|Six Flags Great Adventure|
Jackson, New Jersey, USA
Six Flags Great Adventure is a theme park located in Jackson, New Jersey. It is owned and operated by Six Flags. The park contains eleven themed areas, three of which are especially built for small children. The park also included, up until 2012, the world's largest drive-through safari, which is being renovated for the 2013 season. Six Flags Great Adventure also features the world's tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka, and the winner of the 2012 Golden Ticket Award for best wooden roller coaster, El Toro.
Real estate tycoon, Warner LeRoy, wanted to open a Walt Disney World-like resort in the pine barrens of New Jersey. He wanted to take guests through different worlds and get up close and personal with animals. Although, New Jersey did have a short-lived animal park in the 1970’s, similar to Great Adventure’s safari called Warner Bros. Jungle Habitat (note, this was not owned by LeRoy). But Jungle Habitat had safety flaws and was an insurance nightmare, so it was closed in 1976. But, LeRoy improved the drive-through safari and made it safer. Throughout the early 1970’s, Great Adventure slowly rose, turning into New Jersey’s premier destination for thrill-seekers and families of all ages.
On July 4, 1974, New Jersey’s premier destination for families opened. Boasting many new rides, a 500-acre wild safari, and an entertainment complex. Great Adventure became a hit with families and thrill-seekers alike. The park takes families into a world of fantasy with lands such as Neptune’s Kingdom and Strawberry Fair section. Every childhood dream imaginable was incorporated in the design of Great Adventure. Thrill-seekers had two rides to make them scream, the first being Runaway Train, an Arrow Dynamics Mine Train coaster; the other option thrill-seekers had to get their adrenaline rush was through the Log Flume (now known as the Saw Mill Log Flume). Families had numerous flat rides throughout the park as well, including a giant Ferris Wheel called the Giant Wheel (eventually renamed Big Wheel when the ride lost the record for the world‘s largest Ferris Wheel). The wheel was the tallest structure in the park at opening, standing at 150 feet tall, and manufactured by famous designer Anton Schwarzkopf.
The first season of the park was a success, and 1975 brought three new coasters and another major ride. The major ride? One of the very first Arrow Hydro Flumes ever made. Hydra Flume opened in 1975 (now known as the Poland Springs Plunge). Thrill-seekers had three coasters as well. The first, Big Fury (defunct), has little written about its history. From what little that is known, we can say that it shared a similar layout to a Wildcat/Zyklon-style coaster. The second big thrill was Jumbo Jet, another coaster manufactured by Anton Schwarzkopf (defunct). Sadly, this thrill was built but never opened to the public. It is rumored that this Jumbo Jet was the same one that opened the next year at Morey's Piers and operated there until 1987, but this has never been confirmed. The last thrill, exclusively for the younger thrill-seekers, was called Lil’ Thunder, a Herschell Little Dipper coaster (defunct). The next year brought no new rides but did bring a new main entrance for the park.
1977 was a huge year for the park, the first was the removal of the Big Fury coaster at the end of the season. But, that wasn’t what made the year so big, in Fall 1977, when Six Flags bought the park. Warner LeRoy kept his interest in the park alongside Six Flags ownership until selling it in 1993. The 1978 season came, and Six Flags Great Adventure added two new roller coasters. Lightnin’ Loops, a pair of Arrow Dynamics Shuttle Loop coasters that duel each other at the loops. Just when you thought Great Adventure was already great, Six Flags made it greater one year later. For the 1979 season, Great Adventure added a new pair of racing wooden coasters called Rolling Thunder. Designed by William Cobb, Rolling Thunder would be Great Adventure’s only wooden coaster for years until 2006’s El Toro. Also added in 1979 was the Haunted Castle, a walk-through attraction that guests wandered around a maze while being spooked by actors and props.
