Six Flags Great Adventure

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Six Flags Great Adventure
Previously known as Great Adventure (1974–1977)
Six Flags Great Adventure Logo.svg
Location Jackson, New Jersey, United States
Coordinates 40°8′15.71″N74°26′25.65″W / 40.1376972°N 74.4404583°W / 40.1376972; -74.4404583 Coordinates: 40°8′15.71″N74°26′25.65″W / 40.1376972°N 74.4404583°W / 40.1376972; -74.4404583
StatusOperating
OpenedJuly 1, 1974 (1974-07-01)
Owner Six Flags
SloganThe World's Ultimate Thrill Park
Operating seasonLate March – Early January
Attendance3.22 million in 2016 [1]
Attractions
Total58
Roller coasters14
Water rides2
Website Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure is an amusement park located in Jackson, New Jersey. Owned and operated by Six Flags, the park complex is situated between New York City and Philadelphia and includes a water park named Hurricane Harbor. It first opened to the public as simply Great Adventure in 1974 under the direction of restaurateur Warner LeRoy. Six Flags acquired the park in 1977.

Contents

In 2012, Six Flags combined its 160-acre (65 ha) [2] Great Adventure with its 350-acre (140 ha) Wild Safari animal park to form Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari park. At 510 acres (210 ha), it is the second-largest theme park in the world following Disney's Animal Kingdom. [3] The park is located right off of Interstate 195 and is along Monmouth Road (County Route 537).

History

View of Great Adventure from the top of the Big Wheel, looking east Six Flags Great Adventure view.jpg
View of Great Adventure from the top of the Big Wheel, looking east

Warner LeRoy era (1974–1977)

In 1972, entrepreneurial businessman Warner LeRoy developed concept plans for the Great Adventure entertainment complex, proposing seven parks be built within the complex: An amusement park, a safari park, a show park, a floral park, a sports complex, a shopping district, and a campground with beach/waterpark and stables. [4] His proposal also included plans for hotels, which were connected to the parks and could be reached by boats, buses, a sky ride and/or a monorail. LeRoy wanted his parks to flow naturally through the forest and lakes, capitalizing on the back-to-nature movement of the era. He chose a property then owned by the Switlik family, in an area centrally located between the New York City and Philadelphia regions. The property on County Route 537 had easy access to the newly constructed Interstate 195, which connected central New Jersey to the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) and would eventually (in 1981) connect to the Garden State Parkway.

Since the park's opening, it has been served by in-house emergency services composing of the Fire Department (Ocean County Station 58) and Emergency Medical Service (Ocean County Squad 80). [5] [6] [7]

LeRoy collaborated with Hardwicke Industries, who previously built safari parks in Canada and Europe. Together, they set out to open the seven parks in stages over a 5-year period. After a 4,500 invitation-only guest opening on June 30, 1974, the Great Adventure entertainment complex opened to the general public on July 1, 1974, at a price tag of $10 million. [8] [9] At the time of the opening, only the Enchanted Forest and Safari parks were operational, with elements from five of the other planned parks being used to create the Enchanted Forest.

The Enchanted Forest was designed and built to look bigger-than-life. A Big Balloon was a tethered hot-air balloon that loomed over the park's entrance and was the biggest of its kind in the world. The Log Flume was the longest log ride constructed in the world at that time and it was accompanied by a giant "Conestoga Wagon", an over-sized log cabin restaurant called "Best of the West" and a huge Western Fortress, in the park's Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin' section. The Giant Wheel (now Big Wheel), then the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, and the Freedom Fountain, then the largest spraying fountain in the world, were located on the opposite end of the park. One of the few smaller-than-real life attractions was an outdoor walk-through attraction called the Garden of Marvels. It used working G-scale (o-g scale) LGB trains and boats among models of American landmarks and 1/25-scale recreations of European castles.

Another view of Six Flags Great Adventure from the Big Wheel, looking northeast. From left to right, the coasters are Superman: Ultimate Flight, the now-defunct Great American Scream Machine, Kingda Ka, The now-defunct Rolling Thunder, El Toro, and Medusa. Great Adventure May 6, 2007.jpg
Another view of Six Flags Great Adventure from the Big Wheel, looking northeast. From left to right, the coasters are Superman: Ultimate Flight, the now-defunct Great American Scream Machine, Kingda Ka, The now-defunct Rolling Thunder, El Toro, and Medusa.

