’s easy to miss! Once there, marvel at how Spielberg could capture one of Jurassic Park’s most thrilling moments – a key theme throughout all his films– in this picturesque landmark.. Red Rock Canyon is recognized as some kind of ancient spiritual center for many Native American tribes and has been that way for centuries so it’s no wonder why even though 1993 was over 25 years ago, this site has stayed firmly planted in our minds ever since!
Universal Studios Hollywood
Ah, Universal Studios Hollywood – the Hollywood you were promised. This famous filming location hosted many of the scenes for the original 1993 classic Jurassic Park. It’s one of the most iconic places to visit in California – not just for its movie history, but also for its stunning landscapes and lush surroundings.
What’s it like on a typical day at Universal Studios? The park itself is a huge movie studio lot full of cinematic landmarks, historic feature films and television sets like King Kong and Psycho and The Big Bang Theory and E.T. Walking paths lead visitors to some of the most memorable spots from Jurassic Park –like Dilophosaurus Paddock wherein Jeff Goldblum famously first proclaimed, “Life finds a way…” Fans can relive that moment or admire the location where Grant and his companions encountered Troodons during their flight through Isla Nublar jungle.
Visitors can also explore sets used for iconic moments such as when John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) unveils his dream-come-true to a group of fascinated onlookers in front of green screens or spot where Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) scurried away with raptor eggs secured in his legs – ultimately launching into an intense chase scene we will never forget! For fans who miss Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), there are plenty of opportunities to gape at her wonderment from within forgotten corners throughout Universal Studios’ world famous back-lot!
Universal Studios Hollywood truly serves as an awe-inspiring backdrop to explore scenes that have forever affected our cultural psyche. With so much adventure tucked around every corner, Jurassic Park fans will undoubtedly be delighted with their visit!
Universal Studios Florida
I’ll never forget my first experience of walking through the gates of Universal Studios, Florida. The air was full of excitement, and I could immediately feel the energy from the people all around me. When I stepped onto the back-lot tour, it felt like they had transported me to a magical world that existed somewhere between reality and fantasy.
The sheer scale and attention to detail on the back-lot tour is breathtaking. From large-scale movie sets to dinosaurs baring their teeth, each step took me further into Jurassic Park’s world. As I rode past huge movie sets from classic films such as Back To The Future and Jaws, I couldn’t help but think back to all those times spent in front of my TV watching movies as a kid.
At one point on the tour, you are offered a bird’s-eye view into Amblin Entertainment offices at Universal Studios Florida where Jurassic Park was written and developed by Steven Spielberg and other Amblin staff members before heading out on location to Hawaii for filming. Although no actual filming took place at Universal Studios Florida itself, you can almost feel the whispers of Jurassic Park in the air all around you while marveling at some of Hollywood’s greatest sets here including Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives and Dr Seuss Landing which features characters from beloved books like “Green Eggs & Ham”.
Universal Studios Florida served as an integral part in bringing this much-loved franchise to life by providing creatives with a safe space for ideas to be fleshed out during its pre-production stage. After visiting Universal Studios Florida, many other iconic filming locations used for Jurassic Park worked their way into my imagination, making it more alive than ever before!
Canoga Park, California
Canoga Park, California, was one of the first filming locations for the movie Jurassic Park. Because of its proximity to Los Angeles and its diverse landscape, Canoga Park was chosen for some scenes early in the film. This is where we meet Dr. Alan Grant and his team on their helicopter tour across Isla Nublar.
The bright sun-washed beach in front of The Isla Nublar Visitor Center is actually at Lake Laguna Beach in Canoga Park. Here, Dr. Grant and Ellie Sattler make their first mark on history when they encounter a young raptor and two Brontosaurus dinosaurs drinking from the lake’s edge.
This beach isn’t just a spot to set up camp; it is also home to several more scenes during which Tim Murphy, Hammond’s grandchild and a member of Dr. Grant’s team, discovers an old pair of glasses belonging to Hammond’s game warden, Robert Muldoon. This scene symbolizes Robert Muldoon’s ill-fated last expedition on Isla Nublar before being killed by Velociraptors after he arrived as part of Hammond’s rescue party.
