We’re fans of the Six Flags theme parks, mainly because their “Go Big” ad campaign clearly shows a shared appreciation for BIG entertainment. Yet, I was skeptical when I heard this spring that Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ was going to be the world’s largest theme park.
However, based on the recent addition of the Safari Off Road Adventure, the acreage is now up to 510, larger than any other theme park. Also, this park is home to Kingda Ka, the world’s tallest roller coaster. Matt wasn’t told until we got there that his job would be to ride Kingda Ka and report on the experience.
We really enjoyed the Safari Off Road Adventure, a totally reworked version of the old Wild Safari drive-through attraction which was there for years. Now, you and about 25 others board an all-terrain vehicle, which mainly travels along a paved road, but also does some off-roading. The on-board video tells the story of the fictional Wilds family, who run the outpost and take care of the animals living there.
Because it’s a new attraction, I probably don’t need to tell you that the lines are going to be long. You want to get there when it opens to minimize your wait. On the day we went, the Safari opened at 10:30 am for season pass holders, and 11:00 am for everyone else. We didn’t know that in advance, so we had to wait a half hour anyway. Also, the animals are generally most active in the morning.
The Safari park is home to 1,200 animals from six continents, and they’re separated into different themed areas, like Didgeridoo Pass, Afrikka, and the Wilde Plains. The guides provided a lot of interesting tidbits in their narration. I learned, for example, that ostriches have two sets of eyelids, and elephants weigh 100 lbs. when they’re born.
While you’re kept at a distance from the lions, you do get really close to other animals. At one point, a giraffe came over to say hello. The Girl didn’t know whether to giggle or shriek, so she did a little of both. The Boy perfected his ostrich face by pursing his lips and looking bothered. Collectively, everyone on board went “Awww!” when we passed a mama black bear playing with her cubs.
We spent the rest of the day trying to convince Matt to ride Kingda Ka. Looking up at its 456-foot drop, it kind of takes your breath away. It’s nearly as tall as the Montreal Tower, the world’s tallest inclined tower, which we climbed in the securely contained comfort of a funicular, not in an open coaster car.
He tried to convince us that he didn’t meet the height requirement.
Ultimately, the “line was too long.” He tried to make amends by riding the Runaway Mine Train with The Boy, which in coaster terms is like riding a bike with training wheels.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to do at Six Flags, and we filled our day in the Bugs Bunny National Park for little kids, Fantasy Forest with its classic carousel and teacups ride, and the Lakefront area with its Jolly Roger ride. Our bravest venture was to ride the Skyway cable car from Frontier Adventures to the Lakefront!
The day wound down, as all the best days do, with the purchase of a shiny new superhero cape and a cup of ice cream.
Six Flags Great Adventure
1 Six Flags Boulevard, Jackson, NJ 08527
Disclaimer: Six Flags Great Adventure provided my family with media passes to visit for the day.