There is a place on O`ahu where magic twinkles in the afternoon sun, where secret islands and beaches reveal their mystery to the adventurous traveler, and where dinosaurs roam. How you experience the excitement – by land, air, or sea – is up to you, but Kualoa Ranch and its 4000 acres of adventure, astonishing scenery, and action is a must-see for visitors to the Windward coast.
The Lost Valley of Kualoa Ranch
Located an hour’s drive from Ko Olina on the northeastern side of the island on the sprawling shores of Kāne`ohe Bay, Kualoa Ranch is a nature preserve that retains its roots as a working cattle ranch (it opened in 1850 and is still locally and family owned). Today it also doubles as a movie backdrop and an adventure park. A sacred place to the native Hawaiians, the ranch honors that tradition with a commitment to sustainability and natural preservation today.
Known affectionately as the “Hawaii Backlot”, you’ve most likely been to Kualoa Ranch already, at least in your mind thanks to Hollywood. Huge blockbuster movies such as Jurassic World and Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, and 50 First Dates filmed here on location (as well as several popular TV shows including Lost and Hawaii Five-0), and the iconic mountains are unmistakable as the mountains end and plunge into the waiting arms of the sea. The ranch offers Kualoa Ranch tours of the movie backlots and sets, a perfect excursion for movie buffs.
Lights, Camera, Action Adventure!
The movies aren’t the only source of magic and excitement at Kualoa Ranch. While a visit solely for the natural beauty would make for a great day trip, the ranch offers so much more for thrill seekers. Trek through the jungle, then race on tandem ziplines at 35 mph over the lush jungle and rolling plains where dinosaurs roamed. Explore the sets, locations, and props from some of your favorite movies. Or, brave the muddy trails and epic stream crossings as you explore the remote areas of the valley on an ATV. A variety of activity packages are available (and can be combined, so check their website for details). You can also explore the ranch on horseback, foot, or in an air-conditioned coach with your own guide. Kualoa Ranch tours vary in price and range from 1-3 hours each.
Kualoa Ranch is a special place, one blessed with stunning scenery and dripping with history. Here, beneath the sheer cliffs on the sparkling shores of the Pacific Ocean and Kāne`ohe Bay, you can walk through native gardens and learn about the old Hawaiian ways at a thousand-year-old fish pond, and discover how the wide-canopied trees of the valley served as natural airplane hangars for military planes during World War II. Whether you visit for the stories of old or the adventures of tomorrow, Kualoa Ranch is the perfect family adventure for you!