Ever since 1993, fans have been spellbound by the film Jurassic Park and the world it created. We got to visit Isla Nublar, the island location for the theme park that we’d come to know and love as “Jurassic Park.” We got to tour the large and impressive Visitors’ Center, including a small lab/hatchery, Control Room, and the Kitchen/Dining area. Finally, we were able to explore three outbuildings in the Visitor Compound, including The Raptor Enclosure, Maintenance Shed, and Emergency Bunker.
But was this the extent of the facilities on Isla Nublar? Outside of the Visitor Compound, we have glimpses of the East Dock and Helipad in the island’s interior, but that’s about it. Later, in Jurassic World, we’d come to see a familiar-looking sign with the text “research” stamped over a blue Isla Nublar silhouette.
In a post-Jurassic World interview, Colin Trevorrow stated that an East Dock sign knocked over by Dennis Nedry’s speeding jeep had been left out of the film in favour of a new “Research” sign hinting at a larger facility on Isla Nublar than what we see in Jurassic Park. There’s a couple of hints we are given in the original film that could explain what else InGen built on the island.
As Ellie Sattler attempts to reset the Circuit Breakers in the Maintenance Shed, we get a look at some familiar and some unfamiliar locations that are about to get power back. They include:
VISITOR CNTR COMPOUND
VISITOR CNTR CONTROL RM
VISITOR CNTR TOUR
GROUNDS SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM
HERBIVORE FEEDING COMPOUND
CARNIVORE FEEDING COMPOUND
VELOCIRAPTOR PEN FENCE
T-REX PADDOCK FENCE
Now, some of these labels pose more questions than they solve. If the circuit breakers in the Maintenance Shed are there to distribute power, one breaker should be for the Visitors’ Centre and maybe a separate one would be for the Control Room. The in-building tour, surveillance cameras, and security systems should all have power distributed by the control room. We see earlier in the film Ray Arnold opening a breaker box in the Control Room to shut down local power in the Visitors’ Centre. Also, why are only two Carnivore fences and the perimeter fence controlled from this area? There are other carnivores on the island! Does the Dilophosaurus fence run off one of the other fence systems? In reality, we have no way of knowing, and the labels on the power locker are probably just there because we recognise some of them, and others are important to the scene. So what about some of the other labels we see there?
As we come to learn in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the lab seen in the Visitors’ Centre isn’t where the main research was carried out. And thinking about it more now, there’s a computer station looking at the DNA strands of the animals, another extracting blood from amber, and 3 small Egg Tables with eggs we can assume are close to hatching. It’s hardly large enough to research, extract, grow, and nurture 15 separate species of Dinosaurs for the Park Population.
Later, in Jurassic Park 3, we see a larger facility. Ian Malcolm in “The Lost World” novel says that for every single successful animal roaming the park, 100 failed eggs would have been produced in the development stage. Now, that’s not film canon, but it’s an interesting place to start.
While the breaker label could represent the lab in the Visitors’ Centre, I believe it would have been labeled similarly to the Control Room and Tour breakers. It suggests that there may in fact be a separate building in the Visitor Compound that houses a larger lab where the blood is extracted and studied, and embryos are implanted into eggs. Some of those eggs close to hatching could then be moved to the Visitors’ Center for tourists to see on the tour. This is all speculation of course, but the breaker label does raise the question if there’s another research facility on Isla Nublar.
HERBIVORE FEEDING COMPOUND
Another area we don’t see in the films. In the “Jurassic Park” novel, Grant and the kids stay overnight in a small maintenance shed where hay is kept. A automated conveyor system sends out a bale at a time to feed local herbivores. A similar structure might exist in the film, although being a compound, I’d imagine it’s a larger site than seen in the novel.
Personally, I see it as more of a herbivore food storage area: hay or grains stored in a compound out in the park where herbivores migrate to every few days to feed. Since the herbivores appear to be grouped in the one paddock, a single location could cover all the animals.
CARNIVORE FEEDING COMPOUND
This one is a little harder to place. All the carnivores are housed in separate paddocks, so a central feeding compound doesn’t make sense unless it’s a storage area for livestock. Briefly in the novel, the tour group passes a small pen holding goats on their way to the Raptor Pen. There is no other reference material or concept art for the carnivore feeding compound.
And then we come to the park’s computer system, and the hints there about other outbuildings in the Visitor Compound. Most are no more than Easter eggs to fans of the novel, if you were quick enough to catch the 4 seconds of screen time they get.
We only get a name, and no further references to it in the film. It’s possibly not a large structure like the Hilton in Jurassic World. Since Jurassic Park is a safari park and not an amusement park, it probably would have followed a similar design to the Visitors’ Center.
Concept art was created for the Visitor Lodge, a single story group of buildings nestled amongst jungle foliage at different elevations with a swimming pool and small waterfalls surrounding it. A major sequence in the novel’s end took place there, but no sets were built, and the scenes with the lodge were dropped. Only recently, a scanned image has surfaced, said to be taken from the on screen brochures Grant sweeps aside while searching the Explorer for a flare. The image shows a tropical room with cane furniture and a 4 post bed. Ceiling fans keep the room cool for visitors and air conditioning would be an obvious in this situation as it is Central America.
Another no-show in the film and a callback to the novel where one scene took place between John Hammond and Henry Wu regarding the animals they were creating. It was set amongst jungle plantings and was described as luxurious. With a possible return to Isla Nublar in “Ancient Futures” (Jurassic World 2) we might one day see these buildings finally make an onscreen debut. With more ideas being sourced from the novel, I for one hope it happens!
1 thought on “How much more of Jurassic Park existed in the film canon?”
Figured I would make a note here, Rick Carter in the Making of Jurassic Park states that for the film they took some liberties for the film from the novel and making it more incomplete:
“‘The park is not as finished as it was in the book,’ noted Carter ‘The movie is probably nine months to a year earlier than when the book takes place. What we were trying to convey was that this is a process. The park is in the final stages of completion, but it was never completed. The building of a perfect dinosaur is not quite there, the building of a perfect park is not quite there, the building of a perfect security system is not quite there. Building the perfect *anything* is impossible – especially when one is dealing with nature.” (Shay and Duncan 45)