The Best Tours at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is most easily recognizable as the “real life” Jurassic Park. The 4,000 acre nature preserve is a one-stop shop for outdoor enthusiasts, movie buffs, and history lovers. Although the ranch is a tourist hotspot on Oahu, it’s definitely worth the hype; and a tour (or two!) should be included in every visitor’s itinerary.

NOTE: As of January 5, 2022- Stay up to date on Oahu’s travel guidelines here. Furthermore, consult the Hawaii Travel Requirements website before you plan your trip to any Hawaiian island.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored, we paid for all the activities mentioned and all opinions are our own. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission (at no extra charge to you) if you make a purchase after clicking my link. Thank you for being a loyal reader!


About Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch History

Established in 1850, the ranch is owned and managed by the 8th generation of the original family. Since the 1970’s, Kualoa Ranch has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Kualoa is considered one of the most sacred places on the island of Oahu. Legend says that Kualoa once was a place of refuge and forgiveness for Hawaiian natives.

What Kualoa Ranch is Used for Today

Kualoa Ranch. Oahu, Hawaii

Stretching across steep mountain ridges, lush valleys, and sandy beaches, Kualoa Ranch focuses on sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, and educational recreation activities.

The 4,000 acres is roughly divided into two regions. The northern half is called Kaʻaʻawa Valley. Kaʻaʻawa Valley is nicknamed “Jurassic Valley” and is the main site for many filming locations. The southern half is called Hakipuʻu Valley which includes Moli’i Pond, an ancient Hawaiian fishpond, and a secluded island named “Secret Beach”.

Moli'i FIshpond and Chinaman's Hat
Moli’i Fishpond and Chinaman’s Hat

The preserve is still a working cattle ranch with 600+ head of cattle, 120 horses, and 200 sheep. You’ll probably see many of the cattle up close and personal on any given tour across the valleys.

Of course, many connect the ranch to Hollywood blockbusters as the ranch has been the site of over 70 movies since the 1950’s. In addition, many more tv series and movies are currently being filmed at Kualoa.

Kualoa Ranch Tips

How to Get to Kualoa Ranch

When driving yourself around the island, Kualoa Ranch is a scenic 30-40 minute drive from Honolulu. Allowing for extra time, take a leisurely cruise along the Kalaniana’ole Highway to soak in ocean views and stunning cliffsides. Or take the quickest (yet, still just as gorgeous) route along the H-3 or Pali Highway.

Honolulu’s City Bus also offers an affordable trip to the ranch, however, it will be a longer commute than driving on your own. Check out TheBus website for fares and schedules.

What to Bring to Kualoa Ranch

  • Snacks (Although, there is a café attached to the gift shop for any munchies!)
  • Camera (Preferably one that is waterproof or water resistant.)
  • Closed toe shoes
  • Towel
  • Hat
  • Umbrella/ Rain Jacket/ Poncho
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug Spray/ Lotion
  • 2020- Present Requirement: Proof of Hawaii residency and/or QR code or negative test results. Also, a mask.

Need to Know Before Visiting Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch

The weather can be unpredictable on the windward side of the island. The lush greenery is a result of numerous showers. Be aware that there is a good chance of rain at any given time. Don’t worry! The showers tend to pass quickly.

Book early! Many tours sell out weeks in advance. This is especially true now that there is limited capacity of how many people are allowed on a tour.

For additional tips, try brushing up on info with Kualoa Ranch FAQs.

Check-in early! You don’t want to be late to the safety instructions briefing before your tour or miss out on an opportunity to explore Kualoa Ranch grounds.

Since 2020 Covid restrictions, some things have changed a bit at the ranch. There are smaller group sizes (which is pretty nice!) and some tours have been altered. For example, there used to be an Ocean Voyage, Taste of Kualoa Farm Tour, and Ranch House Buffet Lunch. These activities are currently not available.

Kualoa Ranch Activities & Tours

Jurassic Adventure Tour

  • 2.5 hour tour
  • Good for adults and children (minimum age of 3 years)
  • 8 guest capacity limit
  • Open air “Jungle Jeep” ride and some walking
Jurassic Adventure at Kualoa Ranch

The Jurassic Adventure is a recent addition to Kualoa Ranch tours. Advertised as a deluxe adventure, it truly lives up to the description! We loved this tour because it covered both valleys and we took our time exploring the movie sites.

