An End of an Era: A Final Look at the Six Flags Wild Safari as a Self Driven Attraction
By Phil Stilton
Jackson–At 4:01 p.m., as the gates were closing for the final time at the Six Flags Wild Safari in Jackson, the Lynch family from Staten Island, New York were officially recorded as the last family to “roll through the toll plaza” at the drive through. The end of drive-through access to the Safari closed a 38 year chapter in the amusement park’s history.
On August 20th, the company announced the park will no longer allow guests to drive their own cars through the 350 acre animal sanctuary, which is home to 1,200 animals from six different continents.
A week after announcing the closure of the Six Flags Wild Safari park to self-driven automobile access, the company announced their new plans for the Safari. It will be a guided off-road safari adventure similar to Disney’s Safari Adventure. Next season, the park will undergo a transformation that combines the 160 acre theme park with the 350 acre Wild Safari, making it the largest theme park in the world, by size.
“This is a monumental change for the Wild Safari and our guests,” said Dr. Bill Rives, safari director and chief veterinarian. “For nearly 40 years, people have dreamed of more up-close animal experiences with fewer boundaries, and now we can truly deliver a VIP experience to each and every one of our guests ─ and it’s included in their theme park admission.”
After the Lynch family passed through gate, the Stilton family, of Jackson, including myself, my wife Christine, daughter Erin, 9 and son Jack, 3, became the “unofficial” last car to enter the safari, just to keep it real and keep it local. Here’s some of the final pictures taken of the Safari as a self-driven drive-through experience.
Be sure to check the Great Adventure facebook page and Toms River Magazine for off-season updates and we’ll see you next year to give a first look at the new attraction!