Another memorable scene from this location occurs when we see an approaching Tyrannosaurus Rex from behind a glass window inside the Visitor Center – which was immediately recognizable to long-time viewers because of its placement inside Universal Studios Hollywood before it became part of Universal Studios Florida years later!
If you are ever visiting Los Angeles or looking for somewhere fun and interesting to explore, then consider visiting Canoga Park – you never know what kind of dinosaurs you may stumble upon!
When I think of the iconic movie Jurassic Park, I’m filled with a sense of adventure and a deep appreciation for the beautiful, lush surroundings that were crafted to create the world of Isla Nublar. I can almost hear the hum of the helicopter blades as it takes off from the helipad, the sound of the dinosaurs, and the rumbles of the monorail carrying visitors to whatever adventure awaits them.
Let’s take a closer look at the real-life places that served as backdrops for this adventure-filled movie:
Visiting the Locations
Having seen the movie, I was eager to visit the majestic locations that were used in the filming of Jurassic Park. On my journey, I saw everything from exotic Hawaiian jungles to world-renowned movie sets to spectacular mountain ranges. Here’s a bit of an inside look at what I discovered about some of the filming locations for Jurassic Park:
- Nâ Pali Coast State Park in Kauai, Hawaii – The breathtaking beauty of Kauai is prominently featured in the opening sequence of Jurassic Park (and also The Lost World!)where we see a helicopter soaring over miles and miles of jungle and ravines along Nâ Pali Coast State Park. One of the most famous images from this scene is of a sea arch – it’s simply awe-inspiring!
- Kauai Coffee Plantation, Hanapepe Valley – Remember that breathtaking view, where Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Satler (Laura Dern) look out over an expansive valley with lush hills? That view takes place at the Kauai Coffee Plantation on Hawaii’s island by capturing aerial footage shot skies over Hanapepe Valley – an unforgettable sight!
- Universal Studios Hollywood back-lots – besides these locations, many indoor scenes were shot on sets at Universal Studios Hollywood. The buildings used for dinosaur paddocks were constructed on two specific back-lots: Courthouse Square and New York Street. Both back-lots provided stunning views for some truly memorable scenes from Jurassic Park!
Exploring the Sets
I can still remember being in the theater for the 1993 release of Jurassic Park, marveling at the wondrous sets and effects that made it a cinematic classic. It turns out that star-studded performances from Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum weren’t the only things making this film great. Much of what made this movie so iconic was the location scouting and beautiful island sets used throughout the film. I wanted to share some behind-the-scenes details about where exactly this movie was filmed and give you an idea of how it all came together.
To help set the scene for Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg selected several filming locations on Oahu, Hawaii. In order to make his dinosaur playground as realistic as possible and create an arguably unmatched experience for audiences, Spielberg spent a great deal of time researching different spots and islands that could bring his vision to life. He settled on Kualoa Ranch on Oahu’s windward side because its gorgeous landscape proved perfect for his prehistoric story – plus there was plenty of space to accommodate special effects and equipment needs!
For creating some sweeping shots of Isla Nubar itself (the mythical dino home), we were taken outside O’ahu near Kaua’i Island’s Manawaiopuna Falls – famously referred to as “Jurassic Park Falls.” This piece of paradise was essential in showing us just how breathtaking these ancient creatures’ natural habitat really could be; with its lush greens, tall mountains, riverside cliffs and hidden waterfalls, being able to actually see Jurassic Park like this left viewers awe-struck. Don’t forget too that they filmed many onboard sequences at Kualoa Beach – giving us more insight into Alan Grant’s journey back into prehistory!
If you consider yourself a true “Jurassic fan,” then take an island tour or visit any of these filming sites next time you find yourself in Hawaii; it’s truly going back in time! You’ll experience first-hand, many iconic movie landmarks just like I did – from eerie caves concealing Velociraptors or remnants of psycho props scattered along shorelines you can uncover years later – not even using technology. As John Hammond promised audiences long ago now, he spared no expense – which made Jurassic Park possible!