This miniature village was an idea taken from LeRoy's proposed Over the Rainbow floral park. A tree filled with snakes, a carousel, antique cars, koi pond, children's playground (called Kiddie Kingdom), petting zoo (named Happy Feeling) and a restaurant named Gingerbread Fancy (now Granny's Country Kitchen) were also borrowed from the floral park concept to create a section of The Enchanted Forest. This section created the park's main midway named Dream Street.

Shoppe Lane was named after a proposed "shopping extravaganza" park, which LeRoy had designed for the property. It lent its large open squares, huge fountain (Main Street Fountain), street performers (clowns and stilt walkers) and shops to the Enchanted Forest. Fairy Tales was the name of a shop that opened with the park in one of the park's over-sized bazaar tents. It sold stuffed animals and toys, including Superman. Other influences from LeRoy's proposal would surface in the years to come.

Neptune's Kingdom was a concept for a lakeside, aquatic show park. From its design came Aqua Spectacle, the home for dolphin performances and high dive shows. Today, the stadium features dolphins but is now known as Fort Independence. Neptune's Kingdom was designed to run the length from Runaway Train to Northern Star Arena, but most of its influences appear in the park's Lakefront area.

Rootin' Tootin' Ready for shootin' opened with Runaway Mine Train on the grand opening on Independence Day. A small compact coaster named Big Fury opened later in the season. The Sky Ride connected two ends of the park with stations in Rootin' Tootin' Ready for shootin and Dream Street. The double sky ride ran originally at the 1964–'65 New York World's Fair. The Great Train Ride was a small train ride that brought guests through a loop of the woods, rather than to a destination of another gate. A small handful of spin rides were located in the Strawberry Fair section and were as close to any thematic journey as the guests were going to take. The Fantasy Fling is older than the park and is the only survivor of these spin rides in 2008.

The Fun Fair area debuted in 1975 with several new spinning rides, a smaller Ferris wheel, and a Schwarzkopf Jumbo Jet roller coaster. The coaster never opened and was removed at the end of the season. A second flume called the Moon Flume was built by Arrow Dynamics to ease crowds on the Log Flume. It was built on the opposite end of the park and the station turntable is used for the stage of the Wiggles show today. The Fortune Festival was a new game section that was located where the Boardwalk section exists today.

LeRoy's original vision for the amusement park featured many dark rides. Although "Man, Time and Space", "The Keystone Cops" and "(Alice) Down the Wishing Well" (among others) never came to be, the Haunted Castle Across the Moat, which was added a few years later, took its cue from the rooms and monsters of the "Hotel Transylvania".

In the early 1980s, the park's entrance was moved to a new central location, which is still in use today. It was designed with an outer mall called Liberty Court, and its Federal style architecture was influenced by the celebration of the United States bicentennial. An inner mall called Avenue of States was adorned by fifty state flags in the central corridor. Six flags remain on Main Street today. The Enchanted Forest name on the park was changed to the complex's main name of Great Adventure. The Strawberry Fair and Fun Fair names were discontinued and the attractions in these areas became part of the newly named Enchanted Forest section. More spin rides, "yummy yummy" food, shows, games and the Safari became a part of "the greatest day of your life." The park became a major attraction with dozens of rides, shows, and several steel roller coasters. The Big Balloon, Happy Kid Ride, The Gondola, Pretty Monster, and Super Cat were the first attractions to be removed from the park before a new owner would make big changes.

Penn Central / Bally's / Westray Capital era (1977–1992)

In 1977, construction began on a steel looping shuttle coaster called Lightnin' Loops (which was removed in 1992). Late that year, however, the park was purchased by Six Flags. This regional theme park company was owned then by Penn Central, which had large stakes in the Philadelphia and New York City regions. Six Flags added rides found in bigger theme parks such as the wooden coaster called Rolling Thunder in 1979, The Buccaneer (a swinging ship from Intamin), Roaring Rapids (now Congo Rapids, an Intamin River Rapids ride), Parachuter's Perch (now Parachute Training Center: Edwards AFB Jump Tower, an Intamin Parachute ride) and Freefall (later Stuntman's Freefall, an Intamin First Generation Freefall), all before the park's tenth anniversary.

