Following Japan’s infamous attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States military mobilized to fortify O’ahu in the event of another ambush. With particular concern for the Hawaiian island’s windward coast, the military rented prime coastal land from the family-owned Kualoa Ranch, a now eighth-generation cattle ranch, nature reserve, and recreation center located approximately 25 miles from O’ahu’s capital of Honolulu.
Built in 1944 to overlook and protect O’ahu’s Kāne’ohe Bay, Battery Cooper Bunker, named after an Avery J. Cooper, served for five years as one of three local defenses. Strategically positioned within a soft volcanic cliff face, the bunker’s 150-foot concrete tunnels were relatively easy and cost-effective to construct.
Together with the Kualoa Airfield, simultaneously established on what is now Kualoa Beach Park below the cliff on which the bunker is perched, Battery Cooper was in use until the end of the war, when the land was returned to the owners of Kualoa Ranch.
Since the bunker was integrated back into civilian territory, it’s been repurposed to exhibit posters, props, and memorabilia from the innumerable films and TV shows shot nearby; from Jurassic Park to George of the Jungle, Godzilla, Pearl Harbor, and the television show Lost.
Visitors to Kualoa Ranch and Private Nature Reserve, which offers a range of outdoor activities from ziplining to UTV and ATV tours, can tour the bunker-turned-“movie museum” before burning rubber across the Ka’a’awa Valley.