A memorable Hawaiian ecotourism experience is exploring East Oahu’s movie and television sets at Kualoa Ranch.
Designated a US Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places since the 1970’s, Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve is owned and managed by the eighth-generation descendants of Dr. Gerritt P. Judd.
Located about 24 miles from Honolulu, the ranch consists of three valleys: Kaʻaʻawa Valley, Kualoa Valley, and Hakipuʻu Valley. Besides raising cattle and fresh saltwater shrimp on property, Kualoa Ranch enriches people’s lives by preserving Kualoa’s sacred lands and celebrating its history.
Established in 1850, some of Kualoa’s 4000 acres are open to locals, tourists and movie studios with a goal to protect and enhance the natural beauty, while developing sustainable recreational, agricultural and aqua cultural enterprises that are compatible with the environment.
More than 79 movies and TV shows have been filmed at Kualoa over the years. Visitors can ride horseback or drive an Ultra Terrain Vehicle on a guide led tour of the Kualoa Private Nature Reserve. The one-hour tour traverses over a saddle trail to multiple movie sites with props located along the journey for photo opportunities on the Ranch’s beautiful 1,000-acre Ka‘a‘awa “Jurassic” Valley.
Some of Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot,” props from movies and television shows filmed on the ranch include infamous Jurassic Park fallen tree, Godzilla’s footprints, and the famous “penguin” road site from 50 First Dates. See the house structure and replica of Mighty Joe Young from the movie. There are numerous Hawaii Five-0 and LOST areas, including Hurley’s golf course. Other photo opportunity stops include a WWII army bunker built entirely into the side of the mountain range.
You will recognize scenes from Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Hawaii Five-0, Mighty Joe Young, Pearl Harbor, Kong: Skull Island, and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
All tours and commercial activities enable Kualoa to keep the lands undeveloped so that future generations will be able to enjoy them as well. They truly care about and strive to educate all visitors to the third largest Hawaiian Island.
This review was also featured in Just Luxe .