Movies come to life at Kualoa Ranch


Kualoa Ranch is the backlot to famous movies of many genres.

Remember the scene from “Jurassic Park” where the dinosaurs were sprinting toward the main characters and to avoid from being trampled they hid behind a dead tree? This famous dead tree was one of the stops for the Kualoa Ranch: Movie Sites & Ranch Tour. For only $26 or $20 for Kamaʻāina you get an hour tour of Hawaii’s back lot.

Other tours include the Jungle Expedition Tour ($26), Ancient Fishing Grounds & Tropical Gardens Tour ($26) and Legends & Legacy Tour ($9).

Kualoa Ranch was originally owned by the Judd family and has been passed down through generations to now the Morgan family. The ranch has gone though many different changes through out the eight decades. It started off as a sugar mill and then during WWII, it was used as an auxiliary airstrip. Now it is a working ranch that has fresh water ponds and a tropical flower farm.

Time and time again the ranch is used for movies, television shows and music videos.

Two popular movies that were filmed at Kualoa Ranch were “50 First Dates,” which came out in 2004, and “Godzilla,” which came out in 2000. Recently Nicki Minaj filmed her music video, “Starships” in beautiful Kualoa as well as Hawaii Five-O.

For the movie “50 First Dates,” the dirt road that the tour took place on was the road that Lucy (Drew Barrymore) drove home on every day. It was also the same road where she ran over the penguin that Henry (Adam Sandler) was using to catch her attention. Barrymore also beat up Ula (Rob Schneider) along this road with a bat.

Then for “Godzilla” it was very spread out but they had seven footprints, now four footprints remaining. The Godzilla footprints were originally six to eight feet deep. However it was cow proofed recently, due to the cows falling in at night. The workers had to fill the footprint in so that it was shallow enough for the cows to get in and out on their own.

Nicki Minaj filmed a part of her music video, “Starships,” in the dirty and dark stream, next to the dirt road that the tour bus goes by (there is only one stream that is visible on this tour), another scene of her music video on top of a hill next to one of the four Godzilla footprints on the lot.

As for “Hawaii Five-O” many different locations on the lot were used for the television show, however the one that stood out the most would have to be the old bunkers that were made during WWII. These bunkers were featured in an episode were they take to a scene in Korea however it was in Kualoa.

Even though a lot of movies were filmed in the same location it would never be noticed when watching it on the big screen. What’s even more amazing is that the genres of all the movies are completely different yet it’s still possible to use the same scenery.

Being on this tour is like taking a flashback of all the movies of my childhood.

For more information check out Kualoa Ranch.