Based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, the first Jurassic Park movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, was released on June 9, 1993. The science fiction film went on to win more than twenty awards, including three Academy Awards and to this day, is widely regarded as the benchmark for computer-generated imagery and animatronics. The franchise has since gone on to make four successful sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Spielberg is well known for including cleverly placed Easter eggs and the Jurassic Park franchise is no exception. So without further ado, here is every hidden we could find while watching the Jurassic Park films. As always, if we missed something you feel should’ve been included, let us know in the comments below.
The Jurassic Park Phase
Interestingly enough, many scientists have confirmed that the study of paleontology took a massive spike following the release and popularity of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, Jurassic Park. Three years later, when Steven Spielberg’s adaptation was released, the interest only intensified.
Fun fact: By the mid-90s, the number of people searching for fossils had grown exponentially – a time scientist dubbed, “the Jurassic Park phase”. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, told The Guardian that,“so many of my colleagues, people of my age, my generation, would tell you point-blank that Jurassic Park made them want to be a scientist, and it’s true that a lot of museums and a lot of universities started to hire paleontologists right after that film, because dinosaurs exploded.”
Even if you weren’t a fan of Jurassic World, it’s hard to deny that the Gyrosphere (a sphere shaped ride for tourists) was pretty darn cool. They had a built-in computer monitor to help tourists identify surrounding wildlife while still keeping them at a safe distance. The only drawback to the Gyrosphere is that they max out at 5 mph (that, and they don’t stand up very well to an Indominus rex attack).
According to Colin Trevorrow, writer and director of Jurassic World, the Gyrosphere was actually Steven Spielberg’s idea. He wanted the film to feature a “new way for people to get up close and personal” with the prehistoric wildlife within the park. Thus, the Gyrosphere was born.
Jimmy Buffet Cameo
Singer Jimmy Buffet made an unlikely cameo in Jurassic World during the scene when the swarm of Dimorphodon attack the unsuspecting tourists. Buffett can be seen wearing a tangerine colored shirt with a white hat and glasses. Best of all, despite the being surrounded by flying beasts, Buffet remembers to save his drinks.
Fun fact: If you watch closely during that scene, you’ll also notice the restaurant “Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville,” which is a real restaurant chain founded by Buffett in 1985.
The T-Rex and Rain Don’t Mix
According to Jurassic Park producer Kathleen Kennedy, every time it rained on-set, the iconic T-Rex would malfunction, causing the giant dino-puppet to completely freak-out. Kennedy went on to recount the first few times it happened, saying that the experience was so unexpected that members of the cast and crew had the “crap” scared out of them on multiple occasions. Given the T-Rex stood roughly 18 feet tall and 36 feet wide, it’s no wonder people were so terrified when the robot entered what Kennedy referred to as the “heebie-jeebies.”
Lions, Tiger, and Bears
Being that no one really knows what dinosaurs sound like when it came time to create the prehistoric noises, sound designer Gary Rydstrom had to get creative. He sampled sounds from penguins, tigers, alligators, baby elephants and most surprising of all, Buster, Rydstrom’s very own Jack Russell terrier.
Even stranger, when asked what he used for the iconic sounds of the Velociraptors, Rydstrom sheepishly admitted: “It’s a mating tortoise!”
Ripple in the Cup
In what is probably the most iconic scene of the entire Jurassic Park franchise, Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the ‘rippled water’ illusion while listening to an unknown Earth, Wind, and Fire song in his car. Along with Michael Lantieri, the special dinosaur effect technician, they cleverly came up with the idea to place and pluck a guitar string attached to the underside of the dash to recreate the vibration illusion of a giant dinosaur closing in.
Harrison Ford Was Almost Cast As Dr. Alan Grant
Initially, Steven Spielberg offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant to Harrison Ford, in large part because of his performance in The Empire Strikes Back. Spielberg thought he was perfect for the role, but Ford turned him down, and Sam Neill was cast instead.
Fun fact: Harrison Ford has admitted on numerous occasions that he’s never watched Jurassic Park in its entirety. Keep doing you, Harrison.
When asked why his book is called Jurassic Park even though it features a dinosaur that didn’t come into existence until after the Jurassic period was over, author Michael Criton simply said it was the best design, and that he didn’t give it much thought after that.
For those interested, the Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t exist until after the Jurassic period had ended some 144 million years ago, in what is known as the Cretaceous period. The movie features dinosaurs from both periods, but considering they were all brought back using DNA, it really doesn’t matter what period they’re from. Am I right?
Michael Crichton Got Paid
The Jurassic Park franchise has earned billions at the box office, and even though Michael Crichton only got paid two million dollars for the rights to his first novel, it’s estimated that Crichton was worth roughly 300 million dollars before passing in 2008.