A sign warning people not to cut lines Six Flags Great Adventure warning sign.jpg
A sign warning people not to cut lines

1980 saw very few changes. In 1981, the park added a water ride called Roaring Rapids (now called Congo River Rapids). In 1983, the park added a Freefall Ride and in 1984, the park added a roller coaster called the Sarajevo Bobsleds but closed and removed Lil' Thunder, a kiddie coaster, keeping the coaster count to four.

Eight teenagers, including four students and one graduate of Franklin K. Lane High School, lost their lives in a fire at the Haunted Castle on May 11, 1984, [10] [11] sparking controversy over the safety of such attractions. After the incident, new fire safety laws were passed for amusement park fun houses and dark rides.

1986 saw the addition of a second looping coaster and the park's fifth roller coaster, Ultra Twister, with spiral inline twists. The ride was built next to Rolling Thunder, partially taking away the area's western theme. Another water ride called Splashwater Falls (which became Movietown Water Effect in 1992 and has since been removed) was added in which riders rode in a large boat which was pulled uphill and then down a steep waterfall, soaking riders. The new addition was made since attendance at the park had lowered since the Haunted Castle fire, and the park realized new additions were needed to keep the park alive.

Attendance dropped even further when an accident occurred on the Lightnin' Loops roller coaster in 1987. A teenage girl was thrown from the train because she was seated on the wrong side of the shoulder restraint. After the accident, new safety features were added not only to Great Adventure's roller coasters but also to roller coasters around the world. Once again, Great Adventure set both a bad and later good example for the amusement park world. However, the accident was not good for the park's attendance. [12] Attendance was so low, in fact, that in 1987 rumors began to spread that the park may close in a few years. At the end of that season, the park was slated to get a new multiple looping coaster but by the end of the year, it was decided that Six Flags Great America would get the coaster since Great Adventure was not seen as a good investment. At the end of 1988, the park was about to lose its license to sell food, and attendance was so low park management realized a big new addition was necessary.

In the spring of 1988, it was announced that the park would indeed get a new coaster. Sarajevo Bobsleds was removed to make room for the new coaster, The Great American Scream Machine, which opened in April 1989. This coaster had multiple loops and for a month was the tallest roller coaster in the world and brought the park back to five roller coasters. The Scream Machine was removed in 2010 to make room for the new Green Lantern stand-up coaster.

In 1990, as part of a ride rotation program, a stand up looping roller coaster called Shockwave was added to the park. Shockwave had previously operated at Six Flags Magic Mountain. However, Ultra Twister was removed at the end of 1989 and sent to Six Flags Astroworld for the 1991 season keeping the park's coaster count at five. In 1991, the park added a huge complex of "dry" waterslides. While guests got wet on them, they could ride these with regular clothes or swimsuits. These slides were themed after the rivers of the world. Roaring Rapids, as well as the second flume ride in the park, were incorporated into this complex. Roaring Rapids became Congo Rapids, and The Hydro Flume became Irrawaddy Riptide.

Time Warner era (1990–1997)

In 1990, Time Warner acquired a 19.5% stake in Six Flags, then by the end of 1991 acquired an additional 30.5% giving them 50% ownership of the corporation, with the remaining divided equally by silent partners, The Blackstone Group and Wertheim Schroder. [13] Time Warner used the opportunity to advertise and promote their movies through the Six Flags parks. Time Warner purchased the remaining 50% in 1993, then in 1995 sold 51% of the corporation to Boston Ventures. Time Warner, however continued to manage the parks through 1997. [13]

In 1992, the eastern area or Fun Fair area of the park was re-themed Action Town, and then Movietown in 1993. A Batman stunt show was added and the announcement that a new inverted looping roller coaster called Batman The Ride would be added. Lightnin' Loops opened for the first half of the season but was disassembled at the end of July to begin construction of Batman. That coaster was sold to Premier Parks, which at the time was a different company than Six Flags (but would eventually buy Six Flags). Premier Parks put one of the Lightnin' Loops tracks in Frontier City located in Oklahoma City and it still operates today. Premier Parks put the other Lightnin' Loops track in their park in Largo, Maryland (near Washington, DC), then called Adventure World. That track was renamed the Python, which would be removed in 1999. At the end of 1992, the roller coaster Shockwave was removed as part of the "Ride Rotation Program" of Six Flags. Shockwave would be sent to Six Flags Astroworld and would reopen there in 1994 as Batman The Escape. So by the end of 1992, the park was down to just three coasters.

