Six Flags in New Jersey is incorporating its Wild Safari into the Great Adventure park proper for a massive, 510-acre theme park.
When the park closes on Sept. 30 for the winter, the safari experience — with 1,200 animals — will be transformed to Safari Off Road Adventure. Rather than driving through the park themselves as they have, visitors will ride in open-air vehicles that can traverse land and splash through water for "that up-close animal experience," park communications director Kristin Siebeneicher said. The off-road vehicles can hold about 30 people each, she added.
"The safari has remained virtually unchanged for 38 years. We felt that it was time to bring it into the present," Siebeneicher said.
Changes will include the addition of bridges and ponds, with some fences being taken down and replaced by less-obtrusive barriers such as moats. All of the animals will remain, Siebeneicher said, and a "camp" area will be added so that people can hop off the ride about halfway for meet-and-greets with birds, reptiles and other of the smaller exotic park residents. Zip line tours will be available from the camp as well, for an additional fee.
"This is not a ride that is on a track," Siebeneicher said. "These are actual CDL (commercial drivers license) drivers driving trucks to where the animals are."
The other thing Off Road Adventure isn't: more expensive. Next year's Great Adventure price will remain what it currently is: $62.99 per person for a season pass. (Lock that price in by purchasing a pass by Oct. 28.)
Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags' water park, will also see some construction during the winter break, with the new Big Wave Racer slide complex joining the many other water rides, likely in summer 2013.