We discovered that the Jurassic Adventure tour was the best of both the Hollywood Movie Sites tour and Jungle Jeep Expedition.

Jurassic Park Jungle Expedition
Jurassic World Kualoa Ranch

After a brief overlook of the Moli’i fishpond and Chinaman’s Hat, we cruised into the rainforest. The tour started off with checking out the Indominus Rex pen from Jurassic World!

Jurassic World at Kualoa Ranch

Our guide also showed us the interior room where they filmed the viewing area for the Indominus Rex paddock. We checked the monitors for the thermal signature of the Indominus, but thankfully found no sign of her! -wink-

Jurassic World Jurassic Adventure Tour

Following a quick stop at the WWII army bunker (which I will discuss further into the post), the second half of the tour consisted of more in depth exploration of Kaʻaʻawa Valley.

The tour consisted of all the major filming spots for Jumanji, Jurassic Park, Fifty First Dates, Godzilla, Lost, Hawaii Five-O and, of course, Kong Skull Island!

Kong Skull Island on Jurassic Adventure

Many of the other movie site activities at Kualoa Ranch simply drive by the Kong Skull Island boneyard, however, the Jurassic Adventure tour gave us the opportunity to walk around the skeletons.

The cattle are usually grazing around most of the valley, therefore keep an eye out for cow patties (a.k.a. POOP)! Also, we found it interesting that the skeletons were made of Styrofoam!

Overall, Jurassic Adventure was our favorite Hollywood tour because it included all of the iconic film sites in both valleys of Kualoa Ranch.

Kong Skull Island Kualoa Ranch

ATV Raptor Tour

  • 1 hour or 2 hour tour
  • Good for adults and older children (minimum rider age of 5 years)
  • Minimum driver age of 21 (drivers may swap out mid-tour)
  • Maximum of 6 people per vehicle
  • Open air ATV ride and some walking
ATV Raptor Tour Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii

The ATV Raptor tour is definitely a great choice for the adventurers! Although you are required to follow a guide across the ranch, it’s fun to be in control of the off-road vehicle. Also, it’s a bit more intimate exploring with just your immediate party.

Jurassic World Kualoa Ranch

We opted for the 1 hour excursion, which took us across many trails and viewpoints in Kaʻaʻawa Valley that we hadn’t seen on other tours at Kualoa Ranch.

Early in the tour, the rain rolled in. Our guide quickly and safely navigated us off the road. She stopped us under the canopy of Monkey Pod trees to wait out the initial downpour. We became completely soaked in the open air ATV! This is a perfect scenario where the poncho or rain jacket would have come in handy.

ATV Raptor Tour Kualoa Ranch

As per usual for Hawaii showers, it passed quickly and we were able to journey forth in our tour. Briefly, we lingered at the WWII army bunker. However, we did not venture inside to see the artifacts, props, or memorabilia on display in the exhibits.

Navigating across the valley, our guide stopped briefly in the rainforest to show us a passion fruit! Locals call it Lilikoi and she split the fruit in half for us to sample. It was a tasty and surprising treat.

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Bunker

The excursion also consisted of a stop at the Jurassic World bunker. We were able to see and touch the plywood and Styrofoam that made the bunker look like concrete. In addition, the cages were on display that were used in the movies to showcase the dinos.

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Dino Cages

Similar to the other activities at Kualoa Ranch, we explored the filming hotspots along the valley.

The ATV Raptor tour is a more exhilarating and intimate way to traverse the ranch. We squealed with delight as we crossed creek beds, accelerated up muddy hills, and flew through the rainforest. Even though this tour is not acceptable for young children, it is a great alternative for adults to let loose and teenagers to enjoy an off-road expedition of Jurassic Park!

ATV Raptor Tour Kualoa Ranch

Hollywood Movie Sites Tour

  • 1.5 hour tour
  • Good for adults and children (no minimum age)
  • 10+ guest capacity (larger group size)
  • Open air vintage school bus ride and some walking
Jurassic Park Fallen Tree

The Hollywood Movie Sites tour is the most popular and family friendly excursion. All ages are welcome on this activity and it’s ideal for those who want to see the best of Kaʻaʻawa Valley.

The first stop is at the WWII army bunker that is built into the side of a mountain. In addition, the bunker is overlooking the coastline and you’ll get to bask in the oceanside scenery.

