Six Flags Great Adventure
is a theme park
in Jackson Township
, New Jersey
, located 67 miles from New York City
, 60 miles from Newark
and 50 miles from Philadelphia
. It is located next to Six Flags Wild Safari Animal Park and Hurricane Harbor
water park. It serves as the amusement park for one of the biggest and most well-known metropolitan areas in the world. Owned by the Six Flags
brand of amusement parks, Great Adventure is known for roller coasters
such as Nitro
, Superman: Ultimate Flight
, Batman: The Ride
, Great American Scream Machine
and Rolling Thunder
. The park is home to the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster Kingda Ka
(as of 2008
), and has the tallest, fastest and one of the steepest wooden coasters, El Toro
. The theme park started its 34th season on April 5
Restaurateur Warner LeRoy planned an entertainment complex in 1972 capitalizing on the back-to-nature movement of the era. He proposed seven parks that would flow naturally in the woods and around the lakes on property then owned by the Switlik family. An amusement park, safari, show park, floral park, sports complex, a campground with a beach and stables, a shopping district and hotels would connect to one another via boat, train, sky ride and a monorail.
Hardwicke Industries built safari parks in Canada and Europe and collaborated with LeRoy in planning the parks on the Jackson Twp. property. They set out to open the seven parks in stages over a 5-year period. However, elements of four of the planned parks were combined to create one amusement park, the Enchanted Forest.
The Enchanted Forest was built to look as if it appeared through the eyes of a child. Almost everything was designed to look bigger-than-life. A Big Balloon that loomed over the park's entrance was the biggest hot air balloon in the world. The Log Flume was the longest log ride in the world and it accompanied a giant Conestoga wagon, log cabin restaurant and 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 only smaller-than-real life attraction 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.
The miniature village was an idea taken from the proposed Over the Rainbow floral park. A tree of snakes, carousel, antique cars, koi pond, children's playground (called Kiddie Kingdom,) petting zoo (named Happy Feeling) and Gingerbread Fancy (now Granny's Country Kitchen) were also borrowed from the floral park concept for a section of The Enchanted Forest that surrounded the park's main midway, Dream Street.
Dream Street was named after a "shopping extravaganza" 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 amusement park. Fairy Tales was a shop that opened with the park in one of the park's oversized bazaar tents. It sold stuffed animals and toys, including Superman! 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.
The Enchanted Forest and Safari opened on July 1st 1974. 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 spin 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 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 Fourtune Festival was a new game section that was located where the Boardwalk section exists today.
In 1976, the park's entrance was moved to a new central location. The entrance is still in use today. It was designed with an outer mall named Liberty Court and its Federal style architecture was influenced by the celebration of the United States bicentennial. An inner mall named 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 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.
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 pirate ship, a rapids ride, a flying carpet ride and drop towers, all before the park's tenth anniversary.
One rather large portion of LeRoy's vision for the amusement park that never surfaced was dark rides. Although 'Man, Time and Space,' 'The Keystone Cops' and '(Alice) Down the Wishing Well' never came to be, the Haunted Castle Across the Moat took its cue from the rooms and monsters of the 'Transylvanian Haunted Castle.'
Like several other Six Flags theme parks, including Six Flags Great America, it has the potential to draw huge crowds from its location between two major metropolitan areas. New York and Philadelphia are an easy reach for inner-city crowds who tend to dominate the park on Saturdays. Suburbanites seem to prefer the weekdays. Teens are also a heavy draw on Friday and Saturday nights and Fright Fest nights.
Changes to the park in 2008
- The Dark Knight roller coaster, an indoor wild mouse steel roller coaster with hair pin turns and thematic elements, opened on May 15th. This ride is located in the Movie Town area of the park, across from Batman: The Ride.
- Fly Me To The Moon 3D is a replacement movie for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride.
- "Rise & Scream" is an event when two of the park's roller coasters (Kingda Ka and Nitro) will open exclusively to season pass holders an hour before the park opens to the general public. This year, the event will be held on June 7, July 5, and August 2, all of them the first Saturday of each month. During the 2007 season, "Rise and Scream" took place on Mon-Thurs. mornings from June through August.
