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The map in this question about Nedry's exit strategy led me to wonder why on Earth they would build the visitor center on the opposite side of the island from the docks and helipad. This appears to force arriving guests to travel through the park before arriving at the starting/ending point of the tour.

Given that guests would likely be weary from travel, doesn't it make more sense to put the visitor center closer to where guests arrive?

Is there a reason given anywhere for such a peculiar park layout?

jurassic park map

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    Visitors don't arrive via the cargo docks. They land at the conveniently situated heliport
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 17:37
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    you ever see a loading dock at Disney? Fancy parks want to keep all the behind the scenes stuff behind the scenes. That's why even the lab was a farce and all the actual engineering was done on an entirely different island
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 17:42
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    This all really puts my plans for a “Stevedore Island Amusement Park” on pause. Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 18:28
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    @Valorum - Are they specifically loading docks? I guess I imagined guests arriving by boat as well as by air but sure, it does make sense to keep deliveries separate from guest check-in. Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 20:15

2 Answers 2

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Isla Nublar wasn't big enough for it to matter much

The entire island was only about 30 square miles which, for reference, is about 3/4 the size of Disney World. Traveling from one side of the island to the other isn't a big deal.

Additionally, this map which comes from an interactive map made by Telltale Games for Jurassic Park: The Game suggests there was an additional northern dock that guests arrived at and that the eastern dock in the original map was a loading dock only.

more detailed jurassic park map

With the guest dock in the north and the helipad in the south, it makes more sense for the visitor center to be about halfway between them.

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Logistics

The visitor center is placed along the most aesthetically pleasing coast, with a nice sandy beachfront for guests to enjoy. A oceanfront view that's 0 beach and obscured by jungle does not a Grade A theme park make! The location of the Loading Dock would have been selected purely for logistical reasons. Not any random stretch of coast can be turned into a harbor, and making an artificial one or even dredging a pre-existing shallow harbor can be wildly expensive. Cargo ships need quite a bit of depth to maneuver safely, and as such they likely just took the best deepwater harbor location they could find. (after all, Hammond's "spare no expense" doesn't seem to extent to, you know, things that make the park safe/efficient, just sexy.) Given the small size of the island the location doesn't matter too much, so InGen probably just used the best natural harbor on the island for the supply dock, and picked the location with the prettiest view for the Visitor Center.

The helipad is harder to fathom, but ostensibly they might want it far enough away from the Visitor center that the noise of choppers flying in/out doesn't disturb the guests' experience. (either visually or via noise pollution) If you want it out of the way, don't want it actually in the mountains (expensive, potentially dangerous in case of emergency), but also want to maintain as much grasslands as possible for your dinosaurs, the helipad's location is the only one that would let you make a road to the visitor center without making one through mountains (which again would be much more expensive). I can't swear they want to keep all the grassland for dinos, but given the only light-green area NOT part of a dino preserve is a bit right next to the visitor center it seems like a safe bet.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This makes sense, and you're probably right, but you could improve your answer if you can find any evidence that the island was laid out this way for these reasons.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 18:45
  • I thumbed through my copy of Jurassic Park pre-answer and didn't find anything about the purchase/building/design rationale behind the park beyond "they bought the island because Costa Rica asks few questions". But it is in keeping with Hammon/InGen's penchant for a good-looking forward face (the visitor center) and efficient lowest bidder results for anything visitors wouldn't see. Could also argue the docks are situated in the closest non-mountainous location to the visitor center without crossing a river (saving costs on the land transport) but that's not a big deal compared to a harbor. Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 19:03
  • Also thanks for the welcome! Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 19:03
  • No problem! Note that I'm not trying to say your answer is wrong; just if I see something I can make a constructive suggestion about for a new user, I try to point it out. The better we can help you make your answer, the better reception it will get and the better your overall first experience will be.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 19:09

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