Six Flags Great Adventure
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
|Location||Jackson, New Jersey, USA|
|General Manager||John Fitzgerald|
|Opened||July 1, 1974|
|Previous names||Great Adventure|
|Operating season||March/April through October/November|
|Website||Six Flags Great Adventure|
- Great Adventure redirects here. For various plays, albums, movies, television shows see The Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari is a theme park in Jackson Township, Ocean County, New Jersey, United States, owned by Six Flags Entertainment Corp. Situated between New York City and Philadelphia, the park complex also contains the Six Flags Wild Safari animal park and Hurricane Harbor water park.
The park opened in 1974 under restaurateur Warner LeRoy. Six Flags took over ownership of the park in 1977. Today, the park contains eleven themed areas, four of which are designed for small children. Including the animal safari, Six Flags Great Adventure covers the most land of all Six Flags properties.
In August 30, 2012, Six Flags combined its 160-acre (65 ha) Great Adventure Park with its 350-acre (140 ha) Wild Safari animal park to form the 510-acre (210 ha) Great Adventure & Safari park which it claimed it would make it the largest theme park in the world -- 10 acres larger than Disney's Animal Kingdom's reported 500 acres (200 ha). However various sources say that Disney Animal Kingdom is still bigger with 580 acres. Other references including one on Disney's official corporate site say Disney Animal Kingdom is 403 acres (163 ha) and thus significantly smaller than the new Great Adventure park.
Warner LeRoy Era (1974–1977)
In 1972, restaurateur Warner LeRoy developed concept plans for the Great Adventure entertainment complex, proposing seven parks be built within the complex: An amusement park, a safari park, a show park, a floral park, a sports complex, a shopping district, and a campground with beach and stables. His proposal also included plans for hotels, which were connected to the parks and could be reached by boats, buses, a sky ride and/or a monorail. LeRoy wanted his parks to flow naturally through the forest and lakes, capitalizing on the back-to-nature movement of the era. He chose a property then owned by the Switlik family, in an area centrally located between the New York City and Philadelphia regions. The property on CR 537 had easy access to the newly constructed Interstate 195, which connects central New Jersey to the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) and eventually to the Garden State Parkway.
LeRoy collaborated with Hardwicke Industries, who previously built safari parks in Canada and Europe. Together, they set out to open the seven parks in stages over a 5-year period. After a 4,500 invitation only guest opening on June 30, 1974, the Great Adventure entertainment complex opened to the general public on July 1, 1974, at a price tag of $10 million. At the time of the opening, only the Enchanted Forest and Safari parks were operational, and despite plans for a seven park complex, only those two parks were ever realized, with elements from five of the other planned parks being used to create the Enchanted Forest.
The Enchanted Forest was designed and built to look as if it appeared through the eyes of a child. Almost everything was designed to be bigger-than-life. A Big Balloon was a tethered hot-air balloon that loomed over the park's entrance and was the biggest of its kind in the world. The Log Flume was the longest log ride constructed in the world at that time and it was accompanied by a giant "Conestoga Wagon," an over-sized log cabin restaurant called "Best of the West" and a huge Western Fortress, in the park's Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roaring section. The Giant Wheel (now Big Wheel), then the tallest Ferris wheel in the world and the Freedom Fountain, then the largest spraying fountain in the world were located on the opposite end of the park. One of the few smaller-than-real life attractions was an outdoor walk-through attraction called the Garden of Marvels. It used working scale trains and boats amongst models of American landmarks and 1/25-scale recreations of European castles.
This miniature village was an idea taken from LeRoy's proposed Over the Rainbow floral park. A tree filled with snakes, a carousel, antique cars, koi pond, children's playground (called Kiddie Kingdom,) petting zoo (named Happy Feeling) and a restaurant named Gingerbread Fancy (now Granny's Country Kitchen) were also borrowed from the floral park concept to create a section of The Enchanted Forest. This section created the park's main midway named Dream Street.
Dream Street was named after a proposed "shopping extravaganza" park, which LeRoy had designed for the property. It lent its large open squares, huge fountain (Main Street Fountain,) street performers (clowns and stilt walkers) and shops to the Enchanted Forest. Fairy Tales was the name of a shop that opened with the park in one of the park's over-sized bazaar tents. It sold stuffed animals and toys, including Superman!Other influences from LeRoy's proposal would surface in the years to come.
Neptune's Kingdom was a concept for a lakeside, aquatic show park. From its design came Aqua Spectacle, the home for dolphin performances and high dive shows. Today, the stadium features dolphins but is now known as Fort Independence. Neptune's Kingdom was designed to run the length from Runaway Train to Northern Star Arena, but most of its influences appear in the park's Lakefront area.
Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roaring opened with Runaway Mine Train on the grand opening on Independence Day. A small compact coaster named Big Fury opened later in the season. The Sky Ride connected two ends of the park with stations in Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roaring and Dream Street. The double sky ride ran originally at the 1964–'65 New York World's Fair. The Great Train Ride was a small train ride that brought guests through a loop of the woods, rather than to a destination of another gate. A small handful of spin rides were located in the Strawberry Fair section and were as close to any thematic journey as the guests were going to take. The Fantasy Fling is older than the park and is the only survivor of these spin rides in 2008.
The Fun Fair area debuted in 1975 with several new spinning rides, a smaller ferris wheel and a Schwarzkopf Jumbo Jet roller coaster. The coaster never opened and was removed at the end of the season. A second flume called the Moon Flume was built by Arrow Dynamics to ease crowds on the Log Flume. It was built on the opposite end of the park and the station turntable is used for the stage of the Wiggles show today. The Fortune Festival was a new game section that was located where the Boardwalk section exists today.