Batman, designed by Bolliger & Mabillard, opened in the spring of 1993 bringing the coaster count back up to four. In 1994, a motion simulator theatre ride was added. Initially, it was an airplane flying themed attraction but has since been changed to a Halloween theme in the fall over the years. A dinosaur theme and a three-dimensional dinosaur theme was also used for this attraction. For several years, it operated as SpongeBob the ride and then as Fly Me To The Moon. For the 2010 season, the attraction did not run and that building remained vacant for future use.

1995 saw the addition of Viper, a steel spiral looping roller coaster similar to Ultra Twister and in Ultra Twister's old spot, bringing the coaster count to five again. 1996 saw the addition of an indoor themed junior roller coaster called Skull Mountain. In 1997, a multiple looping dual track shuttle coaster called Batman & Robin: The Chiller was built but only opened for a day and encountered more technical difficulties. This coaster ended up not opening again until the spring of 1998. This coaster ran rather rough and was referred to as a "headbanger" as was Viper and to a lesser extent The Scream Machine. The Mine Train and Rolling Thunder were also rough rides by then. Also, many flat rides were removed over the years and the park was showing signs of wear and tear, as well as obsolete attractions.

Premier era (1998–2005)

Premier Parks purchased Six Flags from Time Warner and Boston Ventures on April 1, 1998. [13] The following year, the new management team added a dozen flat rides to the park and declared a "war on lines". The Adventure River complex was retired but the flume ride and the Congo Rapids remained. A kiddie water play area also remained as part of a new kiddie ride area called Looney Tunes Seaport. A junior roller coaster called Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train (now known as Harley Quinn Crazy Train) as well as a kiddie roller coaster called Road Runner Railway were also added, but the star attraction was a floorless steel multiple looping roller coaster called Medusa.

No changes were made at the park in 2000, but across the property on a separate parking lot, a Waterpark named Hurricane Harbor was built and opened at the end of May. This was also separately gated and charges a separate admission from Great Adventure. The park consists of a dozen waterslides, a kiddie water play area, and a wavepool.

In 2001, the park added another state of the art roller coaster called Nitro. In 2002, Batman & Robin: The Chiller was renovated and new trains without over the shoulder harnesses were added making it a much smoother ride. In 2003, Superman: Ultimate Flight was added. Exact models of this are found at Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Great America. In 2004, new harnesses were added to the Runaway Mine Train and the up-charge attraction erUPtion was added to the Boardwalk.

In 2005, the park added the world's tallest coaster called Kingda Ka and also dismantled Viper. With the addition of Kingda Ka, the season pass holders entrance to the park was closed because Kingda Ka's footprint went right over it. A new children's play area called Balin's Jungleland was also added. In 2006, a wooden twister coaster called El Toro was added in the spot formerly occupied by Viper, along with a new themed area, and another kiddie ride area to replace Bugs Bunny Land which was retired at the end of 2004.

Shapiro era (2006–2010)

At the end of 2005, a proxy battle resulted in two major stockholders assuming control of the Six Flags Board. The Premier Group was ousted in December and the new board appointed Mark Shapiro as CEO. [13] In 2007, the park added Wiggles World and removed Batman & Robin: The Chiller. The rolls were replaced with banked hills to enhance ride performance. However, the ride closed forever on June 28 due to technical problems with the ride. Disassembling occurred that September. In addition, the path leading to Chiller was blocked off and several rides including Freefall, Splashwater Falls/Movietown Water Effect, and a couple other flat rides were removed.

In 2008, in the area occupied by the Movietown Water Effect, a new junior indoor Wild Mouse rollercoaster was added called The Dark Knight. Motion Simulator Ride ended the SpongeBob theming in favor of Fly Me To The Moon. Also Glow in the Park Parade was added to the entertainment lineup.

Medusa was refurbished over the off-season and returned in 2009 as "Bizarro", a new incarnation of the same ride. The whole coaster, station, and surrounding theme elements were all changed and repainted to go with the new theme of the ride. Bizarro comic strips were put up along the queue line, and special effects and audio were added to the actual ride. The refurbishment brought crowds back to a ride that was beginning to lose its original charm and popularity.