- The Games Department added a new service, the Prize Pick Up, to the Boardwalk Area. Guests can now store individual large prizes or a souvenir bag filled with multiple smaller prizes for a small fee. The Prize Check stand closed on September 14, with future plans unknown.
- The Glow in the Park Night Parade replaced the Parade that ran during the day for the past two years.
- Old Country, a smaller section that is home to the Autobahn bumper cars and Musik Express has closed. It is undetermined what will happen with this area. The Old Country Picnic Grove will remain open.
- Houdini's Great Escape in the Fantasy Forest will remain closed.
- Movie Town Water Effect and Batman & Robin: The Chiller have been removed from Movie Town to give room for The Dark Knight Coaster
- The Flying Wave swing ride has been removed from Fantasy Forest
- The Space Shuttle inverting ship has been removed from the Boardwalk.
- Old Country Basketball has moved across from its old spot and been renamed Super Shots, while the Old Country Skee-Ball and Dip Bowl remain closed since the end of the 2007 season.
- Plaza del Carnival's games center has removed its games in favor of cranes only, with the Shootout water race game moving to the Boardwalk, and the Whac a Mole moving adjacent to the Big Wheel.
- The Swisher basketball game has moved from its original location and the four sets of hoops have been split between the former location of the "Fool the Guesser" game outside of Nitro and the former location of the Strike Em' Out baseball game. The baskets were moved to make room for the Games Prize Check. (See above)
- The shootout race game, moved from Plaza Del Carnival, was placed next to the Roll-A-Ball game in the Games Square. Blast off, the game that preceded Shootout, was moved closer to the skycoaster ride.
- The HandCrank ride was removed from Looney Toones Seaport. It was replaced with a path leading to the old Koala Canyon Restrooms.
On May 21, 2005, the park debuted Kingda Ka, the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster. Kingda Ka has a top speed of 128 mph (206 km/h) and rises to a height of 456 feet (139 m), which beat the previous marks of 120 mph and 420 feet set by Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point.
The ride can carry 18 people per train and has a ride capacity of 1400 people per hour with all four trains running. In 2006, it was run with only two of the four trains throughout most of the season; as of 2007, all four trains are running once again. Despite this high turnover, the attraction still tends to have the longest waits in the park: Even on light days, when the wait times for other coasters are less than 5 minutes, Kinga Ka may have waits up to two hours.
Due to its speed, it is the only coaster in the park that automatically closes when it rains. (Other coasters in the park almost always remain open unless thunder or lightning are nearby.) On very windy days, the ride may not make it over the tower; this is known as a rollback and the ride is designed with this possibility in mind.
Due to its high reliance on flawless performance, Kingda Ka has had a history for breaking down; early incidence averaged about 7 times a day. Problems ranged from failures involving the powerful hydraulic launch mechanism to the many brake fins to current weather to even the simple hydraulics which shift a piece of track at both ends of the station (to accommodate the four trains). As of 2008, reliability has improved to levels comparable to other coasters in the park.
On June 11
, Six Flags opened El Toro
, a roller coaster at the center of a Mexican-themed section called Plaza Del Carnaval. The coaster differs from traditional wooden roller coasters in that it runs on a prefabricated track. This wooden roller coaster also held the record for the steepest drop on a wooden roller coaster (76 degrees), until it was beaten by T Express
. This ride provides massive amounts of "ejector air time" or the feeling of lifting out of your seat, especially when riding in seats at the back of the train. Coaster Fanatics, an online forum for coaster enthusiasts around the world, ranks El Toro as the #1 coaster, beating out Superman: Ride of Steel by a few hundredths of a point.