A large portion of LeRoy's vision for the amusement park that never came to be was the inclusion of dark rides. Although 'Man, Time and Space,' 'The Keystone Cops' and '(Alice) Down the Wishing Well' (among others) never came to be, the Haunted Castle Across the Moat, which was added a few years later, took its cue from the rooms and monsters of the 'Transylvania Haunted Castle.'
In 1976, the park's entrance was moved to a new central location, the same entrance still in use today. It was designed with an outer mall called Liberty Court and its Federal style architecture was influenced by the celebration of the United States bicentennial. An inner mall called Avenue of States was adorned by fifty state flags in the central corridor. Six flags remain on Main Street today. The Enchanted Forest name on the park was changed to the complex's main name of Great Adventure. The Strawberry Fair and Fun Fair names were discontinued and the attractions in these areas became part of the newly named Enchanted Forest section. More spin rides, "yummy yummy" food, shows, games and the Safari became a part of "the greatest day of your life." The park became a major attraction with dozens of rides, shows, and several steel roller coasters (all of which are small by today's standards and one of which still operates today). The Big Balloon, Happy Feeling, The Gondola, Pretty Monster, and Super Cat were the first attractions to be removed from the park before a new owner would make big changes.
Penn Central / Bally's / Westray Capital era (1977–1992)
In 1977, construction began on a steel looping shuttle coaster called Lightnin' Loops (which was removed in 1992). Late that year, however, the park was purchased by Six Flags. This regional theme park company was owned then by Penn Central, which had large stakes in the Philadelphia and New York City regions. Six Flags added rides found in bigger theme parks such as the wooden coaster called Rolling Thunder in 1979, The Buccaneer (a swinging ship from Intamin), Roaring Rapids (now Congo Rapids, an Intamin River Rapids ride), Parachuter's Perch (now Parachute Training Center: Edwards AFB Jump Tower, an Intamin Parachute ride) and Freefall (later Stuntman's Freefall, an Intamin First Generation Freefall), all before the park's tenth anniversary.
1980 saw very few changes while in 1981, the park added a water ride called Roaring Rapids (now called Congo River Rapids). In 1983, the park added a Freefall Ride and in 1984, the park added a roller coaster called the Sarajevo Bobsleds but closed and removed Lil' Thunder, a kiddie coaster, keeping the coaster count to four.
On May 11, 1984, eight teenagers were killed in a fire in the Haunted Castle., sparking controversy over the safety of such attractions. After the incident, new fire safety laws were passed for amusement park fun houses and dark rides.
1986 saw the addition of a second looping coaster and the park's fifth roller coaster, Ultra Twister, with spiral inline twists. The ride was built next to Rolling Thunder, partially taking away the area's western theme. Another water ride called Splashwater Falls (which became Movietown Water Effect in 1992 and has since been removed) was added in which riders rode in a large boat which was pulled up hill and then down a steep waterfall, soaking riders. The new addition was made since attendance at the park had lowered since the Haunted Castle fire, and the park realized new additions were needed to keep the park alive.
Attendance dropped even further when an accident occurred on the Lightning Loops roller coaster. A teenage girl was thrown from the train because she was seated on the wrong side of the shoulder restraint. After the accident, new safety features were added not only to Great Adventure's roller coasters, but also to roller coasters around the world. Once again, Great Adventure set both a bad and later good example for the amusement park world. However, the accident was not good for the park's attendance. Attendance was so low, in fact, that in 1987 rumors began to spread that the park may close in a few years. At the end of that season, the park was slated to get a new multiple looping coaster but by the end of the year, it was decided that Six Flags Great America would get the coaster since Great Adventure was not seen as a good investment. At the end of the 1988, the park was about to lose its license to sell food, and attendance was so low park management realized a big new addition was necessary.
In the spring of 1988, it was announced that the park would indeed get a new coaster. Sarajevo Bobsleds was removed to make room for the new coaster, The Great American Scream Machine, which opened in April 1989. This coaster had multiple loops and for a month was the tallest roller coaster in the world and brought the park back to five roller coasters. The ride completely turned around the park's future, attracting brand new crowds. Thousands of people came to ride the new ride, and it can be fairly stated that The Great American Scream Machine saved the park from an untimely demise (Ironically, The Great American Scream Machine was removed in 2010 to make room for the new Green Lantern coaster).
In 1990, as part of a ride rotation program, a stand up looping roller coaster called Shockwave was added to the park. Shockwave had previously operated at Six Flags Magic Mountain. However, Ultra Twister was removed at the end of 1989 and sent to Six Flags Astroworld for the 1991 season keeping the park's coaster count at five. In 1991, the park added a huge complex of "dry" waterslides. While guests got wet on them, they could ride these with regular clothes or swimsuits. These slides were themed after the rivers of the world. Roaring Rapids, as well as the second flume ride in the park, were incorporated into this complex. Roaring Rapids became Congo Rapids, and The Hydro Flume became Zambezi Falls.
Time Warner Era (1990–1997)
In 1990, Time Warner acquired a 19.5% stake in Six Flags, then by the end of 1991 acquired an additional 30.5% giving them 50% ownership of the corporation, with the remaining divided equally by silent partners, The Blackstone Group and Wertheim Schroder. Time Warner used the opportunity to advertise and promote their movies through the Six Flags parks. Time Warner purchased the remaining 50% in 1993, then in 1995 sold 51% of the corporation to Boston Ventures. Time Warner, however continued to manage the parks through 1997.
