Six Flags Great Adventure announces end to drive-through safari

Posted | Contributed by Mike Gallagher

After Sept. 30, private cars will no longer be allowed through the wildlife preserve at Six Flags Great Adventure, park officials said Monday, ending an experience that was part nature expedition, part road trip and hated by animal rights activists almost as much as it was enjoyed by animal gawkers. The park will close after that date, a month sooner than it would normally shut down for the season.

Read more from The New York Times.

sws's avatar

Well that's a shame. We thought it was a very fun and unique experience.

LostKause's avatar

I'm sure that what they have planned for the animal safari will be pretty cool. I believe about 98% that it will have an entrance inside the park next year.

Jason Hammond's avatar

I was thinking the same thing. With more of a controlled tram service.

880 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries My YouTube

eightdotthree's avatar

A hotel with tram service would be amazing!

LostKause's avatar

I don't know what would be more cost-effective, or even if that's what they would want. They could try to simulate Disney's Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari´╗┐ ride, with Jeep or hummer-sponsored operator-driven vehicles, or they could go with a Monorail like Kings Island used to offer. It HAS been done before at various parks in various incarnations, but maybe they will add a twist like the ill-fated Busch Gardens Tampa Rhino Rally rain effects and flooded canyon raft section.

Another possibility just smacked me in the head... What if the park built enclosed habitats for the animals and opened a walk through zoo? It could be separate admission or included with the park.

I am fairly certain that the entrance to whatever they will do to the safari will be within the park itself.

Last edited by LostKause,
bjames's avatar

Entrance inside the park=huge increase in park entry fee. Great plus for $ix Flags!

LostKause's avatar

Huge increase? Maybe in attendance, but I don't think we will see a significant rise in the front gate price.

How about we see who is right when the time comes. ;)

DejaVuNitro's avatar

An animal park included with admission? I can see it now: Six Flags WORLDS of Great Adventure ;)

I'm sheriff of this here rollercoaster.

I've been going to GAdv since it..and the Safari...opened in 1974, and I've never been through the Safari..just not my thing. I am glad the animals will remain and be cared for, even if I have no interest.

I'm sure one of three things will happen:

It will remain as is, with trams and guided tours only OR

It will remain as above with the land area decreased, to allow expansion if the ride park..there's nothing out there beyond Toro, Bizarro, and the Arena OR

It will open as a walk-through zoo ala ZooAmerica at Hershey, with shelters and cages.

Of course, all of these options were alluded to in previous posts..I'm just seconding (or thirding or fourthing, in some cases.)

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

LostKause's avatar

SFGAdv's Facebook reads that the Wild Safari “will discontinue allowing guests to drive their own vehicles through its gates on September 30th, 2012”.´╗┐

Going by the way that was carefully worded, I believe that the park will be allowing guests to be riding in the park's vehicles in the near future.

We just went to SFGA and the Safari was almost the best part. Had a lot of fun on the coasters of course, but seeing all those animals with nothing but window glass between you was probably the most memorable part of the visit. Some sort of tram would be a good way to experience it. That way everyone can enjoy the animals and you don't have to worry about the other drivers. Although you would probably lose the ability to set your own pace. Walking it would not be fun - it's a huge space. Even driving it took at least an hour. Besides, if it was walking, it would become just another zoo. It's unique and superior to a zoo as it is now.

1 hr from MiA, 1996 CP Employee
delan's avatar

Bummer!! The red butted baboons on the top of the car was always a highlight. I can see how someone with a Mercedes would be hesitant to drive thru with the possibility of animal damage.

I live about 45 minutes from SFGA and used to go there all the time when I was younger, and never did the Safari.

I always heard stories about monkeys pissing on your car and stuff LOL.

They closed off the monkey area a few years ago (and even before that there was a bypass road you had the option to take to avoid the area). That was my favorite part of the safari.

Although it was cool to drive through the safari, I'm not going to miss it that much especially since in around 75 trips to the park since 2008 I have only gone to the safari twice. I just hope that with the new vehicles they will be using, it will be enough. The safari at Disney is around a 20 minute ride but driving through the safari at Great Adventure could take an hour if you stopped to look at the animals. Even without stopping much, I could still see it taking 30 - 40 minutes so they are going to need a lot of vehicles for capacity.

I think your going to see a train put in like Busch Gardens Tampa. Then private VIP tours with Jeeps.

I do hope a hotel pops up at the place.


delan's avatar

:-) True, we dont want the baboons going all rogue looking for rooms again. (That post by Vater was the funniest in Coasterbuzz history imho)

DaveStroem's avatar

I have done the Safari on most all of our park trips. There is something magical about driving next to a Rhino or a Giraffe. The problem that I always had with the self drive safari was the idiots that went on it and then opened their windows and fed the animals what ever crap they had with them. Our visit a few months ago had one NY family feeding pretzels to the giraffes. I have also seen people feeding french fries and bread.

The giraffes also seemed to take a liking to the salt spray on the cars in the early spring months.

I will be slightly sad seeing it go, but glad that the animals will no longer be exposed to idiots and their junk food.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

bjames's avatar

LostKause said:

Huge increase? Maybe in attendance, but I don't think we will see a significant rise in the front gate price.

Right now the safari has a separate gate with a separate admission. When they fold the safari into the park, they're going to lose out on all the money they were getting from the safari when it was separate.

On top of that, if they don't increase the park admission, they're greatly increasing the value of a park admission because now guests get to visit the safari park too. It's not generally good business practice to increase the value of a product for no reason.

Six Flags will either have to increase admission price or sharply cut expenditures on the safari park or both.

I generally don't have a lot to contribute, and I am sorry to butt in now, but there are two things I have to say;

1) I have been through the safari on 50% of the occasions which I have been to Great Adventure. The scariest moment of my amusement park career happened within its confines. Our air conditioning konked out about 1/4 of the way into the safari. I cracked my window about 2 inches to let some air in. (it was in July when this happened) I turned to the left to look at some ibex or antelope and lo-and-behold when I looked to the right to see what was there; an ostrich had stuck its head into our car and was two inches in front of my face. I squeaked, the only time in my life that that has ever happened, and it turns out that that was the wrong thing to do. The ostrich started to squawk loudly and thrash around. If anyone remembers the State Farm commercial with the buffalo, that would have helped. All three of us in the car started to freak out therefore the ostrich did to. Eventually the ostrich got its head out of the car and we moved along. There were no animals harmed in this incident.

2) I feel that there is a need for this type of attraction. Not every person will be willing to go to a zoo. If there were an option at a local amusement facility, to experience nature, no matter how staged, many people would pay money to experience nature without the Nature.

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