On April 7
, the park opened Nitro
. It stands 230 feet above the ground and travels at speeds up to 80 mph. Nitro was the tallest and fastest coaster in New Jersey until the opening of Kingda Ka
in 2005, which far surpassed it in both categories. Nitro is widely respected as one of the world's top coasters. The ride continues to be extremely popular due to its novelty in both structure and speed. Nitro's very high reliability, 36-seat trains and simple restraints that can be checked very quickly by the attendants result in wait times that are relatively short for a coaster this popular. The one mile track features no inversions, but includes six camelbacks
, a hammer head turn
and a double helix
. Each rider is secured by their own individual lap restraint, with four riders to a single row. The coaster featured signs which compared points on the lift hill to other tall structures such as Niagara Falls. These signs have been removed.
Superman: Ultimate Flight
On April 17
, SFGAdv installed a B&M Flying coaster. The ride consists of overbanked turns and two inversions: a 78 foot pretzel loop and a 360 degree in-line twist at the very end of the ride.
The Dark Knight
On May 15
, Six Flags opened The Dark Knight
. It is an indoor ride with a pre-show, a pre-load station, Gotham City subway cars and Batman thematic elements in the ride. It is a MACK Rides Wild Mouse
and sits on the former location of Movie Town Water Effect. The height restriction is 42" with an adult and 48" to ride alone.
Main Street is the first area a visitor encounters upon entering the park. It's home to several of the park's primary shops, street characters and eateries such as Carnegie Deli, Papa Johns, Johnny Rockets Express, and Cold Stone Creamery. Main Street Fountain is a focal point for groups to meet up and it's a landmark for finding the park's exit. Guest Relations, stroller rentals, Package Pickup and The Looney Tunes Shoppe are located in the buildings on the left side of Main Street and funnel cakes, fudge, candy, urban clothing and MySixFlagsPhotos are sold in the buildings on the right. Main Street Market sells Great Adventure souvenirs and is located in the center of Main Street. FlashPass and Ben and Jerry's and Dippin' Dots ice cream is sold beyond the fountain. Fort Independence is home to Dolphin Discovery, an exhibit that showcases bottle-nose dolphins and sea lions. It is located at the end of Main Street by the Lakefront.
Fantasy Forest runs through Main Street and is the main midway which connects the east and west sides of the park. It includes Big Wheel
, the Carousel
, one end of the Sky Ride
(the other is in Frontier Adventures), Enchanted Teacups
, Fantasy Fling
, The Character Cafe'
and Granny's Country Kitchen
The Lakefront runs along the lake, parallel to Fantasy Forest. It is home to Skull Mountain
, Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train
(small family roller coaster), Buccaneer
(pirate ship) and Jolly Roger
(spin ride). A Panda Express
is located here, adjacent to Skull Mountain.
Movie Town is home to The Dark Knight roller coaster The Dark Knight, the park's new heavily-themed, indoor wild mouse roller coaster
. Nitro and Batman: The Ride
are located here along with Studio 28 Arcade
, Justice League Headquarters
and Papa Johns
. Showcase Theater
and Movie Town Stunt Arena
will not be open to guests in 2008 but are available to rent out for large groups for a nominal fee.
Located to the left of the entrance, the Boardwalk is home to The Great American Scream Machine, Superman: Ultimate Flight, Fly Me to the Moon 3D (a simulated experience that shows the journey of three flies that stow away in a space ship to the moon), Twister (a Top Spin (ride, a parachute tower, a launched pay attraction called ErUPtion, a Nathan's Famous restaurant and one of the world's largest games midway featuring traditional [[Boardwalk
Frontier Adventures is home to Medusa, Runaway Mine Train,Saw Mill Log Flume
, Skyride and The Northern Star Arena
concert venue. This western area features a larger-than-life Western Fortress
, Conestoga Wagon
and log cabin restaurant known as The Best of the West
. Frontier Adventures can be reached by The Golden Kingdom, Bugs Bunny National Park, and a bridge (Which is currently blocked off because of numerous boards collapsing into the water under it) in Plaza Del Carnaval by El Toro. The section used to include a small western town which was re-themed as part of the Golden Kingdom in 2005 and a Mexican section which became Plaza Del Carnaval in 2006. A stage show at the base of the Runaway Mine Train called "Runaway Country" appeared in 2006.