In 1992, the eastern area or Fun Fair area of the park was re-themed Action Town, and then Movietown in 1993. A Batman stunt show was added and the announcement that a new inverted looping roller coaster called Batman The Ride would be added. Lightning Loops opened for the first half of the season but was disassembled at the end of July to begin construction of Batman. That coaster was sold to Premier Parks, which at the time was a different company than Six Flags (but would eventually buy Six Flags). Premiere Parks put one of the Lightning Loops tracks in Frontier City located in Oklahoma City and it still operates today. Premiere Parks put the other Lightning Loops track in their park in Largo, Maryland (near Washington, DC), then called Adventure World. That track was renamed the Python, which would be removed in 1999. At the end of 1992 the roller coaster Shockwave was removed as part of the "Ride Rotation Program" of Six Flags. Shockwave would be sent to Six Flags Astroworld and would reopen there in 1994 as Batman The Escape. So by the end of 1992 the park was down to just three coasters.
Batman, designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, opened in the spring of 1993 bringing the coaster count back up to four. In 1994, a motion simulator theatre ride was added. Initially, it was an airplane flying themed attraction but has since been changed to a Halloween theme in the fall over the years. A dinosaur theme and a three dimensional dinosaur theme was also used for this attraction. For several years, it operated as SpongeBob the ride and then as Fly Me To The Moon. For the 2010 season, the attraction did not run and that building remained vacant for future use.
1995 saw the addition of Viper, a steel spiral looping roller coaster similar to Ultra Twister and in Ultra Twister's old spot, bringing the coaster count to five again. 1996 saw the addition of an indoor themed junior roller coaster called Skull Mountain. In 1997, a multiple looping dual track shuttle coaster called Batman & Robin: The Chiller was built but only opened for a day and encountered more technical difficulties. This coaster ended up not opening again until the spring of 1998. This coaster ran rather rough and was referred to as a "headbanger" as was Viper, and to a lesser extent The Scream Machine. The Mine Train and Rolling Thunder were also rough rides by then. Also, many flat rides were removed over the years and the park was showing signs of wear and tear, as well as obsolete attractions.
Premier Era (1998–2005)
Premier Parks purchased Six Flags from Time Warner and Boston Ventures on April 1, 1998. The following year, the new management team added a dozen flat rides to the park and declared a "war on lines". The Adventure River complex was retired but the flume ride and the Congo Rapids remained. A kiddie water play area also remained as part of a new kiddie ride area called Looney Tunes Seaport. A junior roller coaster called Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train as well as a kiddie roller coaster called Road Runner Railway were also added, but the star attraction was a floorless steel multiple looping roller coaster called Medusa.
No changes were made at the park in 2000, but across the property on a separate parking lot, a Waterpark named Hurricane Harbor was built and opened at the end of May. This was also separately gated and charges a separate admission from Great Adventure. The park consists of a dozen waterslides, a kiddie water play area, and a wavepool.
In 2001, the park added another state of the art roller coaster called Nitro. In 2002, Batman & Robin: The Chiller was renovated and new trains without over the shoulder harnesses were added making it a much smoother ride. In 2003, Superman: Ultimate Flight was added. Exact models of this are found at Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Great America. In 2004, new harnesses were added to the Runaway Mine Train and the up-charge attraction erUPtion was added to the Boardwalk.
In 2005, the park added the world's tallest coaster called Kingda Ka and also dismantled Viper. With the addition of Kingda Ka, the season pass holders entrance to the park was closed because Kingda Ka's footprint went right over it. A new children's play area called Balin's Jungleland was also added. In 2006, a wooden twister coaster called El Toro was added in the spot formerly occupied by Viper, along with a new themed area, and another kiddie ride area to replace Bugs Bunny Land which was retired at the end of 2004.
Shapiro Era (2006–2010)
At the end if 2005, a proxy battle resulted in two major stockholders assuming control of the Six Flags Board. The Premier Group was ousted in December and the new board appointed Mark Shapiro as CEO. In 2007, the park added Wiggles World and removed Batman & Robin: The Chiller. The rolls were replaced with banked hills to enhance ride performance. However, the ride closed forever on June 28 due to technical problems with the ride. Disassembling occurred that September. In addition, the path leading to Chiller was blocked off and several rides including Freefall, Splashwater Falls/Movietown Water Effect, and a couple other flat rides were removed.
In 2008, in the area occupied by the Movietown Water Effect, a new junior indoor Wild Mouse rollercoaster was added called The Dark Knight. Motion Simulator Ride ended the SpongeBob theming in favor of Fly Me To The Moon. Also Glow in the Park Parade was added to the entertainment lineup.
Medusa was refurbished over the off-season and returned in 2009 as "Bizarro", a new incarnation of the same ride. The whole coaster, station, and surrounding theme elements were all changed and repainted to go with the new theme of the ride. Bizarro comic strips were put up along the queue line, and special effects and audio were added to the actual ride. The refurbishment brought crowds back to a ride that was beginning to lose its original charm and popularity.
Weber/Anderson Era (2010–present)
The theme park's parent Six Flags emerged from a 2008-2010 bankruptcy with Al Weber Jr. as an interim CEO and subsequently by Jim Reid-Anderson in August 2010. The company parent also moved its corporate headquarters from New York City back to Texas where the company started.
For the 2010 season, the Motion Simulator ride Fly Me To The Moon did not reopen and was not replaced with anything and remained vacant. In April 2010, rumors also began that the Great American Scream Machine would be removed at the end of the season. By mid June, rumors were that the coaster would be removed on July 1. That date came and went but on July 5, 2010, via Facebook, Six Flags confirmed the rumored removal of the Great American Scream Machine on July 18, 2010. The ride closed on late on that date and was demolished immediately after to make room for "a major new attraction in 2011." On September 16, 2010 the park announced that the Green Lantern, a standup rollercoaster formerly known as Chang from the closed Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, would debut in the Boardwalk section for the 2011 season. Green Lantern's lift hill and first drop runs parallel to the lift hill of Superman Ultimate Flight, which involved the demolition of a rarely used section of the preferred parking area.
