We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for a special mid-week installment of The Voyage of DH…
If you grew up in New Jersey anytime after 1974, then you know the words “Great Adventure.” Officially billed as Six Flags Great Adventure after the Six Flags corporation took ownership in 1977, Great Adventure is the premier amusement park in New Jersey, located in Jackson, New Jersey. For much of its history it has been one of the largest amusement parks on the East Coast of the U.S. The park has also had a long-standing safari, which originally was designed for you to drive your own car through the safari, although since a recent redesign, you are now driven through by park employees on large 6×6 trucks. With the amusement park and the safari, Great Adventure is the second largest theme park in the world (via Wikipedia).
Beginning in 2013, I have taken my niece to Great Adventure for her birthday celebration, as she and her uncle spend the day riding roller coasters, eating junk food, playing games on the midway for prizes, and having a wonderful time. When we first went, she had not been on a real, grown-up roller coaster, so after riding kiddie rides all day, she finally worked up enough nerve to try Rolling Thunder, an all-wooden coaster (since torn down) that was very much a grown-up ride. After one ride, she was hooked, and has now become a roller coaster aficionado, like her uncle. This year, we set a personal record: five roller coasters in one day, plus some water rides to cool off.
To really help illustrate the rides, I thought I would post some YouTube videos that others have done while onboard the rides. I’ll present the videos in chronological order from our trip today. Please note, these videos were done live, so passengers’ more… colorful language… might be heard.
We began with Runaway Mine Train, which was one of the original rides in the park, opening in 1974. 60 foot maximum height, 39 foot initial drop, 38 miles per hour over a 2,665 foot long track, and a maximum g force of 2.6:
We then went to El Toro, a wooden roller coaster that opened in 2006. 181 foot maximum height, 176 foot drop, 70 mph over a 4,400 foot long track, max g force of 4.4:
Next, we moved to Batman: The Ride. Opening in 1992, you sit in the car with the track above you, your feet dangling in the air as you go. 105 foot maximum height, 85 foot drop, 50 mph maximum speed over a 2,700 foot long track, maximum g force of 4:
Before lunch, we decided to try one more coaster: Nitro. Opening in 2001, Nitro has a maximum height of 230 feet, an initial drop of 215 feet, accelerates to 80 mph over a 5,394 foot long track, and has a maximum g force of 4.4. It was both my niece and my first time riding it:
After a quick lunch, we hit two water rides: Congo Rapids (opened 1979) which is a man-made river rapids attraction, and the log flume (opened 1974), both of which are designed to get you soaked, a nice treat on a hot day. We then decided to try our luck at one last coaster before we left: Bizarro.
Bizarro (originally opened as Medusa in 1999, renamed with a Superman-universe name in 2009), is a sit-down coaster with no floor- your feet dangle as you power through 7 loops, a maximum height of 142 feet, an initial drop of 132 feet, a maximum speed of 61 mph over a 3,985 foot track, and a max g force of 4. It was breathtaking:
Our day over, we headed back to DH and drove to the restaurant that my niece and I always visit when we hang out together: The Pop Shop. A cafe and creamery located in Collingwood, New Jersey, the Pop Shop essentially recreates the neighborhood soda fountain, so popular in America in the 1930’s – 1960’s. The highlights are 34 different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches, all-day breakfast, excellent burgers, and a seven-page ice cream menu.
Today was a wonderful time together for my niece and I. Someday, I’m sure, it won’t be cool to hang out with her uncle anymore, so I treasure these days, and the memories we create and share. As far as special birthday locations for kids (of any age) go, you can do far worse than Great Adventure. Thanks for coming along on this special Voyage of DH. Now back to your regular programming!
‘Til next time.