Six Flags Great Adventure Opens Safari Off Road AdventurePosted by r0llerc0ast3r / 24 May : 23:56 After months of waiting, the all new Safari Off Road Adventure at Six Flags Great Adventure has finally opened! Last year, the only drive-thru safari was closed and many guests were upset with the decision.. However, park management wanted to bring the safari to a whole new level and make Six Flags Great Adventure the World's Largest Theme Park! We were fortunate to experience the adventure during the Media Preview Event!
On September 30, 2012 the Drive-thru Safari was closed for a future renovation to make Six Flags Great Adventure one property. This would make the Jackson, New Jersey based theme park the largest in the world! However, before the official announcement, word had gotten out and many guests who frequent the park numerous times throughout the year were very upset. To many, the safari was a great place to create many memorable moments with the entire family. Especially during the era of when the baboons walked freely.
While things have changed over the decades, today May 24, 2013 is a new dawn for the 350 acre animal kingdom. The park has undergone minor cosmetic upgrades and moderate construction during the Winter and Spring months. However, from the official announcement posted by Six Flags Great Adventure you would get the feeling that the entire Safari Park would be completely revamped into something new and exciting. In fact the official promotional site states:
off-road and within close proximity to the animals as they splash through ponds, climb hills and venture over rugged terrain
Pardon me if you feel that I am knit picking a bit but from what was posted you would come to the conclusion the new attraction would undergo extensive reconstruction... It did not... We went through one pond and just drove over grass... Whoa I am getting ahead of myself here! Let me take a step back and discuss the actual Media Preview Event that we were attending.
As we arrived at the park, the sky was turning dark grey and drizzle was beginning to fall. We made our way through registration, a very unneeded metal detector with a security guard who could have been a TSA Agent and a long walk through Boardwalk towards Frontier Adventures. As we rounded the corner passing the entrance of Runaway Mine Train the safari entrance and gift shop came into view.
The new developed area is beautiful, full of animal shaped trimmed hedges, flowers and beautiful wooden structures. But then my eyes navigate to the roofs of the gift shop and station... They were unfinished. I am just going to leave this topic, for now! We made our way around the corner to a podium where a somewhat large crowd despite the threat for rain had gathered.
Within a few minutes the opening ceremony begun and the official countdown was complete. It was time to get in line! I must say that I am quite pleased with the queue line:
So after a very long wait as operating crews worked out bugs we were on our truck and ready to go! Aren't the trucks gorgeous?
The actual ride through the safari was interesting and this is where I will continue my discussion in regards to what did and did not happen during the Winter and Spring months.
The drive-thru safari did undergo minor cosmetic updates including new signs for each of the 7 sections as well as small themed areas including the airstrip posted below:
It was nice to see these updates as the park hasn't been touched in years but I felt a bit of disbelief wash over me as we made our way past Bison, Elk, Lamas, Giraffes, Elephants, Rhinos and Zebras towards Camp Aventura which is the midway stop.
I don't understand...
when the Wild Safari closes its gates for the 2012 season this fall, it will undergo a massive renovation this winter
Am I losing anyone here? There was nothing massive about the renovation at all. Yes maybe Camp Aventura was something completely new:
But in all reality here, nothing was renovated. When I hear the word "massive" I picture new roads, new fences and structures... everything would be revamped. Maybe things will be updated throughout the years as Kristin Siebeneicher, Public Relations Manager does state, "Today you have the opportunity to preview our new safari." So hopefully things will be upgraded and changed throughout the years but I am skeptical. Now I promised myself I wouldn't do this but I run a website regarding the theme park industry. CoasterFusion is a site for information, videos, photos, news and reviews. If I were to post a bogus and sugar coated review you would find the site a joke. Therefore, I choose to speak my mind but please understand this is just my opinion.
Ok back to Earth here... Don't get me wrong Camp Aventura is gorgeous with fresh cut, green grass, a beautiful building housing the many reptiles for viewing:
However, and I seem to use this word a lot Camp Aventura is unfinished:
It's a shame too, I was looking forward to conquering my first zip line today or feeding my first Giraffe... Which by the way, both were closed. I don't get it, your opening a new ride, inviting working media like Channel 6 and 7 News to cover the event and things that would make awesome live broadcasts or segments aren't ready. In fact a lot of the attraction wasn't ready so I don't see why the park even opened it. I mean this was no Kingda Ka or El Toro... There was no extensive vertical construction of steel or wooden structures housing mechanical components. This was a combination of cosmetic work, buildings and landscaping. The Wild Safari closed in September, it is May... It has been eight months... What was going on!? How can it not be ready for opening day?
After a small break and free bagels we got back in line and set off on the second part of the Safari... During the first portion it was pouring so I was already soaked therefore I could have cared less if I continued to get wet. But before leaving the station the plastic flaps were rolled down and somewhat buckled into place. Well, there went any chance of me recording anything from the later portion of the attraction. But I did manage to slip my camera outside the truck to take a picture of this new retaining wall that was built for the lions:
The truck drove over the retaining wall that turned into a bridge and on the left hand side there was no fence giving you a perfect view! Back to the flaps which got in the way of our view...
Considering the plastic flap was smack dab in front of my face the second portion of the safari which included lions, tigers and bears oh my... was on the boring side. As we drove by the tigers our tour guide thanks us for coming out as we exit the safari. This was it, this was the icing on the cake... Where were the Baboons!? I couldn't believe this portion was left out.
That could change though during the Summer season along with a lot of other things. Therefore, Joe and I will not be writing this off just yet. We think the attraction definitely has room for improvement and potential. But we ultimately feel the park wasn't ready to open the "renovated" attraction.
Even though, much hadn't changed since September 2012 (in the safari at least) the ride is a great addition no matter what. It brings the Safari closer to the park, it allows families to enjoy something on the more adventurous side (instead of an enclosed vehicle) and it also enhances the educational aspect of the safari with very well informed tour guides who direct your attention from the right and left of the truck throughout your entire journey. Does anyone remember going through the Wild Safari where you turn your radio to a certain station and a narrator discusses the text book aspects of each species... When was the last time you got that educational station static free and could actually understand it? So the addition of live tour guides is a great idea and really gives the ride a boost.
So we will be going back sometime during the regular Summer season for a re-evaluation and hopefully everything posted in this review is overturned. Maybe there are things that will be added, changed or updated... Look for that update in the future!