This New Jersey park claims to be the largest drive-through safari outside Africa. It’s 350 acres, and it does take awhile to drive through. You’ll see something different each time you go through, but at least early in the day, it’s cooler for the animals and you may see more of the 1,100 that live there.
(Of note: on August 30, 2012 Six Flags announced that Wild Safari would close to individual cars starting in the 2013 season. Instead, the park will become a regular Six Flags theme park attraction – Camp Aventura – where guests will ride in open air vehicles driven by park employees. Guests may be able to hand-feed or pet some of the animals. For an extra fee, guests can zip line over the camp. Read the review of the newly opened attraction here.)
Admittedly it was a bit odd in the beginning and end, because you can see Great Adventure rides in the background. It’s hard to picture these animals in the wild, with the Kingda Ka coaster doing its thing. But once you journey a little further inside, you forget about the amusement park (you can’t see it anymore) and just focus on the animals.
It’s a nice park – with signs in each area telling you what animals you’re seeing. They apparently have a CD/DVD you can buy (CD to listen to in the car, DVD to watch at home) – but I didn’t see anything about this on the website.The park has its own vet clinic, and animals are kept in with electric fences. In some areas, the animals do roam around and you need to stop for them on the road. (You aren’t allowed to roll your windows down or get out of the car).Our kids stayed interested: “It’s like a zoo, but better” said Zack.
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Some interesting facts from Wild Safari:
-200 to 300 Canadian Geese babies are born at Wild Safari each year
-American bison there had 12 babies this year at the park (they weigh 30-35 pounds when born, and grow to 2,100-3,000 pounds as adults)
-Rhinos will submerge for up to 5 minutes if a predator is nearby. They’ll come up for air and go back down and change locations if needed. They weigh 3,000-5,000 pounds.
-Rhinos can regrow their horns because they’re made of tightly wound matted hair.
-Peacocks have a train AND tail – the feathers are actually on their back – it’s not their tail
-Male and female ostriches sit on the nest and work together to hatch eggs. They are 8 feet tall and they have the largest eyes of any birds. Their eyes are larger than their brains. Ostriches weigh 300-400 pounds.
-Giraffes are the tallest animals in world – 18 feet tall. They have 4 stomachs (like a cow). They’re the 4-legged animal that walks 2 feet on, 2 feet off the ground. And baby giraffes drop 5-6 feet to the ground at birth, and walk immediately.
-Zebras are white with black or brown stripes. They’re wild horses living in herds (the stallion in charge)
-Black bears can climb a tree almost as fast as a squirrel. So if you see a black bear, don’t try to escape by climbing a tree.
-Female lions hunt. The males eat first, then females. Leftovers go to the young cubs. -Swans mate for life and stay single if its mate dies.
-In the wild, European brown bears cubs are born in hibernation. Their mom doesn’t meet the cub for 2 months – she has to wake up first.
-The male kangaroo is red/brown, while the female is gray. The baby (a joey) is the size of lima bean or fingernail. An adult can jump 22 feet out, 5-6 feet up in the air. The kangaroo can strike out its back leg when jumping – and can kill lion like this. It can also drown a predator in water.
-The white Bengal tiger is a mutation of regular Bengal tiger of India. The Siberian is the largest tiger in the world – 700 pounds It can eat 70 pounds in one meal.
-An emu is not related to an ostrich
Most people drive through in their own car – it’s a 4.5 mile route. You can also take a VIP off-road tour for 2-4 people, with your own guide. That costs $150 a person plus park admission, and you’ll get out of the car to see the giraffes, elephants and lions. We did something like that on our trip (minus the lions), but we got a special deal because we were part of a Boy Scout pack with a VERY well-connected dad.
If you want to take an hour out of your Six Flags Great Adventure day, you can cough up an extra $10 for a bus tour that takes you right from the Great Adventure Park.Just a warning – if you show up close to the opening time, you can expect a big line. There’s one person at the entrance gate, and they need to space out the cars driving through the safari anyway. Read a review of Great Adventure here.
Just inside the entrance (or exit), there’s an area to park, and you can get out of the car and see a few more animals. They also have restrooms and snacks there, and a few animal shows. We met some birds, a kinkajou and the kids got to model this “necklace” for us.
Wild Safari tickets alone are $19.99 a person. You can get a combo discount ticket on the Six Flags website .
You can buy your ticket online and save – the safari upgrade is $10 if you’re buying a Great Adventure ticket. You can also look for Coke cans that have deals on them.
We got free Six Flags Great Adventure tickets for the kids through a reading program at school. They had to read 6 hours and they got free admission to the park.
If you’re planning to go more than once, buy a three-park season pass (it also includes their water park, Hurricane Harbor). And if you can manage to get a group of 15 together, you can get a group discount of $26.99 for a day pass.
Note to Six Flags: your website is horrible. It doesn’t navigate well. I went to the ticket area to find out the cost of just the safari. Under the “daily tickets” area there’s a line that says to “click here for information about Wild Safari tickets.” I clicked and it brings me to the Wild Safari page where the $19.99 price is buried in text. Plus there’s no information on the CD for sale.
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