Meeting the Cast
As somebody who grew up watching Jurassic Park as a child, I couldn’t wait to experience the adventure and fantasy of this beloved movie for real. That’s why I went on an exploration around the filming locations.
I’m Thorri – journalist, exploring my inner dinosaur – and I’m here to tell you all about my virtual expedition around the filming sites of Jurassic Park. My interest in this movie dates back to my childhood, so coming back as an adult allowed me to appreciate the behind-the-scenes magic and have a newfound respect for this larger-than-life franchise.
Being able to trace the footsteps of its cast provided anecdote after anecdote along my path. I felt like catching up with old friends while visiting different places where they filmed their scenes. While at Hawaii’s Kualoa Ranch, I could almost hear Laura Dern talking about her exciting jeep ride with Drs Grant and Sattler; then at Kauai’s Manawaiopuna Falls, the plane scene popped into my mind – ‘This is it! Where we saw JP for the first time!’
I left these fantastic places feeling overwhelmed with nostalgia and admiration for how everything came together in creating scenes that were among our favorites for over 25 years now–and guess what? It’s still alive! Get ready for even more amazingness because Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom will be released soon!
We’ve come to the end of our exploration of the filming locations of Jurassic Park and all the incredible behind-the-scenes details that went into making this iconic movie. While it was more difficult to narrow down than expected, there’s no doubt that Steven Spielberg and his team created something truly special with this timeless classic. It’s a glorious reminder that a bit of imagination, combined with the right talent, can produce something truly extraordinary.
Reflection on the Filming Locations
Traveling to Jurassic Park via the silver screen is an experience that I will never forget. After all, there’s no place like where you are standing to get a genuine sense of just how immense and awe-inspiring our planet can be.
Recreating prehistoric scenes at Isla Nublar, Richard Attenborough and the production team had us believing that the film was entirely shot on site in an exotic tropical island landscape. Fully aware of our disorientation of reality, and wanting to maintain this unsettling truth that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago, they chose some extraordinary and hard-to-reach locales to bring Spielberg’s dream alive on screen.
One such location was Kualoa Ranch on Oahu Island in Hawaii where multiple scenes were filmed for Jurassic Park. With its steep valleys, rolling green hills, dense jungle foliage and beautiful hidden beaches – it was easy to understand why this spot was chosen as filming location for Isla Nublar’s adjoining island of Sorna. This is one among many other captivating locations, including:
- Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, Florida (Tyrannosaurus rex enclosure)
- California’s Redwood National Park (Dilophosaurus spitting scene)
- stage or studio sets used by Industrial Light & Magic for scenes involving animatronic used in several sequences including when T-rex attacked the visitors center or when Alan Grant (Sam Neil) lost his hat flying inside the belly of the Brachiosaurus
It’s true that movie sets can enhance any story – but one cannot deny how mesmerizing natural scenery can make a viewer connect with the plot almost instantly – thanks to Jurassic Park’s masterful use of diverse terrain!
Lasting Legacy of Jurassic Park
The legacy of Jurassic Park will last as long as people are enchanted with the idea that dinosaurs, extinct for millions of years, could once again roam the Earth. It has become a cultural icon, having spawned countless novels, amusement park rides and video games.
Even today, Jurassic Park is one of the all-time greats in the world of summer blockbuster movies. The fantastic special effects, immersive storyline and unforgettable scenes make this film a classic in its genre. Spielberg captivated millions of viewers with his work, and continues to be elevated to the highest ranks in modern filmmaking.
For many who were lucky enough to watch Jurassic Park on the big screen during its first run, it was truly an experience like no other – mainly because only a handful of filming locations were used to create this titanic piece for cinema history. From Hawaii’s remote tropical lands to an old airfield on California’s coast – every single area was skillfully leveraged into creating Spielberg’s masterpiece.
Jurassic Park earned greater than three billion dollars at the box office worldwide; making it one of the highest-earning movies ever made! The success and fame surrounding this movie have endured for decades now – proving that with any adventure comes a lasting legacy that can be appreciated for years to come!