April 17, 2013

Geeky destinations: Kualoa Ranch

I decided to do something different for my high school graduation trip. Most of my classmates were going to Myrtle Beach or Florida, but I didn't really have any close friends in high school. I'm an introvert and the thought of piling into a vehicle with lots of people for a long road trip sounded like the furthest possible thing from appealing. So I took myself to Hawaii instead.

I really wanted to spend my graduation money and saved earnings on a solo Europe trip but despite my 18-year-old, adult status but parents said no. I'm still surprised I sold them on Oahu. I wanted to relax on the beach, hike, explore, and visit a ranch that had served as the filming site for Jurassic Park and Godzilla. The Kualoa Ranch movie sites tour was one of the highlights of my trip and even though almost 15 years have passed (!), it looks like they still have some of the same stuff and have expanded their offerings.

Most of the filming in Hawaii for Jurassic Park happened on Kaua'i but because of a hurricane (actual shots of the storm are used in the film), the Gallimimus flock scene had to be moved to Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. They still had the iconic tree that Grant, Lexi, and Tim crouched under to keep safe from the stampeding herd. Yeah, I was thrilled.

And I had to get a photo with it (now you get an idea of the scale - it wasn't a tiny tree):
I was sure the T. rex was going to pop out of nowhere and try to devour me, but I survived as well as the rest of the tour group.

They also had the tree the T. rex smashed like Hulk in this scene:

It was just a small part of the tour, but it was all I needed.

Besides dinosaurs, Kualoa Ranch has also been home to Godzilla, Lost, 50 First Dates, Karate Kid, and more. The new Hawaii Five-0 currently films there. You can visit Hurley's Golf Course and see a giant Godzilla footprint. You can do more than just visit movie sites, too. The ranch has a private beach, horseback riding, hiking, gardens, and more. And of course it's all set against a stunning, tropical backdrop.

If you're already planning to go to Oahu, add Kualoa Ranch to your must-see list!

Check out more of my geeky destinations.


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