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Kauai remains a popular film location

Movies including this year's 'The Descendants' and 'Just Go With It,' 'Jurassic Park' and 'South Pacific' have been filmed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

October 23, 2011|By Terry Gardner, Special to the Los Angeles Times

What it is: The Wailua River traverses several ecosystems. You move from forested river banks and tall cliffs to lush green rain forest as you wind upriver. The Fern Grotto is downstream of where movies have been filmed.

What it starred in: Scenes for "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" were shot upriver from the Fern Grotto. Scenes from "Outbreak" (1995) and "Pagan Love Story" (the 1950 Esther Williams musical) were also shot here. Tillson recommends kayaking up the Wailua, Kauai's only navigable river.

Info: Kayak Kauai rents kayaks and offers guided tours along the Wailua River year-round for $85 (pretax) and down the Na Pali Coast from late April through August for $185 (pretax). (800) 437-3507,

Coco Palms hotel ruins, Kapaa

What it is: Elvis Presley made Coco Palms famous in "Blue Hawaii" (1961). On Sept. 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki destroyed it. Steven Spielberg and the cast and crew of the original "Jurassic Park" rode out the hurricane in a ballroom at the Marriott.) Several storm scenes in "JP" are actual footage of Iniki. "Pirates 4" chose this location because "it has the largest coconut grove on Kauai," says property manager and tour guide Bob Jasper.

Info: Coco Palms Tours, (808) 346-2048.

Waialeale Blue Hole area

What it is: At the base of Mt. Waialeale is a crater known as the Blue Hole. Mt. Waialeale is one of the wettest spots on Earth. Tillson recommends seeing it by helicopter.

What it starred in: The area just above the "Jurassic Park" gate (a leftover prop) was used for "Avatar" actors. They were learning how to walk in the jungle so their movements would appear realistic when they trekked through "Pandora," the fictional world that was created in James Cameron's movie.

Info: See helicopter tours below.

Allerton National Tropical Botanical Garden, South Shore

What it is: The Allerton section of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens (which includes the McBride Garden toward the mountain) is the area closest to the ocean.

What it starred in: Dinosaur eggs appeared between the giant roots of the Moreton Bay fig tree in "Jurassic Park."

Info: (808) 742-2623,; a tour costs $45 for adults (13 and older); $20 for those 8-12; visitors must be at least 8 years old. Reservations recommended.

Sites by helicopter

Several locations for "The Descendants" are on private property, including Kauai Ranch, Keipukai (which played Tahiti in "Six Days, Seven Nights" and was also used in "Jurassic Park II: The Lost World") and the Grove Farm (which was Vietnam in "Tropic Thunder"). Tillson recommends seeing these sites by chopper, along with the Manawaiopuna Falls in the Hanapepe Valley, seen in "Jurassic Park."

Info: Jack Harter Helicopter Tours, (888) 245-2001, $259 for 60 minutes.

Island Helicopters (the only company that can land at Manawaiopuna Falls, (800) 829-5999, Waterfall landing tour starts at $308 ($269 and $39 for fuel for 75 to 85 minutes).

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