July 6, 2011 | By Merri Lou Martin
On one of my recent trips to Oahu I took the opportunity to tour the magnificent Kualoa Ranch. It is a place of extraordinary beauty, preserved through the stewardship of the Morgan family, who purchased the ranch from King Kamehameha III in 1850. The property stretches for five miles along the coast and includes three mountains, two valleys and 4,000 acres. It is Oahu’s largest and oldest cattle ranch and the site of it’s first sugar mill. Ancient Hawaiians considered Kualoa one of the most sacred places on Oahu. It was a residence of kings, a place of refuge and sanctuary and training ground for royalty who were instructed at Kualoa in the arts of war, history and social traditions.
Today Kualoa Ranch welcomes guests to vist the vast 4,000 acres whether you choose to ride a horse, drive an ATV or take a ranch tour. It is truly a paradise for outdoor recreation. There are eight different tours that will appeal to any tourist. I took the Movie Sites and Ranch tour which is the most popular tour. We boarded the open air ranch bus for a delightful one hour narrated tour across Kualoa Ranch and into the gorgeous Ka’a’awa Valley, where we stopped at the Jurassic Park movie site. I saw Brangus cattle grazing in the fields with a scenic background view of the stunning Oahu coast line. We also visited a site where soldiers of World War II took cover in bunkers.
Kualoa Ranch is the site for many movies and TV shows such as Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla and 50 First Dates. TV shows include Hawaii Five-O, Magnum P.I. and LOST. Imagine standing in the footprints of Godzilla.
It is impossible to see all of Kualoa Ranch in a short time. You will want to plan to stay the whole day to take in the full experience of Kualoa Ranch.