Upon entering a new decade, the park added a new flat ride for the 1980 season, Buccaneer. An Intamin Bounty thrill ride, Buccaneer swings riders back and forth in a giant swinging ship. The year after, 1981, brought a drenching and popular new river rapids ride, Roaring Rapids. Being the Northeast’s first rapids ride, Roaring Rapids takes riders through an artificial river filled with rapids; riders are bound to get soaked. 1982 brought a new games area after the old games area caught fire over the off-season. To complement the new area, a new flat ride was added. Joust-A-Bout, a Schwarzkopf Junk flat ride was added in 1982. 1983 brought two big, giant, and tall thrill rides. The first? Parachuter’s Perch, an Intamin Parachute Tower ride relocated from Six Flags over Mid-America (now Six Flags St. Louis). It stands at 250 feet tall, making it both the tallest structure in the park and New Jersey at the time of opening. Also added was Freefall, an Intamin Freefall tower that was the first of its kind. In 1984, the park got a brand new roller coaster that was short-lived, to celebrate the 1984 Winter Olympic games, Great Adventure added Sarajevo Bobsleds. An Intamin Bobsled coaster, the ride was short-lived at the park due to Six Flags’ Ride Relocation program. Sarajevo Bobsleds took riders through a twisted course that resembled a bobsled course. Also in 1984, a huge fire devastated the Haunted Castle attraction and in 1985, the park spent five-million dollars on adding a water tower and sprinkler system in every building. Also added that year was Looping Starship, an Intamin Looping Starship ride that flips riders upside down.
In 1986, Great Adventure unveiled yet another state of the art thrill ride. The first TOGO Ultratwister coaster in America simply called Ultra Twister. The ride is basically one long pipeline with an airtime hill and three heartline rolls. The ride suffered from a lot of downtime due to the vertical lift hill but remained a hit during its stay at the park. In 1987, a new wet thrill was added to the park, Splashwater Falls was added. An OD Hopkins Shoot-the-Chutes ride, Splashwater Falls did what it said, a ride that falls down a drop and drenches crowds nearby. Also in 1987, a major accident occurred on Lightnin’ Loops and had one of the riders fall to their death after not being restrained.
In 1988, Bugs Bunny and his friends invaded Great Adventure with their own section taking over the Shirt Tales area. Bugs Bunny Land opened up and became a place where kids rule at the park. Also added was Condor, a flat ride that made people fly like birds in the sky. But 1989 would bring the park its biggest thrill ever at the time… a mammoth at 172 feet high, speeds of 68 mph, and seven twisted inversions. It was so big, the Sarajevo Bobsleds coaster had to be removed for this ride (the ride was moved to Six Flags Great America). It is none other than, The Great American Scream Machine. Manufactured by Arrow Dynamics, “GASM” became the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster, but that record was short-lived, the record was then beaten by Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Viper one year later. Also, Ultra Twister was removed in 1989, preparing for its new home at the sadly defunct Six Flags Astroworld theme park.
The next decade didn’t stop the park from adding more intense thrill rides. In 1990, the park added Shockwave, a stand-up roller coaster from Six Flags Magic Mountain that was made by Intamin AG. The ride became a hit but was short-lived. Two years later, the ride was moved to Astroworld. In 1991, the park just couldn’t get any wetter than this, a new themed area filled with “dry” water slides called Adventure Rivers. The area included several slides themed after rivers around the world. But an unusual feature about these slides, rafts were used so guests in the area didn't have to change into swimsuits. The next year, 1992, the park added a new Movietown section themed after Warner Bros’ movies, attractions included the Batman Stunt Show being added to the newly themed area. Also, Lightnin’ Loops waning popularity after the 1987 incident caused the ride to be removed as a factor. The two coasters were then relocated to Wild World (now Six Flags America) and Frontier City, where Frontier City’s coaster still operates and Six Flags America‘s coaster rotting away in a field. What would replace Lightnin‘ Loops? None other than the dark caped crusader himself…
In the early nineties, a revolution was made in the roller coaster industry. The long-fabled and dreamed concept of the inverted roller coaster finally came to life with Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America in 1992. After the success of Batman, other parks wanted to build one of these then-innovative coasters. After the removal of Lightnin’ Loops and the addition of the Movie Town area, it seemed like a clone of Batman: The Ride would come. It did, in 1993, as Batman: The Ride opened up as the Northeast’s first inverted roller coaster. With five twisted inversions maneuvered suspended below the track, Batman became a huge success for the park. In 1994, two newly rethemed sections were built. The first being the addition of a new motion simulator theater called The Right Stuff: Mach-1 Adventure, causing a retheme of the Parachuter’s Perch ride into the Edwards AFB Jump Tower. Also, the Old Country section received a facelift with a new ride, the Autobahn bumper cars.
