Update: Safari Off Road Adventure

It looks like our predictions were right! On September 30, 2012, it was announced that Six Flags Wild Safari will be combined into Great Adventure for the 2013 season as Safari Off Road Adventure. Guests will travel into the world of the fictional Wilds Family in open air Safari vehicles, up close to the animals, and over rugged terrain.

Read the full press release from Six Flags

Six Flags Wild Safari to Discontinue Allowing Guests to Drive Through

By: Brian Shinsec
August 24, 2012

Guests get a close encounter with giraffes.

When you think of amusement park wildlife exhibits, a few names that might come to mind include Sea World, Animal Kingdom, or perhaps even Busch Gardens Tampa. However none of those boast a unique drive through exhibit quite like Six Flags Wild Safari. The Wild Safari, located next to Great Adventure, is the largest drive through safari outside of Africa, boasting 350 acres of land and over 1200 animals. To be able to drive up right next to a rhino, a zebra, or an antelope is a truly unique experience, or at least it was. On August 20th, 2012 it was announced on the park's Facebook page that the safari will discontinue allowing personal vehicles to drive through the attraction at the end of September 30, 2012. We expect an announcement on August 30, 2012 concerning the parks plans for the Wild Safari in 2013.

Many people, including myself, have very fond memories of driving through the safari. As a kid it was better than going to a zoo because you could enjoy it from comfort of your parent’s back seat. Although it was a rule to keep your windows closed, many guests ignored this and got an even closer encounter with the animals by offering them treats. Before a fence was erected alongside the road in the baboon exhibit a few years ago, it was common to have monkeys climb on your car. Occasionally you would see them breaking off antennas and challenging their keepers to remove them from atop exiting vehicles.

We don’t know for sure why Six Flags has made the decision to end the era of being able to drive your personal vehicle through the Safari. It could be due to decreasing attendance and popularity of the attraction, especially since it is no longer included with a regular theme park admission. Another reason could be the lack of ability to control the interactions between guests, their vehicles, and the animals. The safety of the animals is sure to also be a primary concern and it is possible animal rights groups played an influence on the decision. Perhaps they simply want to revitalize the safari and offer a new way to experience it. Whatever the case may be, the future of the Safari is uncertain and we look forward to the announcement to see for sure.

Until then we can speculate that there are several possibilities for what may happen to the Wild Safari. One option would be for the park to only offer the Safari Express and Close Encounter Tours they currently offer. Another possibility is attraction like Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In this attraction guests are driven and guided on a fictional mission through the animal exhibits to "save" an elephant from poachers. An attraction like this could draw in more guests, add an additional level to the experience, and provide increased capacity. These expeditions could be launched from the Golden Kingdom section of the park where it would fit in well with the current theme. It would also revitalize the section of the theme park since the removal of the majority of the children’s area Balin’s Jungeland and the conversion of the former tiger exhibit into Safari Discoveries. Most importantly this would really give Six Flags Great Adventure the opportunity to create a family style attraction that would rival the big guns of the industry and preserve a cherished part of the park.

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