In late 2010, Six Flags began the process of removing licensed theming from attractions. They terminated several licenses including their license with The Wiggles. Wiggles' World was renamed and rethemed to Safari Kids in time for the 2011 season. Also in 2011, erUPtion was removed. Construction for the new Funtime Slingshot replacing erUPtion started mid-June 2011 and was recently finished a few weeks after.
In 2012, Great Adventure introduced SkyScreamer a 242 feet (74 m) Funtime StarFlyer, that soars riders in a 98-foot (30 m) circle at speeds over 43 miles per hour (69 km/h), that opened in the spring of 2012, along with bumper cars, flying elephants, and a musical themed scrambler that opened in the newly transformed area Adventure Alley (formerly Fantasy Forest area around the Big Wheel). On February 13, 2012, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in New Jersey announced a new major water attraction King Cobra, that is the first in the United States. The ride Falls at Hurricane Harbor was proposed to get a transformation, giving it a trapdoor release in 2012, but was later cancelled for the new attraction King Cobra. Furthermore in 2012, Six Flags Great Adventure removed two of its four Johnny Rockets food stands, one located in Plaza Del Carnival and the other in the Boardwalk. Both were replaced with a new food stand named Totally Kickin' Chicken.
In August 30, 2012, Six Flags combined its 160-acre (65 ha) Great Adventure Park with its 350-acre (140 ha) Wild Safari animal park to form the 510-acre (210 ha) Great Adventure & Safari park which it claimed it would make it the largest theme park in the world -- 10 acres larger than Disney's Animal Kingdom. However, Disney's Animal Kingdom in June 2013 has a note on its site saying that the Disney park is actually 580 acres (230 ha) and thus bigger.
Lists of Attractions
Main Street serves as the entry gate for Six Flags Great Adventure. It was originally entitled Liberty Court, and was built when the entrance to the park was moved from near what is now the Boardwalk area to a more central location. Main Street is themed as an Early-American town, somewhere around the 18th century. Later additions to Main Street have formed it into more of a turn-of-the-century town. In the front is Freedom Fountain, a popular meeting place.
|Flash Pass Headquarters||Location to buy Flash Pass Q-Bots|
|Liberty Square Gazebo||Home to seasonal shows|
Fantasy Forest serves as the midway for the park, and was originally part of the entrance. Fantasy Forest is designed to make its visitors feel like children, and the section's bright colors and fanciful design give it a magical feel. The Great Character Cafe, which is designed to look like a giant ice cream sundae, is in this area along with the colorful Carousel and Enchanted Teacups. Originally, this section was split into two sections; Dream Street, the east side featuring the Carousel, and Strawberry Fair, the west side featuring the Big Wheel and Fantasy Fling. During Time Warner's acquisition of the park, these two sections of the park were combined into one. For the 2012 season the east side will stay as Fantasy Forest and the west side will be transformed to Adventure Alley. Attractions:
|Houdini's Great Escape||1999||Vekoma Madhouse attraction; held in "mansion" and complete with Harry Houdini theming|
|Carousel||1974||the park's grand carousel, at the end of what was Dream Street|
|Enchanted Tea Cups||1996||tea-cups style ride with fanciful theming|
Adventure Alley, made up of what used to be the Eastern half of Fantasy Forest, opened in 2012 along with SkyScreamer, a FunTime StarFlyer. The area has a retro theme, and features several classic family rides. It was built in a formerly barren area in response to complaints about there being a lack of family rides in the park. SkyScreamer, Déjà Vu (a Scrambler relocated from American Adventures in Georgia), and Air Jumbo (a Flying Elephants ride relocated from Balin's Jungleland in Golden Kingdom) all opened in May, while Fender Benders, a bumper cars attraction, opened in early July. The area was sponsored by the Broadway show Jersey Boys, and as such, features songs from the musical as its soundtrack.
|Air Jumbo||2012||Flying elephants style ride relocated from the Golden Kingdom section of the park|
|Fender Benders||2012||Bumper Cars Style Attraction|
|Big Wheel||1974||A large Ferris Wheel that once held the title for the Worlds tallest Ferris Wheel|
|Dejavu||2012||A scrambler style attraction accompanied by music|
|Sky Screamer||2012||A Funtime Starflyer model that swings riders 242 feet high in the air at 43 mph|
Adventure Seaport was introduced for the 2011 season. It is made up of old parts of Looney Tunes Seaport and Movietown.
|Congo Rapids||1981||This ride and rapids at Six Flags Magic Mountain were the first to open after AstroWorld prototype.|
|Looney Tunes Seaport|
|Nitro||2001||230-foot (70 m)-tall hyper-coaster, rated the 3rd best steel coaster in the world.|
|Safari Kids Area|
Safari Kids was added in 2011. It was formerly known as Wiggles World from 2007 to 2010. Most of the rides are rides re-themed from Looney Tunes Seaport, while the section itself replaced an aging part of Looney Tunes Seaport and the outdated Riptide flume ride. The area was renamed and rethemed Safari Kids for 2011.