The park added another unique thrill ride in 1995, the world’s first heartline roller coaster, Viper. Made by the same company that brought Ultra Twister nine years earlier, TOGO, Viper would boast two heartline rolls and a dive loop element. Along with that, Viper’s themed line would be heavily themed and even have a comedy gunfight show inline. But Viper, being a prototype, had its fair share of downtime. Also, its roughness gave it a nickname by enthusiasts of being “a TOGO Death Machine”. The 1996 season brought a thrill friendly for families, Skull Mountain, an Intamin indoor roller coaster, was added.
In 1997, the big-budget movie Batman and Robin was going to open. To advertise this movie, Six Flags Great Adventure added Batman And Robin: The Chiller. Dubbed ‘Chiller’ by enthusiasts, the ride was built by Premier Rides as the park’s first launched coaster since Lightnin’ Loops using innovative LIM (Linear Induction Motor) technology to launch the trains at a chilling seventy miles per hour. Two coasters were made, each with a different experience. Batman would take riders up a unique top hat element, Robin would take riders through a cobra roll. After that, the ride encounters a barrel roll up into the reversing spike. Like any new innovative ride, it had a fair share of downtime, that the ride had to be closed in 1997 and have the magnets tweaked until they were perfected. The Chiller finally opened in 1998 for regular operation. Also, a Sky Coaster upcharge attraction was added as well in 1997.
1999 would be the park’s big twenty-fifth anniversary. And with that said, the park added twenty-five new rides and declared a “war on lines”. The main addition? None other than the world’s first floorless coaster, Medusa. Made by Bolliger and Malibillard, the ride was the park’s second coaster from the company. Numerous flat rides were built and most of them removed after two years of operation. The war on lines was unsuccessful.
The new millennium came and Six Flags Great Adventure added a third park to its complex. After the removal of Adventure Rivers, the park finally got a definite water park. Hurricane Harbor, an elaborately themed water park, was added. The park became a huge success with the great theming and high-intensity slides. 2001 saw even more additions for the theme park and water park. Hurricane Harbor got its newest water slides, Hurricane Mountain, but it was not as big as the theme park’s addition. Nitro soon screamed through the woods of Great Adventure at breakneck speeds. Opening as the Northeast’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, this high-intensity Speed Machine coaster from Bolliger and Mabillard. With heights over 230 feet and speeds of eighty miles per hour, Nitro became a huge success for the theme park. But, Nitro wasn’t big enough for the park, they wanted bigger and faster, like all parks. Minor improvements came next year, as a new Slingshot upcharge attraction was added and Batman and Robin: The Chiller received new trains with lap bars, replacing the painful OTSR’s.
- The park’s fourth roller coaster from Bolliger and Mabillard came in 2003. It wasn’t a man, not a bird, nor a plane, but it was Superman: Ultimate Flight. A modified clone of the Six Flags over Georgia version of the ride, Superman took riders flying towards new heights. The Northeast’s first flying roller coaster was a huge success for the park. Also added in 2003 was another upcharge attraction, ErUPtion. In 2004, the park was all about entertainment, first off, a new motion simulator film replacing 1999’s Dino Island ride. Everybody’s favorite critter living in a pineapple under the sea became Great Adventure’s newest simulation experience in Spongebob Squarepants 3D. Also added was a brand new Batman stunt show, Batman vs. Catwoman: Catfight. But on September 29, 2004, Great Adventure dropped the bomb on the biggest addition ever in the park’s history for the 2005 season. Replacing the aging Bugs Bunny World area with a new, highly-themed jungle paradise known as the Golden Kingdom. The Golden Kingdom would come with a brand new kids' area, various animal exhibits, and last but not least, the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster. None other than the king of the jungle, Kingda Ka, an Intamin rocket coaster that blasts riders at speeds nearing 130 miles per hour and touching the sky at a whopping 456 feet in the air. Following the tall top hat, riders are given an extra jolt of airtime on a camelback hill before hitting the brakes and coming back into the station. Kingda Ka, despite its huge success, had its problems. Like its sister coaster, Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point, the ride had constant downtime and was shut down for most of the summer season.