I guess when you consider that Jurassic World has earned about 1.53 billion worldwide thus far, and Fallen Kingdom could do the same if not more, I think it’s fair to say that Michael Crichton was underpaid.
“God Creates Dinosaurs” by Ian Malcolm
Even though Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm was left out of Jurassic World, his famous (and completely made up ) book, “God Create Dinosaurs,” shows up twice in the film. It shows up first on Lowery Cruthers’ (Jake Johnson) desk, and then later on in the hands of Claire’s assistant, Zara, who is reading the book while on the monorail.
Fun fact: Ian Malcolm makes his celebrated return to the franchise in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
The Jeep Wrangler Staff Vehicle
In Jurassic Park, every time John Hammond is transported from location to location, he’s in Jeep 29. 22 years later in Jurassic World, the very same Jeep Wrangler is found by Zach and Gray, covered in vines and dirt. After miraculously repairing it, the boys jump in and drive it back to Main Street.
Chaos Theory Strikes Again
During the original Jurassic Park film, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) describes chaos theory as two drops of water rolling down someone’s hand in different directions.
Coming full circle, during Jurassic World, just before the Indominus Rex attacks the members of the ACU squad, two drops of blood hit the arm of one of the members, each going in opposite directions. It was a clever way of paying homage to the original, while also foreshadowing the teams’ impending doom.
Sam Neill Got Burned
Remember the iconic scene from the first Jurassic Park film where Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) waved the flare in order to get the attention of the Tyrannosaurus rex? Well unfortunately for Neill, during one of the takes, some of the phosphorous dropped from the flare and got trapped under his watch, resulting in a significant burn, to which Neill lost a significant chunk of his arm. This is probably why Neill chose to switch hands, and hold the flare with his right arm during the film, as seen below.
R.I.P. Six Flags
Taking over in 2002, Six Flags New Orleans was open three years before the fallout of Hurricane Katrina forced the park to close. On the bright side, nowadays the abandoned park has become the ideal spot for high-budget films. The park has hosted Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Jurassic World.
Jurassic World spent a total of nine weeks shooting on location at Six Flags, so next time you watch it, be on the lookout for the deserted theme park.
The S.S. Venture
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the S.S. Venture is an InGen cargo vessel responsible for transporting the T-Rex from Isla Sorna to San Diego.
Interestingly enough, the S.S. Venture is also the name of the ship that brought the notorious King King to New York from Skull Island.
Who is Jack Horner?
Jack Horner is world-renowned Paleontologist and main inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant. Steven Spielberg was a big fan of Horner’s, frequently calling on him to provide incite throughout the first three Jurassic Park films.
In fact, without Horner’s input, the Raptors would’ve had snake-like tongues. Horner’s research suggested that velociraptors were related to birds, and because of this, felt they should scrap the idea, which they did. Thanks, Horner!
Vintage Jurassic Park Merch
Jake Johnson’s Lowery, the hilariously quirky programmer from Jurassic World,can be found wearing a vintage Jurassic Park T-shirt throughout the film.
When asked about the decision to wear the throwback shirt, Johnson said that Lowery is the kind of guy that thinks vintage is cool and everything that comes after is garbage. Sound familiar?
Brad Bird Is The Word
As the story goes, Colin Trevorrow got the Jurassic World gig in large part because of fellow director Brad Bird’s recommendation. As a way of saying thank you, Trevorrow asked Bird if he’d voice the monorail featured in Jurassic World – to which Bird happily agreed.
Fun fact: Brad Bird is responsible for directing the well known Pixar hits The Incredibles and Ratatouille, as well as The Iron Giant, Tomorrowland and the long-awaited Incredibles 2.
Dr. Henry Wu Returns
In an effort to soften the tone of Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg felt that he needed to lessen the influence of characters like Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson), and Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck). While still great characters, the book paints a much different picture of their motives.
In Jurassic World, Wong was asked to reprise his role as Henry Wu, only this time around was given a much bigger role. Motivated by financial gain, Dr. Wu and his team of scientists created the Indominius Rex – a highly dangerous hybrid responsible for destroying the new park.
Did you happen to notice that the T-Rex in Jurassic World had some pretty substantial scars on its neck? Well, the story behind those scars is actually pretty cool. The T-Rex got them while fighting off velociraptors during the original Jurassic Park film – I’m sure you remember the scene. Which means the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are one in the same, making her the oldest dinosaur in Jurassic Park/World.
Fun fact: In the books, Robert Muldoon nicknames the female Tyrannosaurus Rex, “Rexy,” but it’s never mentioned in the films.