|Air Safari||2007||The only ride added with Wiggles World in 2007. Originally named Big Red Planes and rethemed in 2011.|
|Bugaboo||1976||A kiddie ride formally removed from Balin's Jungleland themed|
|Jumpin' Joey||1999||A children's drop tower that originally opened as Sylvester's Pounce and Bounce and was later named Bouncin' With Wags. Rethemed in 2007 for Wiggles World and 2011 for Safari Kids.|
|Raja's Rickshaws||1982||A kiddie scrambler transferred from Balin's Jungleland themed to peacocks|
|Safari Tours||1999||A car ride that originally opened as Taz's Seaport Trucking Company and was later named Big Red Cars. Rethemed in 2007 for Wiggles World and 2011 for Safari Kids.|
|Sky Zooma||1999||A children's balloon ride that originally opened as Elmer Fudd's Seaport Weather Balloons and was later named Dorothy's Racing to the Rainbow. Rethemed in 2007 for Wiggles World and 2011 for Safari Kids.|
Looney Tunes Seaport
This children's section of the park, based on Looney Tunes characters, opened in 1999 with the War on Lines.
|Bugs Bunny Barnstormer||1999||A plane themed ride spinning on two separate axis.|
|Daffy's Deep Diver||1999||A submarine themed ride.|
|Pepe Le Pew's Hearts Aweigh||1999||A miniature spinning teacups ride.|
|Road Runner Railway||1999||A children's roller coaster built by Zamperla.|
|Taz's Tornado||1999||A swings ride.|
This section makes up of what used to be the "Fun Fair" and "Action Town" sections of the park. It is themed as a Hollywood back lot, complete with Hollywood style buildings, and movie-themed ride, shops, stalls, and other attractions. Most of the attractions include D.C. Comics (Batman and Robin, Justice League) Over the years, many of the movie props have been removed, and all the flat rides in this section of the park have been moved or dismantled, leaving the section with only two roller coasters. The addition of The Dark Knight Coaster meant the removal of The Movietown Water Effect, a themed Splashdown ride. Batman and Robin: The Chiller and Stuntman's Freefall (an Intamin free-fall ride) had already been removed; so now the section is relatively empty. Nitro was included in Movietown until the 2011 season, when it became part of Adventure Seaport.
|The Dark Knight Coaster||2008||Indoor themed wild-mouse coaster. The coaster opened in 2008 to coincide with the release of the hit movie, The Dark Knight.|
|Batman the Ride||1993||The second installation of B & M:s Batman Inverted Coaster|
Lakefront, as its name suggests, is found right on the lake in the back of the property. The rides and structures in Lakefront all have a nautical theme. The section also includes a Panda Express eatery.
|Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train||1999||Family coaster themed as a mine train.|
|Buccaneer||1980||Swinging-ship ride, themed as a pirate ship.|
|Jolly Roger||1999||Spinning ride, with a large skull sign|
|Skull Mountain||1996||Indoor in-the-dark coaster.|
|Skyway||1974||Aerial tramway relocated from the 1964 World's Fair to Frontier Adventures|
|Swashbuckler||1974||Has been relocated and repainted several times, opened as "Super Round Up". Formally known as Fantasy Fling and Tornado.|
Previously known as "Best of the West" and "Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin'", the park's western-themed section is very picturesque. It is home to many of the park's most famous structures including the Fort, The Conestoga Wagon, and the Best of the West restaurant, as well as some of the park's very popular rides. In 2009, Bizarro opened (formerly Medusa, opened in 1999) in this section, and though it is questionable how that relates to the Old West, Bizarro was given a backstory; relating to his takeover of the Medusa Mine. Frontier Adventures features Best of the West restaurant, one of the most popular eateries in the park.
|Safari Off Road Adventure||2013||Safari Off Road Adventure is a Safari attraction. It replaces Six Flags Wild Safari which closed on September 30, 2012. Wild Safari's 350 acres (1.4 km) joining Great Adventure to create one whole park in 2013, will make Six Flags Great Adventure the largest theme park in the world with 510 acres (2.1 km)|
|Bizarro||1999||Floorless coaster, featuring 7 inversions|
|Runaway Mine Train||1974||A Mine Train, The park's first roller coaster, themed as a mine train. Riders load in "The Fort", and go on an adventure through a forest, and over a lake.|
|Skyway||1974||Moved from the 1964 World's Fair, was originally intended to travel almost twice the distance it does now, it also loads in "The Fort", and takes riders to Lakefront. In 2011, in addition to the red and blue cable cars, Sky Ride re-painted the new cable cars, which were added yellow, green and brown.|
|Saw Mill Log Flume||1974||The park's log flume, with boats themed as logs that takes riders down and around an island.|
Bugs Bunny National Park
Bugs Bunny National Park opened in 2006 along with El Toro. It has a series of camp-themed rides, all in a rustic area on the lake. Attractions include Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel, Bugs Bunny National Water Park Tower, Bugs Bunny Ranger Pilots, Daffy Duck's Hot Air Balloons, Porky Pig Camp Wagons and Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster.
|Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel||A carousel, themed with posters for different Bugs Bunny Cartoons, including "Knighty Knight Bugs".|
|Bugs Bunny National Water Park Tower||2006||A leaky water tower which can get young guests wet|
|Bugs Bunny Ranger Pilots||One of many airplane rides in the park.|
|Daffy Duck's Hot Air Balloons||A circular balloon ride|
|Porky Pig Camp Wagons||Circular wagon ride|
|Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster||Whip-style ride themed to race cars|
This area was originally part of Frontier Adventures, and was also called "Hernando's Hideaway" for the opening of Rolling Thunder. This section of the park has heavy Spanish influences, including music, lights, and various structures including the station for El Toro. The whole area is very festive and is filled with vibrant colors and stucco buildings and Spanish tile roofs.
|El Toro||2006||Wooden roller coaster with rubber wheels. Steepest drop on any wooden coaster.|
|Rolling Thunder||Dual-track wooden roller coaster with nearly an 8-story drop and 10 hills.|
|Tango||2006||Rocking, spinning ride for families|
The Golden Kingdom opened in 2005 with Kingda Ka on what was Bugs Bunny Land, the park's old kiddie-section. This section of the park is themed with many bamboo plants, stone temples, and more.
|Kingda Ka||2005||Strata-coaster, the tallest roller coaster in the world. Themed as a bengal tiger, the queue line takes riders through bamboo plants, and past the launch track.|
|Splashwater Oasis||2005||Jungle-themed children's water play structure|
|Safari Discoveries||2011||Guests will be able to get up close and personal with a variety of different animals from kinkachoos to sea lions.|
Golden Kingdom is also home to three llamas, which are near the entrance to the area on Aldabra Island, formerly home to aldabra tortoises. Golden Kingdom is expected to receive an expansion, since one of the major paths in the area is closed off.