Looney Tunes Seaport
In 1999, the slides of Adventure Rivers were dismantled to give way to this section which features rides that adults can ride along with their children. It is located past Fantasy Forest behind Wiggles World in the top-right section of the park. It's also home to Congo Rapids
river boat ride.
Bugs Bunny National Park
This new for 2006 children's section is located between Frontier Adventures and The Lakefront. Six children rides include small versions of the Ferris wheel, carousel, a Himalaya
ride, plus a samba tower (tea cups on a tower,) a kiddie train-type ride and another airplane ride which propels the rider in the air by using a joystick
. The Looney Tunes
show We Got the Beat
returned in the newly-named Wilderness Theater
(formerly Bandstand on the Lake.) It stars Bugs Bunny
and Daffy Duck
among other characters. Looney Tunes characters roam the park and a water tower drops cold water on guests in the hot months. Food can be purchased at Looney Tunes Camp Kitchen
(formerly Bandstanza and McDonalds).
The Golden Kingdom
, the world's tallest, and fastest roller coaster, is located here and Balin's Jungleland is at the center of the section. It has 4 children spin rides, 1 junior train and dry and wet slides, nets and other play elements for children. The park's six bengal tigers
Balin, Hara and Chandi, rare golden tabby cubs Kingda Ka and Raina, and white cub Kiril call The Golden Kingdom their home. The tigers are featured in a 15-minute Spirit of the Tiger
educational presentation who can be viewed up close at the Temple of the Tiger
exhibit before sundown. A Papa John's
is located in the section by the entrance of Bugs Bunny National Park. This land made up the entirety of Bugs Bunny
Land, part of the parking lot, as well as part of Frontier Adventures before being redeveloped in 2005. The section can be reached by the entrance at the Top Spin
ride in the Boardwalk games square, the Four Tent area of The Boardwalk and Plaza del Carnaval.
Plaza del Carnaval
This section features the park's two wooden coasters, Rolling Thunder
and El Toro
. Other attractions include a gentle ride named Tango
, a merchandise kiosk named El Mercado
and an eatery named La Cocina
. This area was called Hernando's Hideaway
when created in the late 1970s to accompany the opening of Rolling Thunder. Time Warner
redeveloped the park's themed lands and combined this southwest-themed area with Frontier Adventures. In 2006 this area was transformed back into its own section for the debut of El Toro. Plaza del Carnaval can be reached by the Temple of the Tiger side of The Golden Kingdom and from a bridge by Medusa in Frontier Adventures.
In 2007 Six Flags Great Adventure opened this new section, themed on The Wiggles
. It is the park's fourth children section and it hosts a show featuring Wiggles supporting characters Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Captain Feathersword and Henry the Octopus. No actual main character Wiggles appear in the show, however, despite continued advertising that features them, which disappoints children. All four of the Wiggles (Greg, Murray, Jeff, and Anthony) did make a live performance on May 27th, 2007. Part of Looney Tunes Seaport
's ride area was used to create Wiggles World.
- The Best of the West - Ribs, burgers, pulled pork, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, roasted corn, soup, salad, beer - Frontier Adventures
- Nathan's Famous - The Boardwalk
- Johnny Rockets - Main Street Frontier Adventures, Plaza Del Carneval
- Papa Johns - 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
- Coldstone Creamery - Main Street
- Ben and Jerrys - Fantasy Forest, The Boardwalk and inside The Character Cafe
- The Character Cafe - traditional food - Main Street
- Johnny Rockets/Papa Johns - Looney Tunes Seaport
- Backlot - traditional food - Movietown
- Granny's Kitchen - fried chicken - Movietown
- Ted's Cheesesteaks - The Boardwalk
- Mama Flora's - Italian food - Fantasy Forest
- La Cocina - Mexican food - Plaza Del Carnaval
Notable events by year
- 2008: The Dark Knight A new indoor roller coaster based on the new Batman Movie. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride is removed after a 4 year run for a new ride called Fly Me To The Moon. 2 more Johnny Rockets and 1 more Coldstone Creamery open in the park. Old Country and Houdini are closed as a cost-cutting measure. Space Shuttle (an Intamin AG Looping Starship) and Flying Wave are removed. Turbo Bungy moves to Flying Waves spot. Bungy's space is replaced with a Joggling show. The Super Teepee is destroyed in a storm and removed. Six Flags instites 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 2 hours. Prizes won at games can now be stored in a Prize Check-in area within the main Boardwalk area. Cabanas are available for rental in Spin Meister's location. When entering a specific roller coaster ride, a narration has been added in the loudspeaker. Six Flags also refused to pay an employee for his first day of work which totals up to about $60.
