Dexter Filming Locations: John James Visitors Center

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: The John James Visitors Center

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. The John James Visitors Center.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. In Davie, Florida (near Gellar's church).

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 9, of Season 6, "Get Gellar".

    The police are searching for Professor Gellar, believing him to be the Doomsday Killer.

    Gellar runs a blog, in which he rants about his "End of the World" beliefs, but he hides his computer's IP address.

    Miami Metro's new computer geek, Louis, manages to crack the IP and track it to an address.

    So Debra, Mike & Louis head out to that address.

    But it turns out that the IP belong to a man who works at a public visitors center in Davie, Florida.

    His computer's network is unsecured, meaning that anyone with a laptop could just pull into the center's parking lot and use his wireless for free, up to 900 feet away - including the Doomsday Killer.

    Louis adds that if there's an antenna nearby, it would boost the wireless signal a couple of miles.

    As they walk away, the camera lingers on something in the background: atop a hill, we can see Gellar's old stone church - which means they were only a short distance from the villain's lair, but they didn't realize it.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. An archery range and parking lot, at a public park.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This was shot at El Dorado Park.

    The park's official address is 7550 E. Spring Street, in Long Beach, CA.

    To be more specific, this scene was shot at the park's archery range, which is located just north of Spring Street, and just inside and to the left (west) of the gates. (Yes, you have to pay $5 to drive into this public park).  That entry gate is on the north side of Spring, between Studebaker and the 605 Freeway.

    The archery club as a shed there that is filled with phone books. During practice sessions, they attach targets to the phone books and use them for target practice.  That shed is the building you see with the signs reading "John James Visitor's Center" and "Davies, Florida".

    Those signs, of course, were fake. They also moved in some vending machines for the scene, painted the shed a salmon color, added a few small palm trees, and some picnic tables.

    Debra and the others are standing in the middle of the small archery field just west of that shed, as the camera pans around them in circles.

    The other structure seen (during that pan) contains restrooms, and was used in Season 4 as the Tampa rest stop where Trinity & Dexter stopped on their road trip.  And there is a large parking lot immediately west of this area (also glimpsed in the scene), which runs along the south edge of a much larger archery field.

    They have shot a lot at El Dorado over the years.

    Earlier in this season, they shot the scene of Travis & Gellar catching snakes in a swamp, near a park lake to the north.

    In Season 5, a different park building was used as another visitors center - the one where Dexter held Lumen prisoner.

    In prior years, they shot Dexter's car crash, for the start of the 4th Season, just west of this archery range. Later, in that season, the same area was used again, this time for the scene where Trinity's car breaks down (and Dexter captures him).

In the very first season, they filmed the Flamingo Park scene by the lake (where a jogging Dexter stalked a teen killer), and they also shot an everglades scene (with an alligator), at the park's Nature Center.

Here's a look at the actual location, and how it looks without the trappings:

    I shot the photos below in December 2011.

    Looking northwest at both structures:

    Looking southeast at the main Visitor's Center

    Looking northwest at the restroom building (which was also used in the Trinity rest stop scene):

    Looking northwest from the parking lot west of the main location, at the larger archer field.

Here is an aerial photo of the park location.  Here is a Google StreetView.
  And here is a map link.

Of course the biggest change they made to the scene was superimposing Gellar's church on the
northern horizon.
In reality, that unique building is almost 30 miles northwest of El Dorado Park.

Here is a comparison between the fake/CGI view on the show, and the real view I shot from the same spot:

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A.  In previous seasons, I've usually had to hunt down the locations after viewing the episodes, using clues from the various scenes.  By the 6th season, though, I'd developed a small group of fans, spies & tipsters who kept an eye out for Dexter filming in their neighborhoods, and would let me know in advance when something was about to film there.

    Between those reports, my own personal reconnaissance around town, and a few new resources I discovered, by the time the first episode aired, I already knew most (but not all) of the filming locations, and only needed to watch the episodes and match up the scenes with the correct locations.

    This group of helpful fans includes Kerry, Rick, Ellen, Susan, Jason, Elaine, Joel, Julie, Geoff, Jeff, Jen, and others. My thanks to all of them.

    This time, a new fan, Mia (a member of the archery club that meets there), emailed me to say that they would be filming at the archery range.  She also sent me an aerial photo with the archery shed circled, as well as details about how the shed was used for target practice.  (Thanks, Mia!)

    Dexter - filming locations - The actual locations where Dexter was filmed
     The World's Most Comprehensive Guide To Locations Where Dexter Was Shot.
    By Episode - By Category - By Geographical Location - Clickable Map of All Dexter Locations - Go To Main Menu

    The Dexter screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © Showtime.
    All other photos & text are Copyright  1999-2024-Gary Wayne and may not be used without written permission.

    Return to

    Looking for something in particular? Search the Seeing-Stars website!