Previously Fortune Festival, the Boardwalk section of Great Adventure has many games commonly found on boardwalks, boardwalk restaurants, and many of the park's larger flat rides. This area of the park was also previously themed as Edwards Air Force Base, and many of the theme elements from then still exist now, including "Latrines", and the Parachute Tower's name. The section also has a slight boardwalk-influence to its rides.
|Dare Devil Dive||1996||Skycoaster, UpCharge|
|Great American Road Race||1999||Go-karts, up-charge|
|Green Lantern||2011||Stand-up coaster, featuring 5 inversions|
|Rockwall||UpCharge attraction, rockwall|
|Slingshot||2011||Tall, slingshot ride, upcharge|
|Superman: Ultimate Flight||2003||Flying coaster, featuring 2 inversions|
|The Twister||1999||Top Spin|
- The Best of the West – Pit barbecue ribs, pulled pork, burgers, grilled chicken, salad, beer – Frontier Adventures
- Nathan's Famous – The Boardwalk
- Johnny Rockets – Main Street Frontier Adventures, Plaza Del Carneval
- Primo's Pizzeria Featuring Famous Famiglia – The Golden Kingdom, MovieTown and Main Street
- Panda Express – Lakefront
- Carnegie Deli – corned beef, pastrami, turkey, roast beef sandwiches (white, rye, or wheat), garden salads, pickles, desserts – Main Street
- Cold Stone Creamery – Main Street, Movietown, Golden Kingdom
- Ben and Jerrys – Fantasy Forest, The Boardwalk and inside The Character Cafe
- The Character Cafe – burgers, chicken strips, salads – Main Street
- Johnny Rockets/Papa Johns – Looney Tunes Seaport
- Backlot – traditional food – Movietown
- Granny's Kitchen – fried chicken – Adventure Alley
- Ted's Cheesesteaks – The Boardwalk
- Mama Flora's Cucina – Italian food – Adventure Alley
- La Cocina – Mexican food – Plaza Del Carnaval
- New England Hot Dog – Premium Hot Dogs with unique toppings – Looney Toons Seaport
- Coca-Cola Freestyle – Coca-Cola drinks flavored as-you-like – Fantasy Forest
|1974||Safari Park and Enchanted Forest (amusement park) open. Rides (with manufacturer information included): Carousel, Sky Ride, Giant Wheel, Super Round Up, Runaway Mine Train, Log Flume, Flying Wave, Traffic Jam, Swiss Bob, Calypso, Matterhorn, Woodland Express, Grand Prix, Pretty Monster, Antique cars, and Big Fury.|
|1975||Rides added: Jumbo Jet, Enterprise, Poland Spring Plunge, Lil' Thunder, Super Cat, Schwabinchen, Wild Rider.|
|1976||Rides added: Musik Express replace Happy Feeling petting zoo; Pretty Monster moved to current site of tea cups.|
|1977||Rides added: Monster Spin replaces Pretty Monster in current tea cup spot, Gondola (added then removed at end of season)|
|1978||Rides added: Lightnin' Loops, Wild Rider, Scrambler, Haunted Castle Across the Moat-a single haunted walk-through attraction added for then named Halloweekends.|
|1979||Rides added: Rolling Thunder, Spin Meister [since removed], second side of Haunted Castle built for regular season; Grand Prix cars removed at end of season.|
|1980||Buccaneer and Adventure Theater added; Six Flags Great Adventure Rail Road removed at end of season.|
|1981||Roaring Rapids [Now Congo Rapids] added; Wild Rider removed.|
|1982||Joust-a-Bout added [since removed]|
|1983||Bally runs Six Flags; Stuntman's Freefall [since removed] and Parachuter's Perch added (the latter came from Six Flags St. Louis)|
|1984||Haunted Castle is destroyed by fire, killing eight visitors.Sarajevo Bobsled added; Rolling Thunder Coaster 2's trains run backwards (known as "Rednuht Gnillor")|
|1985||Looping Starship added (later known as Space Shuttle).|
|1986||Ultra Twister (TOGO heartline coaster) added; Matterhorn is removed and sent to Six Flags Atlantis in Hollywood, Florida, Swabinchen removed at end of season.|
|1987||Splashwater Falls [later known as Movie Town Water Effect] added; Scrambler moved to Swabinchen location; a management change at the end of 1987 re-emphasized family values at the park|
|1988||Condor debuts on site of Calypso; Sarajevo Bobsled removed and sent to Six Flags Great America|
|1989||Great American Scream Machine added; Ultra Twister removed before end of season and sent to Six Flags Astroworld|
|1990||Shockwave added from Six Flags Magic Mountain|
|1991||Adventure Rivers (in-park street-clothes rubber-raft water slides) added (removed for 1999); Condor and Swiss Bob removed.|
|1992||Time Warner purchases Six Flags and renames the former Enchanted Forest section "Action Town" and builds the Batman Stunt Show Arena; Lightnin' Loops removed mid-season and is sent to Adventure World in Maryland and Frontier City in Oklahoma, Shockwave removed at end of season and sent to Six Flags Astroworld|
|1993||El Sombrero (Swabinchen) added to Frontier Adventures, Batman: The Ride opens in May; Action Town becomes Movie Town|
|1994||"Right Stuff: Mach 1 Adventure" (Iwerks turbo simulator) added (runs Elvira Superstition during Fright Fest)|
|1995||Viper debutes in June|
|1996||Skull Mountain, Enchanted Tea Cups, and Lethal Weapon Stunt Show added|
|1997||Dare Devil Dive – a 155 ft (47 m) tall Skycoaster added, Batman & Robin: The Chiller is built but only operates briefly this season|
|1998||Batman & Robin: The Chiller opens regularly this season; the Adventure Rivers dry slides and Sky Pilot are removed at the end of the season in order to expand the ride offerings for 1999|
|1999||Medusa (now known as Bizarro), Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train, Road Runner Railway, Looney Tunes Seaport (themed kiddie area), and Houdini's Great Escape added; a large collection of flat rides promoted as a "War on Lines" include Spinnaker, Time Warp, Pirate's Flight, Evolution, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Pendulum, Rodeo Stampede, Chaos, Twister, and Jolly Roger; "Escape from Dino Island 3D" replaces "Mach 1 Adventure;" Gotham City Carnival of Chaos replaces the Batman Returns Stunt Show; Hollywood Animal Actor Show occupies Bandstand on the Lake for one season; Great American Road Race (up charge go-cart track) opens on former queue for Mach 1|
|2000||Hurricane Harbor water park opened as a separate admission park; employee housing (Six Flags University) opens on former site of ball field; Spinnaker removed after the season ends.|