- 2007: Batman & Robin: The Chiller reopens but is closed on June 28 due to more malfunctions. It was removed late in the season after multiple failed attempts at repair. Wiggles World opens. Autobahn receives several new cars. Ben and Jerrys opens 3 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 and 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. While street and character entertainment is prevalent, few sit-down shows have been scheduled for the 2007 season. Ride operations significantly improve, reducing wait times. Movie Town Water Effect is demolished during the offseason.
- 2006: Spin Meister is removed by the start of the season. Red Zone wins a take over battle of Six Flags and increases the admission by $10, increases the parking fee by $5, the annual parking pass by $15, increases food prices slightly, increases the amount of closed rides and increases the length of downtimes of rides while decreasing the number of units used on roller coasters and decreases the variety of food available in the park. Bugs Bunny National Park opens in March. The Runaway Train's track is repainted orange and its supports are repainted red and its trains receive new single t-bars. The ride spends parts of the season closed as the new restraints needed modification. 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 soon follows on June 11th; 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 5th for the first time since 2004. The entire attraction is closed on June 2, 2006 after an incident on The Robin side. Neither track reopens for the rest of the season. Days after El Toro opens, park manager Ron Severt abruptly resigns. Many think it was due to abrupt cutbacks about to occur at the park. Overtime is eliminated for employees shortly after. Most of the park's shows are ended in the next month. Many rides are closed as much as they were open. Stuntman's Freefall has a spotty season of operations and Riptide spends most of the season closed. Freefall, Riptide and Koala Canyon (the last of the former-Adventure Rivers attractions) are removed as shown on in the off season. Batman: The Ride is repainted in bright yellow as well.
- 2005: Chiller and Great American Scream Machine are repainted. Safari Tours bring guests through the Safari via vans from The Northern Star Arena (for one season;) 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 May 21st. Viper is demolished in June to make room for a new roller coaster. Taz Twister and Rodeo Stampede are removed in September, the later is sent to Six Flags Over Texas; Chaos, a ride with numerous operating problems at various parks is removed after season ends.
- 2004: SpongeBob SquarePants: The Ride replaces The Escape from Dino Island; Batman: The Ride's supports are repainted midnight blue with yellow track; Main Street buildings are repainted and a new landscaping team brings new beauty to the park. The Season Pass Entrance and Bugs Bunny Land are discontinued at the end of season to make room for Kingda Ka and children's area.
- 2003: Evolution is removed before the season starts and sent to Six Flags St. Louis where it was rethemed to Excalibur; Superman: Ultimate Flight opens April 17th; ErUPtion (S&S upcharge attraction); 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 where it opened as Revolution in 2004.
- 2002: Pirate's Flight is removed by the start of season and sent to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure (Geauga Lake.) The Summer of Festivals features a new theme and new exhibits each week through summer in central park. Viper reopens. Robin: Chiller's train is modified by removing the shoulder restraints.
- 2001: Nitro opens April 7th; Short-lived Season Pass entrance opens; Slingshot and Turbo Force (up charge rides) debut. Viper stands but does not operate all season. El Sombrero removed before end of season; Centrifuge G Force (scrambler) is removed at end of the season and is sent to Six Flags Over Georgia where it opened as Shake, Rattle n' Roll in 2002; Time Warp is removed after season's end and is placed in the park boneyard.
- 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.
