To be fair, adults viewing the television commercials for Six Flags Great Adventure can't be faulted for thinking their favorite rides from their youth have disappeared.
After all, the Six Flags company prides itself on being one of the most current amusement park chains, fully leveraging its partnership with one-time owner Warners, Inc. through rides that feature characters from its properties: Batman, Superman and Green Lantern. These are all great thrill-rides, and Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn as well as many Cartoon Network icons dot the park.
But what if you’re feeling nostalgic? There couldn’t be much left for the person riding down memory lane, one presumes. But Great Adventure’s Kristin Siebeneicher says it is quite the contrary.
“One of the original rides still here today is the Carousel. Built in England in 1881, it is one of the oldest operating carousels in existence and toured England’s carnival circuit for 96 years before making its ways to Six Flags Great Adventure,” said Siebeneicher, communications manager for the park. “Our very first roller coaster, The Runaway Mine Train, still operates today, as well as the Log Flume [invented by Six Flags Over Texas, but now a staple in most theme parks around the world], the Skyway [sky ride] and the Big Wheel [Ferris wheel].”
And 2012's additions are meant to evoke nostalgia, she said.
“When completed, Adventure Alley will be full of retro thrills. They include rides that parents will remember fondly from their childhoods—bumper cars, scrambler, flying elephants, swings. We hope that kids today will be able to share in the same fun and excitement their parents enjoyed when they were kids,” Siebeneicher said.
Three of the four new rides will be open by May 23 to the general public, and the bumper cars will follow in June.
"If you’re wondering why we’re introducing new family rides instead of a major new thrill ride, the reason is that in 2011, we conducted a large amount of guest research and what we found was surprising—instead of asking for a new coaster, they wanted more rides that the entire family could enjoy together," Siebeneicher said. "And that is how the concept for Adventure Alley was born."
Early-mid spring is a great time to visit the amusement park. Odds are it will be less crowded than on a summer day, meaning those notoriously long lines to hot rides should be considerably shorter. That's why we've picked Six Flags Great Adventure for this installment of Day Tripper, a weekly look at destinations that are out of town, but in reach, and worth the trip.
DAY TRIPPER DIGEST
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes.
Why it’s Worth the Trip: In New Jersey, you can’t get much bigger than Great Adventure, but the park has recognized that people want to go back and relive fond memories from previous trips, not just be thrilled by the ever-changing shock of the new. Six Flags is looking to strike that balance, and makes a trip more promising than ever.
How to Get There From Here: Detailed driving directions from the municipal complex on Commons Way.
You’ll Probably Get Hungry: Great Adventure has several food outlets and options on-site. If, however, you’re looking for something to eat before or after your day of fun, some options for quick food include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Johnny Rockets burgers, McDonalds or Burger King [near the I-195/Route 537 intersection], Wawa Convenience Store [also near the intersection] or Panda Express. If you’d like a little more of a sit-down, take a short drive down to Java Moon Café, within walking distance from the Jackson Premium Outlets.
While You’re in the Area: And while we’re mentioning Jackson Premium Outlets, the complex is home to stores like Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, The Gap, Izod, Bose Electronics and much more. But let's assume you’re not out to shop 'til you drop a hundred feet in a speeding rollercoaster, and perhaps your taste for adrenaline is a little stronger than most. Great Adventure is not too far from New Egypt Speedway, a long-standing dirt racetrack experience where the racers of tomorrow are cutting teeth today. Rev 'em up!
“Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari opened July 4, 1974, Hurricane Harbor water park opened in 2000. Today, we are three great parks all in one convenient location, offering more diverse thrills for the entire family than any theme park in the Northeast,” Siebenacher said.
And while Great Adventure is looking to bring back warm memories of the past, it has some new experiences to share as well.
“We have five new rides coming to the property this year, and a wonderful new safari tour that allows guests to hand-feed giraffes,” Siebenacher said.
“The theme park offers thrills for all ages, including three children’s areas, shows and a wide variety of thrill rides," she added. "It is best known for its roller coaster collection, which is one of the world’s finest. It includes three of the world’s top ten coasters: El Toro, the world’s No. 1 wooden coaster, and Nitro and Kingda Ka, two of the top steel coasters in the world. We also have 10 additional coasters including Green Lantern, Bizarro, Dark Night Coaster and Superman: Ultimate Fight. Hurricane Harbor’s new addition, King Cobra, is the first of its kind anywhere in the U.S.”