Celebrating 30 Years of ‘Jurassic Park’ by Exploring Every Jurassic Attraction at Universal Parks Worldwide

When you think of Universal Studios, there’s probably one single property you imagine more than any other — Jurassic Park! After all, the franchise is the only one of Universal’s properties to be represented at all five of their global destinations. So we thought it appropriate to take a closer look at each of these attractions in celebration of 30 years since the original movie released on June 11, 1993.

Universal Studios Hollywood

What many people don’t know is that the development of Jurassic Park: The Ride began not with the blockbuster smash’s debut in 1993, but before the cameras had even started rolling in 1990. When Steven Spielberg purchased the film rights to the original “Jurassic Park” book by Michael Crichton, he brought it in to Universal Studios executives not only for use as a movie, but also as an attraction at their burgeoning Hollywood theme park.

Original concepts for the attraction had it pretty close to what eventually came about in the film — a Jeep tour through the park. But technological limitations regarding an animatronic dinosaur chasing guests in a realistic manner prevented this concept. Instead, the creative team went back to the drawing board.


The attraction actually took inspiration from a sequence in the book that didn’t make it into the movie, where the humans are floating down a river in Jurassic Park and constantly being attacked on both sides by dinosaurs. Development on the attraction began in December 1990. For reference, filming on “Jurassic Park” began in August 1992. But the ride would find itself in development hell for more than four years before construction finally began in January 1995.

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The story of the attraction went that John Hammond had opened a new version of Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Hollywood, separate from the original operation off the coast of Costa Rica, and guests were going to float through the world of the dinosaurs.

Development was stuck for some time while attempting to solve the problem of making realistically-moving dinosaur animatronics. Fully-animated animatronics submerged in water was still a new challenge at the time, with the most notable example being the highly problematic Jaws figures at Universal Studios Florida in 1990. Creating the animatronics not only at the massive scale of dinosaurs but also able to withstand full submersion lengthened the attraction’s development time considerably.

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Spielberg Goldblum JP The Ride Opening

Jurassic Park: The Ride was perhaps the most ambitious theme park attraction ever at the time, costing $100 million to develop — more than the film itself — and opening to the public on June 21, 1996. Located in the Lower Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood, the attraction was designed to fit into the mountainside on which part of the park sits. The opening ceremony was commemorated by Steven Spielberg and film star Jeff Goldblum symbolically lighting a torch together at the ride’s entrance.

Jurassic Park the Ride USH
Credit: William Warby on Flickr

Guests entered the ride by passing through the iconic arch from the film featuring the Jurassic Park logo and torches. They wait in a jungle environment designed to mimic Isla Nublar before boarding their yellow raft-like boats and journey through the park.

As riders’ rafts enter the main gate into the Ultrasaur Lagoon, a mother Ultrasaurus and her young feed and make noises to communicate with each other while other dinosaurs graze and hide in the tall grass. The raft then sails behind a waterfall and emerges in Stegosaur Springs, where riders met another mother and child, this time they’re Stegosaurus of course.. Two small dinos about the size of chickens fight over an empty popcorn box before the raft enters Hadrosaur Cove, where a crested dino pops up and sprays water at riders. Although merely harmless in intent, an announcement comes over from Jurassic Park Animal Control saying that the crested dinosaur has thrown the raft off-course and caused it to enter the raptor containment area, which is clearly very damaged.

Riders then encountered an abandoned raft and abandoned Jurassic Park Animal Control boat where a very hungry carnivore is seen with the remains of a poncho between its teeth, a warning to riders coming through now. To the right, we hear the growls of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and a heavily-damaged Jurassic Park Jeep was being pushed over the wall and splashing guests upon impact—a homage to the original movie where Tim Murphy is thrown off a ledge in a tour vehicle. Some of those carnivores returned with a jumpscare and spat water at guests.

The raft then enters the Environmental Systems Building and began to ascend a long lift hill. A voice overhead alerts us that an emergency evacuation will be attempted. As the raft rises up the lift hill, numerous alarms blare as some escaped Velociraptors lunged out at riders. When the raft reaches the top of the hill, it drops down a small waterfall to splash guests, just as a T-Rex breaks through the ceiling and lunges out at the riders from above, accompanied by collapsing pipes.

A technician began counting down when the building’s life support systems would terminate (due to “toxic gases” released during the Tyrannosaurus encounter). The raft then climbed a small lift hill that brought it closer to the emergency evacuation drop. A second technician yells “If you can hear my voice, get out of there! It’s in the building! IT’S IN THE BUILDING!”.

