With its impressive mountain views and thick forests filled with free-range dinosaurs, the Jurassic Park movies are as distinguishable by their filming locations as they are by their iconic theme song.
Boasting well over 30 different filming locations across the trilogy, the epic dino movies were feats of logistical triumph for both the cast and the crew — so just where were Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3 filmed?
- How The Original 'Jurassic Park' Ending Channelled 'Jaws 2'
- 'Jurassic Park' Actor Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting A 13-Year-Old Girl
- 'Jurassic World 2' Brings Back Animatronics And Another Dinosaur
What Is The 'Jurassic Park' Costa-Rican Filming Location Controversy?
Ironically, in the book written by Michael Crichton that Jurassic Park is based on, the park is located in Costa Rica — a location the movies never actually filmed in. In the documentary Return to Jurassic Park, Dean Cundy, the director of photography, states that production crew had initially planned on using Costa Rica as a filming location but Spielberg was worried about the road infrastructure and accessibility for such a large crew.
Adding insult to injury, the scene in which Nedry and Dodgson meet to discuss their evil plan to steal dinosaur embryos from the park (supposedly set in San José), they seem to be sat at a suspiciously beach-like location. This angered many considering that San José is a thriving, mostly landlocked capital city.
Speaking to the Tico Times, the manager of Cine Magaly in San José, Jessica Carcheri, said of the mixup:
"It made me laugh. It showed how little the filmmakers really knew about Costa Rica, but some people were really offended."
So If Not Costa Rica, Where Were The Jurassic Park Movies Filmed?
For the most part, Jurassic Park 1, 2 and 3 were filmed in Hawaii, as well as in a combination of different filming studios in the U.S. In particular, the Hawaiian island of Kauai — which is renowned for its stunning scenery and rich natural habitats — was used for many of the most iconic scenes in the movies.
The above scene in which Ellie and and Alan come face-to-face with the brachiosaurus for the first time is shot in the Puu Ka Ele Resevoir located on the Kauai island. With nearly 2,500 acres of breathtaking ranch land, it proved the perfect location for this memorable scene. The moment where Nedry and Dodgson supposedly meet in Costa Rica was also filmed on Kauai's Kapaa waterfront.
What Other 'Jurassic Park' Scenes Were Filmed In Hawaii?
1. The Fateful 'Jurassic Park' Prologue Scene (Filmed In Kauai)
The fateful scene in which a humble worker becomes fodder for an angry encaged velociraptor in Jurassic Park was actually filmed at the Limahuli Garden in Hanalei in Kauai.
2. Before He's Eaten On A Toilet, The Scene Where Lawyer Gennaro Checks Out An Amber Mine (Filmed In Kauai)
While this amber mine is supposedly set in the Dominican Republic, the scene in Jurassic Park where Donald Gennaro comes to inspect the mine is actually filmed near Hoopii Falls on the Kapaa Stream in Kauai.
3. The 'Jurassic Park' Electric Fence (Filmed In Kauai)
The only thing separating the humans from their hungry prey, the electric fence which inevitably fails catastrophically was actually erected near Olokele Valley, northwest of Waimea in Kauai.
4. When Alan And The Kids Get Caught Up In A Gallimimus Stampede (Filmed In Oahu)
This iconic scene where Alan and the two children are forced to take refuge behind a log from a colossal dino stampede was filmed at the Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu. The fallen tree which they used to take shelter is clearly marked on the ranch with a "Jurassic Park" sign which tourists can go visit!
5. The Ill-Fated PicNic In 'Jurassic Park II' (Filmed In Kauai)
In Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World, the opening few minutes show a British middle class family enjoying a picnic on the beach as their young daughter Cathy gets savagely mauled by a pack of compsognathus. This scene was filmed on Kauai's south shore, on Kipu Kai Beach.
6. The Stampede Scene In 'Jurassic Park III' (Filmed In Oahu)
The hectic dinosaur stampede scene in Jurassic Park III was filmed on the Heeia Kea Ranch which lies on the eastern side of Oahu, north of Kaneohe.
Where Were The Continental American 'Jurassic Park' Scenes Filmed?
When not filming in the luxurious Hawaiian islands, a vast majority of the Jurassic Park scenes across the three movies were filmed in Continental America. Not counting the use of the Universal and Warner Bros. filming studios, let's take a closer look at exactly where some of those scenes were shot.
1. The Archeological Dig In 'Jurassic Park' (Filmed In California)
The only scene besides those shot in the studios to be filmed on location in continental America in the original Jurassic Park is the archeological dig. Before they get recruited to take a trip to the park, Alan and Ellie work here — this was filmed in a section of the Red Rock Canyon in California's Mojave Desert.
2. Jon Hammond's Mansion Home (Filmed In California)
The mansion in which John Hammond convinced Dr Ian Malcolm to travel to the Isla Sorna was actually filmed in a Catholic girl's school, Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, California.
3. The T-Rex Wreaking Havoc In 'San Diego' (Filmed In California)
While it is stated in the movie that the T-Rex in Jurassic Park II is running rampage through San Diego's Gaslamp District, the scenes were actually shot close to Universal's Burbank Studios at the Golden Mall on San Fernando Boulevard in California.
4. The T-Rex Drinking From A Suburban Swimming Pool (Filmed In California)
The scene in which the T-Rex stops to take a casual drink out of a suburban home's swimming pool, before chewing down a dog for a bit of light refreshment, was filmed on Mayerling Street on the Greyhawk Ranch in L.A., California.
5. Ellie's Lovely, Dino-Free Suburban House (Filmed In California)
For Ellie's brief few scenes in Jurassic Park III, we see her relaxing in her dinosaur-free home. This house is actually in the L.A. suburb of Pasadena even though it's supposedly in "Washington DC."