WWII Army Bunker Kualoa Ranch

Similar to the Jurassic Adventure tour, you’ll get to stretch your legs and meander through the exhibits of the bunker.

We were most excited about and interested in the Lost props and memorabilia! John’s outback attire is on display, as well as, the top half of the submarine, the Dharma computer used to enter the world-saving code, and more fun sights from the show!

Furthermore, other films such as Jumanji, Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, and Hawaii Five-O have mementos on display in the bunker.

The Hollywood movie site tour continues on into the valley with views of the Godzilla foot print, the Easter Island replica, the iconic Jurassic Park log, and even Hurley’s golf course from Lost!

Godzilla Foot Print Kualoa Ranch
Easter Island Replica Kualoa Ranch

One of the most interesting parts of investigating the movie sets at Kualoa Ranch is seeing what is behind the movie magic. Nearly all of the structures or props were created with plywood, Styrofoam, or other lightweight material. Don’t be shy to take a peek when you stop during the tour!

The Hollywood Movie Sites tour is a great option for families with young children and older visitors who don’t want to exert themselves.

Hollywood Movie Sites Replica

Horseback Walking Tour

  • 2 hour tour (1 hour tour is currently unavailable)
  • Good for adults and older children (minimum age of 10 years)
  • Minimum high 4’6” and maximum weight 230lbs
  • 6-10 guest capacity limit
Horseback Riding in Oahu

The Horseback Walking tour was hands down my favorite activity at Kualoa Ranch! Of course, I’m a horse lover at heart and nothing was more enjoyable than witnessing the beauty of the ranch on a leisurely ride through the valley.

However, if you are hoping for more chitchat from your guide or other tourists, perhaps this tour is not going to live up to your expectation. Because of the distance in the group, it’s a little tougher to hear the guide and the party you’re with.

Horseback Walking Tour Kualoa Ranch

Also, unlike many of the other tours on the ranch, you do not dismount at any moment during the ride. Therefore, the movie sites and other iconic spots in Kaʻaʻawa Valley are only enjoyed from the back of your horse.

Horseback Riding Kualoa Ranch

We witnessed stunning views of the ocean and ridges of the mountains. Also, we spotted the “kissing gorillas” on the ranch. If you look closely at the rock formations below, you can make out the the snout, eyes, and forehead of the gorillas (or baboons to some).

Kissing Gorillas at Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii

Cruising amongst the rainforest, through the herd of cattle, past the Godzilla foot print, across the boneyard of Skull Island, and along the ridge overlooking the ocean made this tour extremely peaceful.

Regardless of the lack of extensive movie site trivia and photo opportunities, horseback riding quickly took first place in my heart at Kualoa Ranch. If you’re looking for a more outdoorsy adventure and you love horses, this tour is for you!

Other Tours

We have not participated in the Jurassic Valley Zipline, Electric Mountain Bike, or Secret Island Beach Adventure. You can find more info about these tours here.

Before many businesses shut down in 2020, Kualoa Ranch once offered additional activities such as Ocean Voyage, Taste of Kualoa Farm, and Ranch House Buffet Lunch. Will these be offered once again in the future? Who knows! Stay up to date with current packages and activities at the Kualoa Ranch website.

Ocean Voyage Tour at Kualoa Ranch
Ocean Voyage Tour at Kualoa Ranch

Each tour at Kualoa Ranch is distinct and takes you on an adventure unique to itself! It’s not wasted time to indulge in a full day trip to this historic preserve on a trip to Oahu, Hawaii.

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Breanna
Breannahttps://thegoldenhouradventurer.com
Howdy! I’m Breanna and I’m intensely passionate about creativity, outdoor exploration, and food! My goal is to inspire you to embrace your adventurous side and experience the joy of God’s earth through my lens. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Hi, is the holliwood one and the jurassic adventure too diferent in the bumpy ride?
    How bumpy is bumpy in the jurassic adventure one?
    Are they any restroom stops for kids?

    Thanks

    • Hi Gabrielle! The Hollywood Movie Site Tour is less bumpy because it’s on a large school-type bus that doesn’t go very fast. The Jurassic Adventure is bumpier because it’s on a smaller off-road type vehicle. They go a little quicker over rough terrain on the Jurassic Adventure tour, so I wouldn’t suggest it for anyone with back problems. Also, no, there are no restrooms once you’ve begun the tour- so, it’s best to use the restrooms at the visitor center/gift shop before your tour starts!

