Jurassic Park: 10 Hidden Details About The Visitor Center Fans Never Noticed

Monday, December 7, 2020

Every aspect of Jurassic Park is packed full of details and the visitor's center is no different. Here are 10 hidden things you may have missed.

The Jurassic Park franchise seems to have some Tyrannosaurus-sized legs under it because decades after Steven Spielberg released the mega-blockbuster that started it all it's still going strong. No matter how many times fans watch Jurassic Park, the timeless classic provides something new like a freshly mined piece of amber.

More than just a location in the film, the Visitor Center is one of the most iconic set pieces in the entire franchise, and even appears in Jurassic World decades later. It's easy for fans to miss details about it amidst the running and the screaming of the main characters, but there are elements about it that deserve to be appreciated.

10 - The Front Door Had Special Designs On It

Besides sparing no expense, Jurassic Park creator John Hammond wanted every care to be taken with the Visitor Center to make it beautiful as well as functional. As the first thing people saw when beginning their park experience, he wanted it to imbue them with wonder and excitement.

The front door to the building was very specifically constructed. The tinted door had a golden egg on the front with rays of light emanating from its center, representing the new life being given to the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar. All around it were engravings of dinosaur fossils, with the Tyrannosaurus Rex's skeleton spawning the top of it.

9 - It Was Going To Be Replicated All Over The Globe

When Jurassic Park visionary John Hammond broke down the park to Dr. Grant and the other visitors over some sumptuous Chilean sea bass in the VIP lounge, corporate slides could be seen over their shoulders indicating Hammond's grand plans for its future.

Hammond postulated that the park would become more popular than sporting events or zoos, as seen by his graph slides, and be replicated all over the world (his first stop seemed to be Europe).

8 - The Control Room Spared No Expense

Not only did John Hammond spare no expense with the creation of the Visitor's Center, but Steven Spielberg and his crew also spared nothing when it came to the props utilized in the Control Room, which was responsible for maintaining all the security programs in the park.

Tech-savvy viewers will note the vast array of computing equipment visible on the set, loaned out from companies such as Silicon Graphics, Apple, SuperMac (UMAX), and Thinking Machines. Production notes for the film, which reveal compelling facts about the franchise, state that in total, there was almost 1 million dollars in equipment just in props.

7 - The Vehicle Garage Was In Its Basement

Visitors to the park had no choice but to go through the Visitor Center, and not just to watch Mr. DNA explain to them about dinosaur reproduction on Isla Nublar. The main vehicle garage could be found in its basement, where visitors had to pile into all-terrain vehicles and exit on the left side of the alcove to head towards the park entrance.

The Jeeps from the first, off-track excursion that Dr. Sattler, Dr. Malcolm, and Dr. Grant took were the same Jeeps encountered by Zach and Gray in Jurassic World. They find Jeep18, and Hammond's Jeep29 could be seen inoperable behind it.

6 - The Merchandise Was Real

In the memorable scene where Dr. Sattler and John Hammond sat eating ice cream and debating the future of the park, the camera panned over the park merchandise on the shelves of the gift shop. In a stroke of marketing genius, all of the props found in the Visitor Center Gift Shop were real and could be purchased alongside the movie's release.

From the stuffed animals and the lunchboxes to the backpacks and the books, everything was for sale. Eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot "The Making of Jurassic Park" book, which was a real book about the making of the movie Jurassic Park, written by Don Shay and Jody Duncan.

5 - The Paintings Were Works Of Art

Behind the rampaging skeletons of the T Rex and Alamosaurus in the middle of the Visitor Center, there was a large mural that was blown up and placed on transparent windows. In the DVD extras for the film, fans learn that each 81/2 by 11-foot painting was created by lauded naturalist painter Doug Henderson, who was commissioned to depict life in the Jurassic period.

On either side of the doors, a Gallimimus could be seen, as well as several Brachiosaurs. The monochromatic mural in the restaurant/dining area was based on "Guernica", though instead of humans in the famous painting by Picasso, there are dinosaurs.

4 - There Was A Hotel Connected To It

Fans of the novel by Michael Crichton will remember that after Ian Malcolm was seriously injured, he was treated by Dr. Harding in his suite at the Safari Lodge, the spacious resort hotel that's connected to the Visitor Center. The Safari Lodge never appeared in the film except with one small reference.

When Lex was accessing the UNIX system for the park, she passed briefly over a file marked "Hotel". This was a reference to the Safari Lodge and indicated that Lex could have manipulated its security if she wanted to. A tiny picture of one of its rooms could be found in the film brochure for the park.

3 - The Tour Guides Were Famous Voice Artists

In the Showcase Theater, where Dr. Grant and the other visitors watched Mr. DNA explain dinosaur genetics, the animated character was voiced by none other than Greg Burson, responsible for several famous Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pork Pig, and Elmer Fudd.

As the vehicles pulled away from the Visitor Center, the dulcet tones of Richard Kiley could be heard wafting from the onboard stereo system. As Hammond so memorably stated, "The voice you’re now hearing is Richard Kiley. We spared no expense", referencing the two-time Tony Award winner for Best Actor in a Musical for Redhead (1959) and Man of La Mancha (1966), as well as numerous Emmys for his work in television.

2 - It Was Bigger Than It Seemed

The action and suspense of Jurassic Park often made it difficult to keep track of where characters were, but they were all under traveling between the four different buildings that made up the Visitor Center. With its cylindrical shape, the center had several areas protruding from its main hall, each with a specific function.

Available to the public was the Showcase Theater, which put on the Mr. DNA tour, and the Cretaceous Cafe, which housed the restaurant. Just beside the dining area was the Visitor Center Kitchen and the Gallimimus Gift Shop. InGen personnel only were allowed into the Control Room for security, the Genetics Lab for dinosaur creation, the Cold Storage Room for embryos, and the Emergency Bunker underground.

1 - Hammond Left The Freezer Open

During the exciting kitchen scene where velociraptors terrorized Lex and Tim, Tim made a daring maneuver by running to the walk-in freezer, where he quickly feinted entering in order to get a raptor to follow him. When it slipped on the ice, he made a break for it, successfully locking the raptor inside.

Why did the walk-in freezer door happen to be open at the exact moment that Tim was frantically hobbling towards it? Because John Hammond had gotten all of the ice cream out of it that was melting when the power was shut off and forgot to close the door behind him.

Source: https://screenrant.com/