|2001||Nitro opens on April 7; short-lived Season Pass entrance opens; Slingshot and Turbo Force (up charge rides) debut; Viper stands but does not operate all season; El Sombrero, Centrifuge G Force (scrambler), and Time Warp are removed|
|2002||Pirate's Flight is removed by the start of season; The Summer of Festivals features a new theme and new exhibits each week through summer in central park; Viper reopens; Chiller's trains are modified by removing the shoulder restraints|
|2003||Evolution is removed before the season starts and sent to Six Flags St. Louis; Superman: Ultimate Flight opens on April 17; ErUPtion (upcharge attraction) added; "Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure" is brought back for one season; Jumpin' Jack Flash only operates for a few hours in 2002 and 2003 and its removed at the end of season, Pendulum is removed by the end of season and sent to Six Flags Great America|
|2004||SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride replaces "Right Stuff;" Batman: The Ride's supports are repainted midnight blue with yellow track, Main Street's buildings are repainted and new landscaping is added; the Season Pass Entrance and Bugs Bunny Land are discontinued at the end of season|
|2005||Chiller and Great American Scream Machine are repainted; Safari tours bring guests through the Safari via vans from The Northern Star Arena; The Golden Kingdom themed area debuts with Balin's Jungleland (children's play area), Temple of the Tiger (tiger exhibit), and Spirit of the Tiger (educational tiger presentation), Kingda Ka opens on May 21; Viper is demolished in June to make room for a new roller coaster; Taz Twister, Rodeo Stampede, and Chaos are removed (Stampede was sent to Six Flags Over Texas)|
|2006||Spin Meister is removed by the start of the season, Red Zone wins a take over battle of Six Flags and increases prices on admission, parking, and other items within park; Bugs Bunny National Park opens in March; Runaway Train's track is repainted orange, its supports are repainted red, and its trains receive new single t-bars; Flying Wave's opening is delayed by two months due to refurbishment; Plaza Del Carnaval, the re-themed Spanish section, opens just before Memorial Day, the Carnegie Deli restaurant also opens that weekend on Main Street; El Toro opens on June 11; Rolling Thunder is closed for most of the spring and two of its four trains are used on one side during most of its operation; Kingda Ka only runs two trains throughout the year; the Batman side of The Chiller opens on May 5 for the first time since 2004, the entire attraction is closed on June 2 and remained closed for the entire season after an incident on the Robin side; Stuntman's Freefall, Riptide, and Koala Canyon (the last of the former Adventure Rivers attractions) are removed|
|2007||Batman & Robin: The Chiller reopens but is closed permanently on June 28 due to more malfunctions; Wiggles World opens; Autobahn receives several new cars; Ben and Jerry's opens three locations in the park, a Cold Stone Creamery is added to the Quenchers building next to the Carnegie Deli, The Great American Hamburger is transformed into Johnny Rockets Express and Wok & Roll becomes Panda Express; Kingda Ka has four trains running, all four trains on Rolling Thunder are racing for the first time since 2005, a package pickup system has been established for merchandise with a pickup location by Guest Relations; Movie Town Water Effect is demolished during the offseason.|
|2008||The Dark Knight, a new indoor roller coaster based on the film of the same name, is added; SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride is removed for a new ride called "Fly Me To The Moon;" two more Johnny Rockets and one more Coldstone Creamery open in the park; Old Country and Houdini's Great Escape are closed; the Super Teepee is destroyed in a storm and removed; Six Flags institutes a new locker policy to reduce the amount of loose articles brought into the station, $1 Lockers are available at each major coasters for one-time use of up to two hours; Cabanas are available for rental in Spin Meister's location; Space Shuttle and Flying Wave are removed|
|2009||Medusa goes under a complete overhaul and becomes Bizarro, opens on May 23; the Big Wheel is repainted to resemble what it looked like in 1974; Mr. Six returns and is now a character in the park, he has a dance party every couple of hours (including 12:30 pm, 3:30 pm, and 6:00 pm) and does a small dance in the morning when the park opens; a cyber cafe opens next to the Carnegie Deli in Main Street. The Parachute Tower is re-painted with a blue, red, orange, and yellow paint scheme in September and Houdini's Great Escape is re-opened exclusively for Fright Fest.|
|2010||Hurricane Harbor adds a ProSlide Tornado scheduled for opening on Memorial Day Weekend, the water park's first new slide in nearly a decade. Many buildings on Main Street are refurbished and given fresh coats of paint. Fly Me To The Moon is closed for the season in preparation for a new major attraction for the 2011 season. The Great American Scream Machine is demolished to make room for the Green Lantern roller coaster.|
|2011||Green Lantern, a green B&M stand-up coaster, is introduced at the end of the Boardwalk to coincide with the release of the Warner Bros. film of the same name. Slingshot, an upcharge attraction, is added, replacing erUPtion, also on the Boardwalk. Tango, a family ride, Bugaboo, a children's ride, and Foghorn Leghorn's Stagecoach Express, a mini-train ride, are all reopened after each spending at least a season standing but not operating. Fantasy Fling is repainted red and renamed "Tornado", since its sponsor is the food item Tornadoes. Coca-Cola Freestyle, a new refreshment restaurant featuring over 100 flavors of soda, opens, replacing Jersey Shore Candy.|
|2012||SkyScreamer is added into newly themed adventure alley section, along with fender benders and Déjà Vu, as well as Air Jumbo
Safari is closed on September 30. The Safari undergoes major renovations and redesign during the winter to unite Six Flags Great Adventure as one property.