- 1999: Medusa, Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train (Zierer large Tivoli coaster,) Road Runner Railway (Zamperla kiddie coaster,) Looney Tunes Seaport (themed kiddie area,) and Houdini's Great Escape (Vekoma mad house) open. A large collection of flat rides promoted as a "War on Lines" include Spinnaker (Zamperla polyup;) Time Warp (Chance double inverter,) Pirate's Flight (Zamperla balloon flight,) Evolution (Nauta Bussink,) Jumpin' Jack Flash (HUSS Jump,) Pendulum (HUSS frisbee,) Rodeo Stampede (HUSS breakdance 4,) and Chaos (Chance Chaos;) Twister (HUSS top spin) and Jolly Roger (Zamperla regatta) remain in the park in 2008 from this flat ride package. 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;
- 1998: Batman & Robin: The Chiller added in 1997 but in operation for only one day and closed the rest of that season opened regularly in 1998. 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.
- 1997: Dare Devil Dive- a 155 ft. tall Skycoaster
- 1996: Skull Mountain (Intamin indoor in-the-dark family coaster;) Enchanted Tea Cups (Zamperla;) Lethal Weapon Stunt Show
- 1995: Viper (Togo mega heartline coaster) debutes in June.
- 1994: Right Stuff: Mach 1 Adventure (Iwerks turbo simulator) added [changed to Dino Island 3D in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants in 3D in 2004, and Fly Me to The Moon in 2008; runs Elvira Superstition during Fright Fest;]
- 1993: Batman: The Ride opens in May; Action Town becomes Movie Town; El Sombrero (Swabinchen) added to Frontier Adventures)
- 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, renamed Batman the Escape.
- 1991: Adventure Rivers (in park water slides) added, [removed for 1999;] Condor and Swiss Bob removed.
- 1990: Shockwave (Intamin-sold stand up coaster) added from Six Flags Magic Mountain.
- 1989: Great American Scream Machine. Ultra Twister removed before end of season and sent to Six Flags Astroworld
- 1988: Condor (HUSS) debuts on site of Calypso; Sarajevo Bobsled removed and sent to Six Flags Great America
- 1987: Splashwater Falls [later known as Movie Town Water Effect;] Scrambler moved to Swabinchen location; A management change at the end of 1987 re-emphasized family values at the park and slowly rebuilt Great Adventure's freefalling reputation.
- 1986: Ultra Twister (Togo heartline coaster.) Matterhorn is removed and sent to Six Flags Atlantis in Hollywood, Fl. Swabinchen removed at end of season.
- 1985: Looping Starship. (Intamin) [later known as Space Shuttle;]
- 1984: Sarajevo Bobsled (Intamin-sold bobsled coaster;) Rednuht Gnillor Rolling Thunder Coaster 2's trains run backwards; The Haunted Castle is destroyed by fire. (See Incidents at Six Flags parks for more information.)
- 1983: Bally Manufacturing runs Six Flags. Freefall (Intamin 1st generation drop tower) [since removed] and Parachuter's Perch (Intamin parachute drop) added [the later came from Six Flags St. Louis.]
- 1982: Joust-a-Bout (Schwarzkopf Chinese junk flying carpet ride) [since removed]
- 1981: Roaring Rapids (Intamin) [Now Congo Rapids]; Wild Rider removed.
- 1980: Buccaneer (Intamin Bounty pirate ship;) Adventure Theater; Six Flags Great Adventure Rail Road removed at end of season.
- 1979: Rolling Thunder; Spin Meister (Schwarzkopf Enterprise, park model) [since removed;] Second side of Haunted Castle built for regular season; Grand Prix cars removed at end of season.
- 1978: Lightnin' Loops (Arrow Dynamics dual interlocking shuttle launch loop coasters;) Wild Rider (Schwarzkopf wild cat;) Scrambler (Eli Bridge); Haunted Castle Across the Moat, a single haunted walk-thru attraction added for then named Halloweekends
- 1977: Monster Spin (Schwarzkopf monster spin II) replaces Pretty Monster in current tea cup spot. Gondola (Savage, added then removed at end of season)
- 1976: Alpen Blitz (Schwarzkopf alpen blitz II) and Musik Express (Mack musik express) replace Happy Feeling petting zoo; Pretty Monster moved to current site of tea cups.
