A Day On The Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
I am a huge Jurassic Park fan (except for maybe the 3rd film!) and I have always wanted to see where is was filmed. As soon as we had booked our trip to Hawaii I was on a mission to see if we could visit the location of the films as they were filmed on Oahu. A quick Google search showed me that they were filmed on location at the Kualoa Ranch. There are several different tours available, including zip wires and horseback, but we settled on the V.I.P Movie Tour.
As there is no transportation to the Kualoa Ranch we drove out ourselves. It took approximately an hour from Aulani, it was easy to find and the scenery on the route was stunning! The Ranch is quite well signposted once you get near and there is plenty of parking onsite.
Our tour was booked for 9am but the queue to check in was huge and we were worried that we were going to miss our slot. We shouldn't have worried though as the staff were lovely and reassured us that the tour wouldn't leave without us.
We met our tour guide and were shown to a minibus that had bottles of water, popcorn and chocolate treats waiting for us and, more importantly, air conditioning! We shared our tour with another family and an older couple.
The tour started with us driving up into the mountains to walk around the old WW2 bunkers, where programmes such as Lost and Hawaii 5-0 have been filmed. Inside the bunkers we also saw props from Jurassic World and The Flintstones Movie. We then headed further in to the Ranch where we saw scenes from 50 First Dates, King Kong and Godzilla, amongst others.
The scenery on the Ranch was breathtaking! Kualoa is a 4,000 acre private nature reserve and working cattle ranch that has been owned by the same family for six generations. Our Tour Guide had worked on the Ranch for most of his life and his knowledge was second to none. As he toured us around he told us about the time he chatted to George Clooney and when he drove Steven Spielberg around the Ranch to see if it was suitable for Jurassic Park. He had so many stories of all the famous people he had met and he told each one in a humble way, the Ranch was very important to him and that came across in the way he talked about it.
As we approached some of the iconic spots on the tour, our guide would play a short video clip to show how the spot looked in the movie. He would tell us how they filmed the scene and where the cameras where etc, it was such an interesting insight. One of the best examples of this was how they filmed the scene in Jurassic Park where Alan Grant shelters from the dinosaurs behind a huge log with Lex and Tim. The guide told us how they filmed them all crouching there and then they green screened in the dinosaurs, but how they changed the camera angle so the T-Rex looked like it was bursting through the trees. He got us to pose in front of the log for a photo and then he placed a toy T-Rex in front of the camera to look bigger than us, it made for a great photo!
The tour snaked through the grounds of the Ranch and we parked at the bottom of a small hill. Our guide told us to follow the path in front of us and he would meet us round the other side as it was too steep for the minibus. When we got to the top of the path the loading zone for the Gyrosphere, from Jurassic World, was in front of us. It was very cool to see!
We headed over to the other side of the Ranch and soon the thing I had been dying to see came in to view - the pen for the Indominus Rex from Jurassic World. I was totally geeking out at this point and so was Harry! We climbed out of the minibus and walked in to the pen and I must admit I was a little scared that a dinosaur might come out of the bushes! We then got to go inside the room that overlooks the pen and our guide got us to pose in the same way as the characters from the film, while he took a photo of us. I loved how he took the time to take photos for us, it really made it feel like we were on a V.I.P tour.
All too soon our tour was over and we drove back to the Visitor's Centre. The Centre houses a gift shop selling all sorts of Hawaiian souvenirs and a restaurant that had a great selection of food - the plate lunch was delicious!
The Premier Movie Tour cost us approximately $400. It was expensive but we felt that it was worth every penny, we had a truly wonderful visit and we would thoroughly recommend the Kualoa Ranch.