Why it is called "Jurassic Park" instead of "Jurassic zoo" ?

According to english dictionary: Park means

A park is an area of natural, semi-natural, or planted space set aside for human enjoyment.

According to English dictionary: Zoo means

An establishment that maintains a collection of wild animals, typically in a park or gardens, for study, conservation, or display to the public.

4 Answers 4


Jurassic Park not Jurassic Zoo because it's meant to be an amusement park. An amusement park has a lot of attractions, rides, merchandise sale etc. like Disney land.

Here, instead of clowns and cartoon characters, we have dinosaurs, but we also have a lots of attractions and rides.

A lot of these things have been shown in Jurassic Park as well as The Lost World. Visitors to the Jurassic Park not only get to see the animals in the open, but also a short movie about the park's origin, the labs etc. There was a huge plush cafeteria of sorts.

So these things make it a park, rather than a zoo, which is much smaller in its scope.


It probably comes from the distinction between 'zoos' and 'Safari parks'.

Zoos are typically areas with cages in which animals are 'displayed' and the public walk around looking into the cages. So, outside, looking in.

'Safari parks' generally have differing groups of animals in a more natural habit with some freedom to roam and interact. In safari parks, the public usually travel through the park in a car or bus and and therefore inside, looking out.

The way that (parts) of Jurassic 'park' are designed is far more similar to safari parks than zoos.

Besides, 'Jurassic Zoo' would have been a pretty crap name !

  • 7
    Not that I'm arguing with the reasoning, but about that last line: Are you sure 'Jurassic Zoo' doesn't just sound weird to you now, because you're so used to 'Jurassic Park'?
    – Walt
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 11:29
  • Yes, you're probably right about that !
    – Pat Dobson
    Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 12:50
  • 1
    @Walt Not me; I've always thought you walk about in zoos, but can drive about in parks. In zoos (well, here at least), EVERYTHING is in cages. In parks, there are some animals that roam free.
    – user27684
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 5:57

Michael Crichton's foreword to the Audiobook version of Jurassic Park specifically addresses this point. The island is intended to be a theme park (e.g. complete with rides and attractions), not just a zoological garden for animals.

"I wrote a screenplay about cloning a pterodactyl from fossil DNA in 1983, but the story wasn’t convincing. I worked on it for several years since, trying to make it more credible. Finally I decided on a theme park setting, and wrote a novel from the point of view of a young boy who was present when the dinosaurs escaped. I then sent the book to the usual people who read my first drafts."

In the source novel, the character John Hammond gives us an insight into his own thinking on the subject:

“Well, Donald,” Hammond said, “to explain that, you have to go back to the initial concept of the resort. The concept of the most advanced amusement park in the world, combining the latest electronic and biological technologies.

As does John Arnold, the park's chief engineer:

“None of the rides are running yet,” Arnold was saying. “We have the jungle River Ride, where the boats follow tracks underwater, and we have the Aviary Lodge Ride, but none of it's operational yet. The park'll open with the basic dinosaur tour - the one that you're about to take in a few minutes. The other rides will come on line six, twelve months after that.”

“Wait a minute,” Grant said. “You're going to have rides? Like an amusement park?”
Arnold said, “This is a zoological park. We have tours of different areas, and we call them rides. That's all.”
Grant frowned. Again he felt troubled. He didn't like the idea of dinosaurs being used for an amusement park.


Well for one, it's not a zoo. A zoo serves more the purpose of conservation, zoological study and research. Like modern zoo' the park tries to mimic the habitat of the creatures that inhabit it in limited space. Jurassic Park is more like an amusement park. Hammond "Spared no expense" his primary goal was to have "Attractions" like rides that would come online. It has Rides, transportation, shops, lifestyle centers. enter image description here

  • 2
    To me, this is identical to the accepted answer, with different words though. Could you please clarify why this brings more than the other?
    – OldPadawan
    Commented May 15 at 14:23
  • @OldPadawan - Spoiler, it doesn't.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 15 at 19:01
  • There's nothing intrinsically wrong with a differently phrased answer carrying the same message. There's no particular reason it should be up-voted though if it doesn't somehow elevate the answer in some way.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented May 15 at 20:13
  • 1
    @iandotkelly - This one has a totally unrelated picture from the video game Jurassic World Evolution if that's any help?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 15 at 21:05

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