SFGadv Skyline.jpg
Panorama of Great Adventure's skyline in 2006. From left to right: Kingda Ka, El Toro, Bizarro (visible in full size picture), the now-defunct Rolling Thunder, the now defunct Great American Scream Machine, Superman: Ultimate Flight, the now defunct Batman & Robin: The Chiller and Stuntman's Freefall, and operating Nitro.

Weber/Anderson era (2010–2019)

Green Lantern under construction in 2011, the coaster had previously operated at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Greenlantern.jpg
Green Lantern under construction in 2011, the coaster had previously operated at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom

The theme park's parent Six Flags emerged from a 2008–2010 bankruptcy with Al Weber Jr. as an interim CEO and subsequently by Jim Reid-Anderson in August 2010. The company parent also moved its corporate headquarters from New York City back to Texas, where the company started. [14]

For the 2010 season, the Motion Simulator ride Fly Me To The Moon did not reopen and was not replaced with anything and remained vacant. In April 2010, rumors also began that the Great American Scream Machine would be removed at the end of the season. By mid-June, rumors were that the coaster would be removed on July 1. That date came and went but on July 5, 2010, via Facebook, Six Flags confirmed the rumored removal of the Great American Scream Machine on July 18, 2010. The ride closed late on that date and was demolished immediately after to make room for "a major new attraction in 2011." On September 16, 2010, the park announced that the Green Lantern, a standup roller coaster formerly known as Chang at the recently closed Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, would debut in the Boardwalk section for the 2011 season. Green Lantern's lift hill and first drop run parallel to the lift hill of Superman Ultimate Flight, which involved the demolition of a rarely used section of the preferred parking area.

In late 2010, Six Flags began the process of removing licensed theming from attractions. They terminated several licenses including their license with The Wiggles. Wiggles' World was renamed and rethemed to Safari Kids in time for the 2011 season. Also in 2011, eruption was removed. Construction for the new Funtime Slingshot replacing eruption started mid-June 2011 and was recently finished a few weeks after. [15]

In 2012, Great Adventure introduced SkyScreamer , a 242-foot-tall (74 m) Funtime StarFlyer, that soars riders in a 98-foot (30 m) circle at speeds over 43 miles per hour (69 km/h), that opened in the spring of 2012, along with bumper cars, flying elephants, and a musical themed scrambler that opened in the newly transformed area Adventure Alley (formerly Fantasy Forest area around the Big Wheel). On February 13, 2012, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in New Jersey announced a new major water attraction King Cobra , that is the first in the United States. [16] [17] The ride Falls at Hurricane Harbor was proposed to get a transformation, giving it a trapdoor release in 2012, [18] [19] but was later cancelled for the new attraction King Cobra. [17] Furthermore, in 2012, Six Flags Great Adventure removed two of its four Johnny Rockets food stands, one located in Plaza Del Carnival and the other in the Boardwalk. Both were replaced with a new food stand named Totally Kickin' Chicken.

On August 30, 2012, Six Flags combined its 125-acre (51 ha) Great Adventure Park [2] with its 350-acre (140 ha) Wild Safari animal park to form the 510-acre (210 ha) Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari park, the second-largest theme park in the world, after Disney's Animal Kingdom. [3] [20]

A 4th Dimension roller coaster was opened in spring 2016, called The Joker. [21]

In 2017, Six Flags added Justice League: Battle For Metropolis a 4D dark ride.

The ride Cyborg Cyber Spin opened in spring of 2018. [22]

Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth, a large scale custom Zamperla pendulum ride, was opened in 2019. [23]

During the 2018 off-season, El Diablo was removed from the park and was relocated to La Ronde, where it reopened as Chaos. [24]

In June 2019, the park completed a 23.5 MW solar facility, the largest net-metered solar farm in New Jersey. It produces around 30 million kWh per year, equivalent to most of the park's electricity needs. The facility includes 11 MW of solar canopy over the carpark. [25] The facility was announced in March 2015. [26]