- 1975: Blue Flower-Power Coaster (Schwarzkopf jumbo jet;) Enterprise (HUSS;) Hydraflume (Arrow hydroflume;) Lil' Thunder (Herschel little dipper coaster;) Panarama Wheel (later known as Lil' Wheel;) Rotor (Chance rotor;) Super Cat; Schwabinchen (Mack hully gully;) Wild Rider (HUSS Troika)
- 1974: Safari Park and Enchanted Forest (amusement park) open. Rides (with manufacturer information included): Carousel (Savage roundabout;) Sky Ride (Von Roll;) Giant Wheel (Schwarzkopf;) Super Round Up (Hrubertz, known as Fantasy Fling today;) Runaway Mine Train; Log Flume (Arrow Dynamics log flume;) Flying Wave (Zierer waveswinger ;) Traffic Jam (Hampton bumper cars;) Swiss Bob (Schwarzkopf bayern kurve;) Calypso (Schwarzkopf calypso;) Matterhorn (Mack matterhorn;) Woodland Express (live steam train;) Grand Prix (race cars;) Pretty Monster; Antique cars; and Big Fury (compact steel coaster)
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.
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 (for an additional fee) 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.
Also,Whatever show in the 3-d theater gets replaced with a halloween themed 3-d ride
There have been a few notable accidents at Great Adventure that resulted in deaths of employees or guests. On August 16, 1981 20-year-old park employee Scott Tyler of Middletown, New Jersey fell from the Rolling Thunder roller coaster during a routine test run. According to a park representative, Tyler "may have assumed an unauthorized riding position that did not make use of safety restraints." Rolling Thunder reopened a day later and still operates at Great Adventure.
The park's worst accident occurred on May 11, 1984 when eight teenagers died in a fire at the park's Haunted Castle attraction. According to a statement by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office the fire started when a guest used a cigarette lighter to find his way through a strobe-lit hall. The flame from the lighter ignited a foam rubber-covered wall. The wall was covered in rubber to protect guests from bumping hard into the wall. One of the emergency exits was blocked off thus many could not get out.
The Castle fire marked the beginning of a string of accidents and incidents at the park. One such accident occurred on June 17, 1987. 19-year-old Karen Brown of Pennsylvania boarded a train on the Lightnin' Loops shuttle loop roller coaster after it had been checked. She died after it was launched into a loop. An investigation by the State Labor Department concluded that the ride itself was operating properly, but the ride operator started the ride without checking that all passengers were secured by the safety harnesses. The Department's Office of Safety Compliance further concluded that the accident would not have occurred had proper procedures been followed. Another incident occurred on the Sarajevo Bobsled ride when an operator advanced a train as a guest was exiting the ride vehicle. After a third incident involving a Safari employee who was knocked down by a camel, the park's General Manager was ousted and two other park officials were moved to other Six Flags parks.
In the case of Lightnin' Loops, the park was found to be in violation of the Carnival/Amusement Ride Safety Act and was subsequently charged with the maximum state fines of $1,000. The ride reopened a few months later with the permission of the Labor Department. It was dismantled in 1992 to make way for Batman: The Ride. Each track was moved to separate parks: The upper loop coaster found a new home in Maryland at Adventure world (now Six Flags America), and was removed in 1999 for Two Face: The Flip Side. The lower loop opened at Frontier City in Oklahoma.
- New York Times; August 13, 1984; "A spate of amusement park accidents, including the Great Adventure fun-house fire that killed eight people in New Jersey and recent fatalities on park rides, has stirred support in Congress for reinstating Federal jurisdiction over safety at the parks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has jurisdiction over the safety of traveling amusement rides, but Congress lifted its jurisdiction over permanent installations in 1981. 'I am very adamant that we have jurisdiction over fixed-site rides,' said the commission chairman, Nancy Harvey Stoerts. 'This issue is critical. There have been 12 deaths already this year and the average is 7.'"