‘Jurassic Park’ roars at NTBG

LAWAI — McBryde Garden was once again filled with the sounds of dinosaurs Friday night.

More than 800 people flocked to see the original “Jurassic Park” under the stars in the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG), where several scenes from the 1993 blockbuster were filmed.

Andrew Jasper, director of the NTBG’s South Shore gardens, said the event raised more than $6,000 in donations, which was far more than anticipated.

“It was a huge success,” Jasper said.

Only about 300 people had been expected, so NTBG staff kept the shuttles running longer to accommodate the larger crowd.

Prior to the show, volunteers and staff led tours to portions of the connected Allerton Garden that were used as filming locations for the movie.

Janet Leopold has worked for the garden for 26 years, and was there when director Steven Spielberg filmed “Jurassic Park” in 1992.

“They brought in more potted plants to make it look more jungle-y,” Leopold said.

The most recognizable scene is the one in which Dr. Allen Grant (played by Sam Neill) finds Velociraptor eggs nestled among the distinctive roots of a Moreton Bay fig tree, proving that dinosaurs were breeding in the wild. The so-called “Jurassic Park trees” are a popular draw for visitors to the garden.

On Friday, a box of props such as dinosaur masks were available for photo ops, and large “dino eggs” were placed among the sprawling roots while wooden dinosaurs peered from behind several trees.

According to Leopold, other scenes that were shot in Allerton Garden include the Dilophosaurus pen and a clearing that Dr. Ellie Sattler (played by Laura Dern) runs across. One tour guide pointed out the space where an electrical shed had been constructed for the set, and invited visitors to re-enact Dern’s frenzied dash to reunite with Neill after an attack.

The film started at dusk on a huge inflatable movie screen set up in a large field. The crowd was a mix of all ages, ranging from families with young kids to couples on dates.

Arthur Brun and his wife, Michelle, brought their family to see the movie, even though they had already seen the film many times.

“Brendan loves dinosaurs,” he said.

There were a few technical problems: the projector didn’t line up with the screen properly so the very top of the picture was cut off, and the sound didn’t work in the beginning, but everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.

Even a Brachiosaurus- long line for the shuttles to return to the Visitors Center didn’t dampen the cheerful atmosphere, and the long, late-night wait was offset by NTBG staff passing out leftover food and dinosaur tattoos to waiting keiki.

If Friday night’s attendance is any indication, Kauai is ready for the fourth movie in the franchise. “Jurassic World” opens nationwide June 12; it is scheduled to open on Kauai June 26.

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