2020–present

On August 29, 2019, Six Flags announced a new coaster, the Jersey Devil Coaster, to be built by Rocky Mountain Construction. [27] Six Flags suspended all operations across all their properties due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. [28] In mid-May, the park announced that they would reopen the first Six Flags attraction, Safari Off Road Adventure, which reopened on May 30, 2020. [29] Following an announcement by Governor Phil Murphy on June 23, 2020, giving permission for amusement parks to reopen, Six Flags Great Adventure announced a day later that it would reopen on July 3, 2020. [30] [31] However, the Jersey Devil Coaster was delayed until the 2021 season because its construction was halted due to the pandemic. [32]

In July 2021, the park re-introduced the ride's old Road Runner Railway kiddie roller coaster to Lil' Devil Coaster, a ride themed to the Jersey Devil, like the nearby Jersey Devil Coaster. [33]

In 2022, the park announced that Bizarro would be re-themed to Medusa, the ride's original theme. [34]

Concerts

Numerous artists have performed concerts at the park, including Bon Jovi, The Ramones, The Beach Boys, Heart, Kansas, Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Alice Cooper. [35]

On September 29, 2012, Great Adventure hosted the FestEvil, a festival hosting contemporary metal and hardcore acts; Falling In Reverse and We Came As Romans coheadlined. It was Great Adventure's first metal show. At the end of the show, Falling In Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke threw three microphone stands into the crowd, injuring two attendees. Radke was arrested after the show, and a spokesperson for Great Adventure announced that the park would no longer host shows with metal bands. [36]

Attractions

Main Street

Main Street serves as the entry gate for Six Flags Great Adventure. It was originally entitled Liberty Court and was built when the entrance to the park was moved from near what is now the Boardwalk area to a more central location. Main Street is themed as an Early-American town, somewhere around the 18th century. Later additions to Main Street have formed it into more of a turn-of-the-century town. In the front is Main Street Fountain, [37] which serves as a central hub for the park.

Fantasy Forest

Yum Yum Cafe FantasyForestGADV.jpg
Yum Yum Cafe

Fantasy Forest serves as the midway for the park and was originally part of the entrance. Fantasy Forest is designed to make its visitors feel like children, and the section's bright colors and fanciful design give it a magical feel. The Yum Yum Cafe, (Previously "The Great Character Cafe"), which is designed to look like a giant ice cream sundae, is in this area along with the colorful Carousel and Enchanted Teacups. Originally, this section was split into two sections; Dream Street, the east side featuring the Carousel, and Strawberry Fair, the west side featuring the Big Wheel and Fantasy Fling. During Time Warner's acquisition of the park, these two sections of the park were combined into one. In 2012, the east side stayed as Fantasy Forest and the west side was re-themed and transformed to Adventure Alley.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Carousel 1974Frederick SavageThe park's grand carousel, at the end of what was Dream Street. This antique carousel was originally built in 1881 by Frederick Savage in England and is named the Patrina Williams Carousel. [38]
Enchanted Tea Cups1996 Zamperla Tea-cups style ride with fanciful theming. [39]
Houdini's Great Escape 1999 Vekoma Vekoma Madhouse attraction; held in "mansion" and complete with Harry Houdini theming. [40]

Adventure Alley

The Fender Benders ride. Fender Benders ride at Six Flags Great Adventure.jpg
The Fender Benders ride.

Adventure Alley, made up of what used to be the right half of Fantasy Forest, opened in 2012 along with SkyScreamer, a FunTime StarFlyer. The area has a retro theme and features several classic family rides. It was built in a formerly barren area in response to complaints about there being a lack of family rides in the park. SkyScreamer, DejaVu (a Scrambler relocated from the shuttered American Adventures in Georgia), and Air Jumbo (a Flying Elephants ride relocated from Balin's Jungleland in the Golden Kingdom) all opened in May, while Fender Benders, a bumper cars attraction, opened in early July. The area was sponsored by the Broadway show Jersey Boys and as such, features songs from the musical as its soundtrack.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Air Jumbo 2012 Zamperla Flying elephants style ride relocated from the Golden Kingdom section of the park. [41]
Big Wheel1974 Anton Schwarzkopf A large Ferris wheel that once held the title for the world's tallest Ferris wheel. [42]
DejaVu2012 Eli Bridge Company A retro-themed scrambler style attraction accompanied by a soundtrack featuring hit songs from the 1970s and 1980s. [43] [44]
Fender Benders2012 Bertazzon Bumper cars attraction with retro theming. [45]
SkyScreamer 2012 Funtime A Funtime Starflyer swing ride that swings riders 242 feet high in the air at 43 mph. [46]