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The Tyrannosaurus then emerges from a waterfall coming from broken pipes in front of the raft, and lunges down to grab the raft, which escapes by plunging down an 82 foot drop into a tropical lagoon outside the Environmental Systems Building. The raft then makes its way to the unloading dock where guests disembark through the Jurassic Outfitters gift shop.

Featuring an 82 foot-tall drop at a 51 degree angle, the climactic drop is about as close to vertical as one can get. Guests travel at nearly 50 miles per hour and create a 40 foot-tall splash of water on every impact. Notably on the attraction’s opening day, Spielberg asked to be let off the ride at the top of the hill just before the drop.

The attraction was an immediate smash hit, garnering the longest wait times at the park for some time and becoming an instant classic.

25 years later, however, the attraction was beginning to show its age. Some of the effects were problematic at the best of times, and with the new “Jurassic World” trilogy already a success, maybe it was time to update the attraction for modern audiences. Thus during the 25th Anniversary celebration of Jurassic Park, the updated attraction was announced with the original closing on September 4, 2018 for its update.

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Jurassic World: The Ride opened on May 12, 2019, with an updated finale added in 2021.

You can watch a full POV above, or keep reading for a description of the ride.

In the new version of the ride, we’re taken up a lift hill before being introduced to the first exhibit — the Mosasaurus, who is shown on screens and whose animation changes depending on the weather and time of day. He manages to break the glass a bit while trying to get at guests, but we move forward safely to the next area. Sailing behind a waterfall and a small cave, we emerge in the Stegosaurus area, where a new baby has just been born. A playful Parasaur pops out of the water to spray guests from his nose, but just as we prepare to enter Predator Cove, things go awry.

“We show multiple systems failing!” says the radio. Trees rustle as the cries of dinos fill the trees. We pass the cage for Indominus Rex, whose doors have been busted open. A couple of small dinos wrestle over a hat while one of the Gyrospheres from the film lays wrecked nearby. Claire Dearing comes on a screen nearby to inform us that assets are out of containment but help is on the way, just as we sail into the Tyrannosaurus Rex area. Owen Grady comes over the radio as well to inform us Asset Control Units are on the way. As we begin our ascent up a lift hill, we see Indominus Rex peering through a hole in the wall at riders. Owen comes over screens on the lift hill assuring us that we should not panic and stay in the boat to avoid setting off the dinosaurs. But it might be too late, as a Velociraptor bursts from the ceiling having chewed up wires to get at guests.

Dilphosaurus arrives on schedule to try and spit water-venom on guests, while a gigantic Indominus Rex attempts to grab guests from above. Blue the Velociraptor tries to guide guests toward an exit, but the Indominus has beat us to it, with a massive walking animatronic appearing to finally bring guests to their doom. Just when it couldn’t get any worse, the T-Rex appears ahead, lunging toward riders as they plunge down the 85 foot drop to the massive, climactic splash.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal had always intended for Jurassic Park to be a fixture at both of their theme parks at the time. Original plans called for the River Adventure to be installed at the back of Universal Studios Florida, in the plot which later became home to Men In Black: Alien Attack. These plans changed a bit when negotiations between MCA and Warner Bros. fell through for usage of their Looney Tunes and DC Comics characters in the original planned second gate — Cartoon World. Those rights eventually went to Six Flags.

Soon, the ambitious second park of Universal’s east coast operation would need new characters, and fast. Spielberg, ever a creative consultant on their parks, swooped in to suggest an Isla Nublar land for this second gate, spawning the creation of what became Islands of Adventure.

Jurassic Park Jeep Safari Concept Art

As many concepts do, ideas started big. The plan was for three major attractions, with a clone of Jurassic Park: The Ride being an obvious choice. Two more ideas were proposed, the first being a Jeep Safari ride. The idea of the attraction was to bring to life the iconic sequence from the film which features a tour of the park gone wrong with a T-Rex encounter.

Jurassic Park Jeep Safari Vehicle Concept

This attraction would’ve been located where Skull Island: Reign of Kong is now located. Concept art and design got fairly far along, but the problem designers ran into is that the story beats would end up being the same as River Adventure, making it impractical to have two essentially identical attractions next to one another. Still, art of this attraction isn’t difficult to track down.