  2. Is there a big difference between Jurassic Adventure tour and Movie site tour? Will the raptor pen be included in all the tours or just in the ATV?

    • Hi Sue! There is a big difference between the Jurassic Adventure tour and the Hollywood Movie Sites tour.

      Jurassic Adventure is a much longer tour that takes you through both valleys (Hakipu’u and Ka’a’awa) at Kualoa Ranch. The Jurassic Adventure focuses more on the film sites for Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. While the Hollywood Movie Site tour only takes you through Ka’a’awa Valley and talks more about other film sites besides the Jurassic movies.

      As far as I can recall, we did not stop at the Jurassic World bunker or raptor pen on the Hollywood Movie Site tour. We only drove by it.

      I hope this was helpful and enjoy your time at the ranch!

    • Hi Melissa! If you want the best of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, I’d highly recommend the Jurassic Adventure Tour. It takes you to both valleys (Hakipu’u and Ka’a’awa).

      When we did the ATV tour, it was a 1 hour tour and we only visited Ka’a’awa Valley. However, I see on the Kualoa Ranch website they are only offering the 2 hour ATV tour right now. So, that may mean they have more time to explore both valleys and see all the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World film sites. I would call the reservation desk at Kualoa Ranch to ask what the 2 hour ATV tour entails.

  3. Is it worth adding jungle jeep tour on top of the jurassic adventure? Or it’s kind of covered in the jurassic adventure already?

    • Hi Jenny! I can’t say for certain because I have not participated in the Jungle Jeep Expedition Tour. However, from what I understand on Kualoa Ranch’s website, the Jungle Jeep Expedition seems to be an abbreviated version of the Jurassic Adventure Tour. Jungle Jeep Expedition still covers most of the same film sites (Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, Kong Skull Island, etc.), however it is shorter in time and has fewer stops (like to Battery Cooper, the bunker). Also, it appears there is a short hike that is included in the Jungle Jeep Expedition tour which is not included in the Jurassic Adventure Tour.

  4. Thank you for the informative post! Was there anything that was missing from the Jurassic tour that was included in the Hollywood movie tour? Was the wwii army bunker in the Jurassic tour? Is it repetitive to do both of them?

    • Hi Sarah! You are so welcome! When we went on the Jurassic Adventure Tour, we stopped at the WWII Bunker and we did a short pit stop at the Kong Skull Island film site. However, in the Hollywood Movie Site Tour, we stopped at the iconic Jurassic Park “log” and took photos at other film locations in Ka’a’awa Valley.

      They both cover a lot of the same ground, but I would say that the Jurassic Adventure Tour definitely focuses more on all things Jurassic Park/World and covers both valleys at Kualoa Ranch while the Hollywood Movie Site Tour focuses more on the various film sites of the ranch and only covers one valley.

      I hope this is helpful! Happy planning!

  5. I was wondering about if you have a recommendation for the Half-Day (Hollywood + Ocean Voyage) vs. Jurassic Adventure? I have two kids (age 7 & 11) and we can’t decide which would be best. Any advice would be great.

    • Hi Manny! So sorry this response is late! If you haven’t already gone on your Kualoa Ranch tour, I would suggest the Jurassic Adventure if your kiddos are REALLY into Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.

      However, if they are just general fans of Jurassic Park/World and love being on boats- I’d choose the Ocean Voyage and Hollywood Tour! The Ocean Voyage is a great way to see the ranch from the water and Chinaman’s Hat. We also saw turtles!

  6. Does the Jurassic Adventure have the LOST stuff also or is that just in the movie tour? I can’t decide which we should do if I really want to see the LOST stuff and some of the jurassic stuff. thanks!

    • Hi Mary! The LOST film sites at Kualoa Ranch are mainly in Ka’a’awa Valley and Battery Cooper (the WWII bunker). Both of these sites are covered in the Hollywood Movie Site Tour. However, when we did the Jurassic Adventure Tour, we also saw everything in the Movie Site Tour and more. So, to be sure, I would call Kualoa Ranch and ask if the Jurassic Adventure tour includes a stop at the WWII bunker. I hope this was helpful for you!

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