Adventure Seaport

Adventure Seaport was introduced for the 2011 season. It is made up of a children's area: Jr. Thrill Seekers, and a small section of the park formerly part of Movietown. Originally, Adventure Seaport also included Looney Tunes Seaport before it was removed in 2020.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Congo Rapids 1981 Intamin Rapids ride; Congo Rapids was one of the first of its kind to open in the world. [47]
Jersey Devil Coaster 2021 Rocky Mountain Construction The world's tallest, fastest, and longest single rail roller coaster. [48]
Nitro 2001 Bolliger & Mabillard 230-foot (70 m)-tall hyper-coaster, rated the 7th best steel coaster in the world. [49]

Jr. Thrill Seekers

Jr. Thrill Seekers was known as Wiggles World from 2007 to 2010. Most of the rides were re-themed from Looney Tunes Seaport, while the section itself replaced an aging part of Looney Tunes Seaport and the outdated Riptide flume ride. The area was renamed and re-themed Safari Kids for 2011 when the parks rights to use the Wiggles brand expired. It was renamed to Jr. Thrill Seekers in 2022.

RideYear openedDescription
Air Safari2007A red baron ride that includes planes as ride vehicles. Originally named Big Red Planes and rethemed in 2011. [50]
Barnstormer2022Two mega-sized bi-planes swing high in the air, rotating on slow-moving arms that lift the planes in a relaxed circle through the sky.
Bugaboo1976A kiddie ride formerly located in the now defunct Balin's Jungleland themed section. [51]
Lil' Devil Coaster 1999/2021A Zamperla kiddie coaster that opened in 1999 as the Road Runner Railway; re-introduced in 2021. [52]
Raja's Rickshaws1982A kiddie scrambler transferred from Balin's Jungleland themed section. [53]
Sky Zooma1999A children's balloon ride that originally opened as Elmer Fudd's Seaport Weather Balloons and was later named Dorothy's Racing to the Rainbow. Rethemed in 2007 for Wiggles World and 2011 for Safari Kids. [54]
Storm Chaser1999A small kids swing ride. Originally opened as Taz's Tornado. Rethemed in 2020 for Safari Kids as Tornado,then in 2022 again.
Tree Top Hopper1999A children's drop tower that originally opened as Sylvester's Pounce and Bounce and was later named Bouncin' With Wags then Jumpin' Joey. Rethemed in 2007 for Wiggles World and 2011 for Safari Kids. [55]

Movietown

Movietown's entrance portal Movietown Great Adventure opening day.jpg
Movietown's entrance portal

This section makes up what used to be the "Fun Fair" and "Action Town" sections of the park. It is themed as a Hollywood back lot, complete with Hollywood style buildings, and movie-themed ride, shops, stalls, and other attractions. Most of the attractions include DC Comics (Batman: The Ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis, Cyborg: Cyber Spin). Over the years, many of the movie props have been removed, and all the flat rides in this section of the park have been moved or dismantled. This left the section with very few rides: the addition of The Dark Knight Coaster meant the removal of the Movietown Water Effect, a themed Splashdown ride. Batman and Robin: The Chiller and Stuntman's Freefall (an Intamin free-fall ride) had already been removed, and the "Axis Chemical" themed amphitheater, while still standing, no longer hosts stunt shows. Nitro was included in Movietown until the 2011 season when it became part of Adventure Seaport. For a time this section of the park was essentially a dead-end, forcing patrons to turn back after the Showcase Theater.

In summer 2016, permits were released for a Justice League: Battle for Metropolis dark ride to be placed where Batman and Robin: The Chiller once stood. The area surrounding Justice League: Battle for Metropolis was rethemed to Metropolis, though it is still treated as part of Movietown. In 2018, Cyborg Cyber Spin opened in the Metropolis subsection. The park reopened a pathway between this ride and the Justice League attraction, and now patrons can loop through Movietown and re-emerge near the fountain and the park's main entrance. Additionally, Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth debuted in June 2019, located just next to the old Axis Chemical building.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Batman: The Ride 1993 Bolliger & Mabillard The second installation of the Bolliger & Mabillard's "Batman" inverted coaster model. [56]
Cyborg Cyber Spin2018 Intamin Triple-axis rotating ride. [57]
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 2017 Sally Corporation A 4D interactive dark ride. Replaced Batman & Robin: The Chiller. [58]
The Dark Knight Coaster 2008 Mack Rides Indoor themed wild-mouse coaster. The coaster opened in 2008 to coincide with the release of the hit movie, The Dark Knight. [59]
Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth2019 Zamperla [60] The world's tallest frisbee ride. [61]