Helicoptours Jurassic Park Concept Art

The other proposed attraction was entitled HelicopTours, which would’ve beaten Disney to the punch on an immersive flying attraction by two years. Similar to Soarin’, guests would’ve flown in front of a large IMAX screen depicting a journey above Isla Nublar. This concept was much closer to fruition than the Jeep Safari, and was destined for the plot on which Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey now sits. Unfortunately this plan did not come to be either.

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The attraction we did get at Universal Islands of Adventure was of course the River Adventure, albeit changed from its original Hollywood iteration with some of the more problematic effects removed and some beats changed slightly.

On the ride, we go up a short elevation before a brief drop puts us in front of the Jurassic Park gates. Like the Hollywood version, we sail past Ultrasaur Lagoon, where a mother Ultrasaurus and her young feed and make noises to communicate with each other, while two smaller dinos graze in the grass and drink the river water nearby. We then sail into Stegosaur Springs, a hot spring area with the harmless Stegosaurus nearby. A Parasaur pops its head out of the water to spray some mist from its nose before we proceed to Hadrosaur Cove. Unfortunately one of the dinos knocks the boat off course, sending us into the Raptor Containment Area.

The growls of the terrifying hunters Velociraptor ring from the trees. A voice from Jurassic Park Animal Control tells us they’ve dispatched a rescue team to come help get us out. But it seems we’re too late, as the crew seemingly has already been dispatched as two small dinos fight over a bloody Team Member shirt. The raptors try to escape their cage as one containment unit nearly falls on top of guests.

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We head now towards the water treatment plant, where we’re taken up a very tall lift hill among pipes and blaring sirens. Escaped raptors show up to the sides, ready to make a meal out of riders. Another dino with a very prominent ring around its neck sprays water at guests as more raptors peek out from behind props. Finally we hear the roar of a T-Rex as it starts to walk forward out of the pipes, lunging toward guests as they drop 82 feet down into the big splash, which concludes the ride.

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Within the Jurassic Park area as well is Camp Jurassic, a fun kids play area featuring slides and plenty of space to run around and burn off some extra energy.

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Within Camp Jurassic is the second ride of Jurassic Park at IOA — Pteranodon Flyers. This mild flight above the area is notorious for its height limit — adults must be accompanied by a child at most 56″ tall, or 4’6″. Solo rides are strictly prohibited once over that height. The concept would later be reimagined in Singapore and Beijing for all ages, but more on that later.

You can ride without trying to borrow a friend’s child above courtesy of our YouTube channel.

Raptor Racers Concept ARt

Unfortunately after it opened with those two Jurassic Park attractions on May 28, 1999, attendance suffered at Universal Islands of Adventure and at Universal Studios Escape as a whole, thanks in no small part to the poor marketing related to that moniker, As a bid to get the park’s numbers up, Universal immediately got to work on a thrill ride for the Jurassic Park area, titled Raptor Racers. This wood coaster would’ve been in the shape of a dinosaur skeleton, taking guests on a fairly thrilling but still family-suitable journey racing deadly Velociraptors through their paddock. The most novel feature would’ve been effects through UV lighting which made ride cars look like they were attacked by raptors as guests disembarked. This concept was “shovel ready,” but Universal ultimately decided to not move forward with the concept.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster entrance sign stock

Fortunately, they say good ideas don’t stay dead forever. Once Velociraptors became a central figure in the “Jurassic World” trilogy, it was a natural fit to revive this idea. But instead of keeping the mild, family-friendly coaster idea, it was decided to make it more extreme, including a top hat and plenty of inversions, all using a lap bar rather than shoulder restraints. The story goes that the park has built a coaster in the actual containment area for the Velociraptors, and the dinos are very food deprived so guests can feel the experience of being hunted. VelociCoaster opened on June 8, 2021 at the park and continues to be one of its most popular attractions.

You can watch a full POV of the ride above.


Islands of Adventure also boasts the one and only Jurassic Park Discovery Center, which features a number of interactive exhibits mixing the reality of paleontology with the fiction of using DNA to resurrect the dinosaurs. Perhaps the most notable part of the Discovery Center is the ability to watch an animatronic Velociraptor hatch from its egg, and a lucky guest watching may even get to name it!

Also a part of the Orlando land are a few restaurants — Thunder Falls Terrace, featuring its iconic twin thatched dome roofs, Pizza Predattoria, The Watering Hole, and The Burger Digs, the latter of which is located inside the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.