Golden Ticket Awards
Many of Six Flags Great Adventure's most thrilling roller coasters have placed in Amusement Today's annual Golden Ticket Awards. Below is a table with coasters at Great Adventure and their highest ranking in the Golden Ticket Awards.
|Roller Coaster||Highest Rank|
|Nitro||3 (2007 – present)|
|El Toro||1 (2012)|
|Medusa (Bizarro)||9 (1999)|
|Kingda Ka||25 (2008)|
In 2012, Six Flags Great Adventure, along with the Garden State Film Festival, was awarded the Tourism Achievement Award. Both were presented the award for their contributions to improving the economy of the bi-county area through the use of tourism.
During the Halloween season, Six Flags Great Adventure is redecorated with spiderwebs, smoke machines, and other Halloween related decorations. Workers dress up in scary costumes and walk around to frighten guests, as they once did at the Haunted Castle. Fright Fest typically starts at 6 pm, and children twelve and under are given whistles (which are given out for free) which drive away the workers in case they get too scared. Fright Fest has some of the heaviest crowds of the season. Fright Fest gets more and more crowded as it gets closer to Halloween.
One of the most popular attractions at Fright Fest every year is the theatrical production of Dead Man's Party, a live dance show with popular music that draws hundreds of viewers for every showing and has attained an almost cult-like local following.
The show in the former Right Stuff building has been changed most years to feature a Halloween themed one instead. The first year of the change the original Dino Island was shown. Since then, it has been replaced by Elvira's Superstition which is a motion simulator ride through a haunted roller coaster Elvira has designed. The last time this show operated was November 1, 2009 because the theater was closed and began the process of demolition for a future attraction. Fright Fest is also home to the The Manor, Insanity:Gears of Mind, The Toxic Wasteland, and Voodoo Island Terror Trails in the 2012 Season.
- "Six Flags Great Advent". NJ Today. 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
- Toni Salama (August 6, 2006). "On safari in Animal Kingdom". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Newspapers. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- "Great Adventure Original Proposal". Great Adventure History. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Wilson, Earl (June 19, 1974). "Coming Soon: Jungle Safaris in Jersey". The Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 17. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
- "Safari Park To Open In New Jersey". Reading Eagle. May 12, 1974. p. 42. Retrieved March 6, 2011.
- "Fire Kills Eight at Great Adventure". Philadelphia Inquirer. May 12, 1984. Retrieved April 22, 2010. "Eight people died last night in a suspicious fire at the Haunted Castle attraction at the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson Township, N.J., authorities said. State police said they were investigating the possibility of arson. ..."
- Seifert, Jeffrey; Slade, Gary (2011). "Timeline: Six Flags Corporation". Amusement Today 15 (5): 23B.
- James Reid-Anderson Named Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, PR Newswire, August 13, 2010.
- MacDonald, Brady (November 25, 2010). "Six Flags amusement parks prepare for thematic makeovers". LA Times. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- American Coaster Enthusiasts New Jersey Region (February 10, 2012). "just announced...". Facebook. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
- Six Flags Great Adventure (February 13, 2012). "Six Flags Great Adventure Announces Massive, Cobra-Themed Water Slide for 2012". Press Release. Six Flags. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Six Flags Great Adventure (September 1, 2011). "Six Flags Great Adventure Announces New Attractions for 2012". Press Release. Six Flags. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Six Flags Great Adventure (September 26, 2010). "So much going on...". Facebook. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
- Janson, Donald (July 12, 1985). "Baden Criticizes Inquiry by Jersey into Park Fire". New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2010. "A 14-year-old patron in the castle before the fire, Joey Iraca, has testified for the state that he had seen a patron accidentally set the fire with a cigarette lighter by brushing its flame against a foam wall pad. He testified that the person with the lighter was a boy his age that he talked to that day but did not know. ..."
- "Council Presents Awards". Asbury Park Press. May 11, 2012. p. 4. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Six Flags Great Adventure|
- Six Flags Great Adventure Official Website
- Six Flags Great Adventure at the Roller Coaster DataBase
- Gadv.com Great Adventure Online
- Great Adventure Outpost
- Dead Man's Party Video from SFGA's 2007 Fright Fest