Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kualoa Ranch

This Easter Weekend our family decided to visit The Kualoa Ranch located on the windward side of the island. The Kualoa Ranch has a rich history as an ancient residence of kings and a training ground for royalty who were instructed at Kualoa in the arts of war, history and social traditions. 

In 1850, King Kamehameha III sold approximately 622 acres of land in Kualoa to Dr. Gerritt P. Judd. Dr. Judd that had previously been a missionary doctor who arrived in Hawaiʻi in 1828 and who served as personal advisor to King Kamehameha III. The Ranch is now is now owned under the Morgan Family name, who are Dr. Judd’s descendants.


The Ranch has a ton of activities and tours to choose from including horse back riding, Kualoa Ranch ATV Ride, Film Location Tour, jungle tour, secret island beach, ocean voyage tour, ancient Hawaiian Fishponds & Gardens, and legends & legacy tour. There is also a Keiki horse riding tour where guides give children ages 3-9 a 5 minute ride . We ended up choosing the movie tour since we didn't have reservations and it was the best choice for our 2 year old. 1 hour tour tickets are 23$ adults, 15$ children (3-up), 15$ for locals, free for children under 3.

Since we were early for the 3:30pm tour, we decided to check out the free petting zoo next to the ticket booth. The petting zoo had pigs, goats, baby cows, and rabbits.

Here was our tour bus. We liked the fact there was no windows to hinder our view.

As our bus pulled around the parking lot of the Ranch, our tour guide/driver explained the history of the remains of the sugar mill in the photo above.

Between 1863 – 1870, the Kualoa Sugar Mill was built and operated by Charles H. Judd and Samuel G. Wilder until the mill was closed after years of meager rainfall that effectively brought an end to sugar farming here. Our tour guide also pointed out the soil on the ranch wasn't the most productive for growing sugar cane.

Our first stop on the tour bus was a World War II bunker turned into a memorabilia hall commemorating all the films that were shot at the Ranch.

 Kualoa has been the site of many television shows and Hollywood films such as Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Tears of the Sun and 50 First Dates. TV shows including the old and new Hawaii Five-O, Magnum P.I. and LOST.

Here is a submarine that appeared in LOST that the ranch preserved and put on display at the end of the WWII bunker.

  The view outside of the bunker was amazing.

         In this valley the scene in the movie Jurassic Park where the father and son are running for the hills from the stampede of dinosaurs was filmed.


    Further down the path, the tour guide stopped in the valley to a spot where they filmed another scene in Jurassic Park. If you have seen the movie, you probably remember the scene where the kids duck behind the log to hide from the hungry T-Rex in pursuit.

   Scenes from the LOST TV series were filmed all over the Ranch.    

    Here are the 2 footprints from Godzilla when they filmed the 2000 version at the ranch.

    50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymoore was also filmed on site.

The last site of the tour was a recreated ancient Hawaiian village the ranch built for local schools to take field trips to learn about Hawaiian culture.

The Kualoa Ranch is a must see family attraction in Oahu. The address for Kualoa Ranch is 49-560 Kamehameha Highway, Kaʻaʻawa, HI 96730.  Research tour information, prices, and reservations at the Kualoa Ranch Website.


  1. I've always wondered about the ruins of the old building when I've driven by. Thanks for sharing the history of the sugar mill.

  2. Oahumom,

    I always wondered the same thing until I took the tour. The tour was interesting, informative, and well worth the 15$. Check it out and let us know what you think.