Universal Studios Japan

The development saga and rocky early history of Universal Studios Japan is likely worth its own article, but we’ll focus for now on just the Jurassic Park area. Universal Studios Japan is located in Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, and opened on March 31, 2001 with a Jurassic Park land. Unlike at Islands of Adventure, the land featured only one attraction — a clone of the Jurassic Park River Adventure from that park.

The entire park was built similar to Tokyo Disneyland, using hits from both their Florida and Hollywood studio parks with a bit of Islands of Adventure sprinkled in. Guests on opening day could experience Backdraft, Terminator 2 3-D, Waterworld, Jaws, and The Wild Wild West Stunt Show, as well as Jurassic Park: The Ride.

Guests enter either on the bridge from San Francisco, or through the iconic arch from a no-mans-land between Amity, Waterworld, and Super Nintendo World.

Jurassic Park the Ride entrance at Universal Studios Japan

There’s not much new to add about the Japan iteration of Jurassic Park: The Ride, as it’s exactly the same as in Orlando but mirrored to reflect the different location within its respective park. Where guests turn left in Orlando, they turn right in Osaka.

You can watch our full float-through POV video above.

This version is slated to close for an extended refurbishment on September 4, 2023 — five years to the day after the Hollywood version closed for its update. We know the attraction will reopen in 2025, but what’s unknown is whether the ride will remain Jurassic Park or be converted to Jurassic World.

USJ The Flying Dinosaur

The big attraction in Japan was added on March 18, 2016 — The Flying Dinosaur. This massive flying coaster was designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, and is the tallest and most extreme at the park, suspending guests on their stomach to fly like Pteranodons above Jurassic Park. In fact, until 2020 it was the longest flying coaster in the world. Guests experience a thrilling 124 foot drop before twisting, turning, and looping all over the land, including a brief portion of its sister attraction.

While Universal Studios Japan very strictly prohibits filming of any kind on the attraction, some official footage of The Flying Dinosaur does exist, which you can watch above.

Two eateries were also created for Japan — the Lost World Restaurant, a clone of Thunder Falls Terrace, and the Discovery Restaurant, a more original concept which lifts inspiration from the Jurassic Park Discovery Center at Islands of Adventure.

Universal Studios Singapore

Rather than being referred to as Jurassic Park, Universal Studios Singapore calls its area The Lost World, fitting with other areas in the park like Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, and Far Far Away. The land encompasses the entirety of their Jurassic Park offerings as well as the nearby Waterworld stunt show.

At Universal’s smallest property, there are three attractions themed to Jurassic Park.

Dino Soarin Universal Studios Singapore

Dino-Soarin’ is an off-the-shelf spinner ride for kids which allows guests to soar in the skies like a pteranodon, albeit in a far more child-friendly manner than the coaster in Osaka.

Canopy Flyers Universal Studios Singapore

Canopy Flyers is a more grown-up version of Pteranodon Flyers from Universal Islands of Adventure. Guests ride in pairs of two, facing either forward or backward for a short flight above The Lost World.

You can watch both the forward and backward versions above.

Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure Universal Studios Singapore

The big headliner of course is Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, a toned-down version of the original three Jurassic Park: The Rides which uses actual rafts rather than boats, similar to Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges at Universal Islands of Adventure.

Not much is publicly known about the development of Universal Studios Singapore despite its high level of unique areas and attractions, but we can tell you about the ride experience itself. Much of it resembles what you’d see in the original versions but with alterations for budget reasons or to accommodate rafts instead of boats.

Guests first sail through the Jurassic Park arch, where guests are welcomed to experience a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth. The ride is treated as something of a guided tour, with narration guiding guests throughout their journey.

Our first stop is Stegosaur Springs, where we see the new baby stegosaurus with their mother. Then we sail into the Parasaur Cove, where an animatronic Parasaur looms over guests. Before we can move on though, another slowly pops out to spray guests with water from its nose. We’re initially meant to proceed to Outpost B, but an announcement interrupts the narration saying Outpost B is flooded and the rafts will return to the unload area immediately. Another announcement says they have a breach in the retaining fence while we sail by and see an overturned raft blocking where we are “meant” to sail through.

The rapids speed up as we hear the growls of a T-Rex nearby. Guests are warned to stay in their rafts and away from the electrified fences which separate us from the dinosaurs. Two very hungry velociraptors standsnear the water’s edge trying to snap at guests as they sail. The rapids begin to intensify as we sail through the untamed jungles, encountering several carnivores along the way. The roars of the T-Rex intensify as the rapids sweep us past an overturned Jeep and into the park’s hydroelectric plant.