But Great Adventure was not done with the huge thrills, despite Ka’s problems. Throughout the 2005 season, the unpopular, downtime haunted Viper was removed for another big thrill. In September 2005, Great Adventure announced the Northeast’s largest overall wooden roller coaster. El Toro, a wooden roller coaster from Intamin, was announced. The coaster marks Great Adventure’s second wooden roller coaster since 1978’s Rolling Thunder. El Toro takes riders to sheer heights of 188 feet and speeds over seventy miles per hour. The layout? A hybrid between classic out and back and the modern and intense twister layouts. Also being added for 2006 is a new Zamperla Rockin’ Tug ride next to El Toro and a new kid's area called Bugs Bunny National Park. In 2007, Batman and Robin: The Chiller had to close due to technical issues painful ride experience. In 2008, in the area occupied by the Movietown Water Effect, a new junior indoor Wild Mouse rollercoaster was added called The Dark Knight based on the movie with the same name. Also, in 2009 Medusa was rethemed to the Superman villain Bizzaro and they made on-ride special effects like mist and fire.
In 2015, Six Flags announced Holiday in the Park.
- The stand-up coaster Green Lantern came from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.
- The last original coaster added to Six Flags Great Adventure was The Dark Knight is 2008 but, The Jersey Devil is coming out in 2020 which will be the next original coaster.
- Harley Quinn Crazy Train used to be called Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train.
- Bolliger & Mabillard made 5 coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure. Batman: The Ride, Bizzaro, Nitro, Superman: Ultimate Flight, and Green Lantern.
Present Roller Coasters (13)
|Batman The Ride||Bolliger & Mabillard||Inverted||May 1, 1993||Open||Movie Town|
|Bizarro||Bolliger & Mabillard||Floorless||April 2, 1999||Open||Frontier adventures|
|Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train||Zierer||Family||April 2, 1999||Open||Lakefront|
|Dark Knight||Mack Rides||Enclosed||May 15, 2008||Open||Movie Town|
|El Toro||Intamin AG||Wooden||June 12, 2006||Open||Plaza Del Carnival|
|Green Lantern||Bolliger & Mabillard||Stand-Up||May 25, 2011||Operating||Boardwalk|
|Jersey Devil Coaster||Rocky Mountain Construction||Single Rail||2020||Coming Soon||Adventures seaport|
|Kingda Ka||Intamin AG||Launched||May 25, 2005||Operating||Golden Kingdom|
|Nitro||Bolliger & Mabillard||Hyper Coaster||April 7, 2001||Open||Adventures seaport(Movie Town when opened)|
|Runaway Mine Train||Arrow Dynamics||Mine Train||July 4, 1974||Open||Frontier Adventure|
|Skull Mountain||Intamin AG||Indoor||June 3, 1996||Open||Lakefront|
|Superman - Ultimate Flight||Bolliger & Mabillard||Flying||April 17, 2003||Operating||Boardwalk|
|The Joker||S&S Worldwide||4D Free Fly||May 28, 2016||Operating||Lakefront|
Past Roller Coasters (15)
|Batman And Robin: The Chiller||Premier Rides||Dueling||1998||2007||Berto Cerro world (not operating)|
|Big Fury||Unknown||Wild Mouse||1975||1977||No|
|Great American Scream Machine||Arrow Dynamics||Sit-Down||1989||2010||No|
|Lightnin' Loops||Arrow Dynamics||Shuttle||1978||1992||Six Flags America (Top Coaster)|
Frontier City (Bottom Coaster)
|Lil' Thunder||Allan Herschell Comapny||Family||1975||1983||No|
|Road Runner Railway||Zamperla||Kiddie||1999||2019||Unknown|
|Sarajevo Bobsled||Intamin AG||Bobsled||1984||1988||Six Flags Great America|
|Shockwave||Intamin AG||Stand-Up||1990||1992||Six Flags AstroWorld|
|Ultra Twister||Togo||Heartline||1986||1988||Six Flags AstroWorld|
|Wild Rider||Schwarzkopf||Wild Mouse||1978||1981||No|
|Rolling Thunder||Don Rosser||Racing||1979||2013||No|