We now sail through a plain black hall in the plant where various dinosaurs try to break in through the wall grates. A beacon lights up in the raft and an alarm sounds warning riders they’re in proximity of a “Class 4 dangerous dinosaur” as a Velociraptor is perched above riders. Fortunately danger is averted as guests are ushered into an elevator for their raft. As we rise, we see a T-Rex above us as the scientists cry for help and assistance. As the T-Rex lunges down to make riders his lunch, a door opens releasing guests down a small 10-foot drop, splashing them and ending the attraction.

The three attractions all opened with Universal Studios Singapore on March 18, 2010. A restaurant based on the Discovery Center also exists in Singapore, similar to the one in Japan.

Universal Beijing Resort

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Universal Studios Beijing remains the only Universal resort to have an entire Jurassic World -themed area rather than a single attraction within a Jurassic Park section a la Orlando and Hollywood. The area opened with the park on September 30, 2021, and focuses on the newer trilogy of films while paying homage to the originals. It’s also the only Universal resort to not have a Jurassic Park water ride, replacing it with a coaster and a dark ride, both original to this park.

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Jurassic Flyers is an inverted Mack power coaster, and another natural evolution from Pteranodon Flyers and Canopy Flyers. Guests sit in cars suspended above rails as they fly through caves and the Jurassic World aviary in a thrilling journey which includes some controlled spinning.

Jurassic World Adventure entrance at Universal Studios Beijing

The big ticket attraction in Jurassic World Isla Nublar, and perhaps at all of Universal Studios Beijing, is the Jurassic World Adventure. This dark ride uses the Spider-Man and Transformers ride system to bring guests on a journey through the island, entirely sans water for the first time.

Guests enter through the Jurassic World Innovation Center, which features a large strand of dinosaur DNA hanging over a statue of John Hammond, founder of Jurassic Park in the original film. Guests are guided through displays showcasing the resurrection of dinosaurs as well as the lab where geneticists invented new species like the Indominus Rex. The A.T.L.A.S. vehicle is designed to help guests encounter these dinosaurs safely while roaming through the park. But of course, not everything goes to plan.

We enter Jurassic World seeing the vast landscape on a screen while a brontosaurus animatronic chews on some leaves in the foreground. Before long we encounter an electric fence, which is when the lights black out and the headlights of the A.T.L.A.S. take over. A voice comes over and says that due to inclement weather, our tour through Jurassic World is cancelled. We see already-destroyed signage as we ride through before encountering our first beast — Indominus Rex. The vehicle drives away quickly, meandering through the jungle until we encounter an Ankylosaurus, much more harmless it seems. But the tail impacts the ride vehicle, causing a system malfunction with blaring alarms. As the car resets itself, a massive Indominus Rex animatronic swings around a corner, chasing after guests as they round the next turn and fulfilling the dream of the original Jurassic Park Jeep tour concept from the 1990s.

Military operations then arrive, shooting scientists and attempting to kill the riders as well. Owen Grady shows up with his raptors including Blue to try and help guests out of the mess. As Claire Dearing chastises him and says the raptors can’t stop the Indominus Rex, she comes onto the scene via screens and helps release the Tyrannosaurus Rex from its cage. We round another corner, showing two massive animatronic dinosaurs battling it out directly above guests’ heads. But they quickly notice the feast which has come upon them, and both start lunging at the ride vehicle. On screens, the battle between the raptors and the T-rex versus the Indominus Rex plays out, while Velociraptor heads poke out of the walls trying to get at riders. Fortunately we make it out safe, and the ride ends.


30 years after the original “Jurassic Park” opened in theaters, there’s no denying that the property has made a global impact. No matter the country, there’s always a popular attraction based on the franchise in every Universal resort, the only IP to have such an honor. Its start as an ambitious boat ride in Hollywood has spread across America, China, Japan, and Singapore, giving peoples around the world the chance to experience the thrills of a dinosaur after them, and truly embodying the philosophy of “Ride the Movies.”

Do you have any favorite memories from riding a “Jurassic Park” or “Jurassic World” attraction? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

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  • Spencer Lloyd

    Spencer Lloyd is a college student/parks addict living in Tokyo. He runs TDRPlans.com, a comprehensive source for information and travel planning related to Tokyo Disney Resort. And fun fact, he is the only person in history to have been in the same ride vehicle as Tom Corless.