Lakefront

Lakefront, as its name suggests, is found right on the lake in the back of the property. The rides and structures in Lakefront all have a nautical theme. The section also includes an Asian-themed eatery (formerly branded as a Panda Express).

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Buccaneer1980 Intamin A pirate ship ride. [62]
Harley Quinn Crazy Train 1999 Zierer Family coaster themed as a mine train. Was previously named Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train up until the 2016 season where it was renamed to accompany the newly added Joker. [63]
Jolly Roger1999 Zamperla A pirate themed music express ride. [64]
Skull Mountain 1996 Intamin Indoor roller coaster themed to be an adventure into a mountain of treasures. [65]
Skyway1974 Von Roll Holding A double gondola lift relocated from the 1964 World's Fair that brings guests to Frontier Adventures. [66]
Swashbuckler1974 Hrubetz A round up ride, it has been relocated and repainted several times. Originally opened as "Super Round Up", also formally known as Fantasy Fling and Tornado. [67]
The Joker 2016 S&S Worldwide A Free Spin Roller Coaster taking the place of the Grandstand, Festival Stage, and Fort Independence. Was named Total Mayhem when announced. [68]

Frontier Adventures

Previously known as "Best of the West" and "Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin'", Frontier Adventures is the park's western-themed section. It is home to the Fort and the Best of the West restaurant, as well as some of the park's rides.

Frontier Adventures is now home to the Safari Off Road Adventure station. It stands on the former location of the Super Teepee and the Conestoga Wagon.

The portal to Frontier Adventures Frontier Adventure sign Great Adventure 2010.jpg
The portal to Frontier Adventures
RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Camp Aventura2013On Safari, feed giraffes or ride the Soaring Eagle zip-line for an additional fee and meet our small, exotic animals.
Medusa 1999 Bolliger & Mabillard The world's first floorless coaster, featuring 7 inversions. Formerly called Bizarro 2009–2021. [69]
Runaway Mine Train1974 Arrow Development A mine train roller coaster that debuted at Great Adventure's grand opening in 1974. [70] It is the park's first roller coaster, which takes riders through wooded areas and over water before returning to the station. [70] The coaster was overhauled in 1995 by Larry Chickola, the first of many projects the engineer completed for Six Flags, which involved a redesign of the motor, cars, and computer operating system. [71] [72]
Safari Off Road Adventure 2013Safari Off Road Adventure is a safari attraction. It replaced Six Flags Wild Safari, which closed on September 30, 2012, as a separate park. Wild Safari's 350 acres (140 ha), added to Great Adventure to create one park in 2013, made Six Flags Great Adventure the second-largest theme park in the world, after Disney's Animal Kingdom, at 475 acres. [73]
Saw Mill Log Flume1974 Arrow Development The park's log flume, which takes riders up and then traverses several small drops on a separate island before ending on a large drop. [74]
Skyway1974 Von Roll Holding A double gondola lift moved from the 1964 World's Fair, it loads in a building called "The Fort", and takes riders to Lakefront. [75]

Bugs Bunny National Park

The entrance to Bugs Bunny National Park BBNP2006.jpg
The entrance to Bugs Bunny National Park

Bugs Bunny National Park opened in 2006 along with El Toro. It has a series of camp-themed rides, all in a rustic area on the lake. Attractions include Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel, Bugs Bunny National Water Park Tower, Bugs Bunny Ranger Pilots, Daffy Duck's Hot Air Balloons, Porky Pig Camp Wagons, and Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel1979 Allan Herschell Company A small carousel, themed with posters for different Bugs Bunny cartoons, including "Knighty Knight Bugs". [76]
Bugs Bunny Ranger Pilots2006A red baron ride that was relocated from Six Flags AstroWorld. [77]
Daffy Duck's Hot Air Balloons2006A balloon ride. [78]
Foghorn Leghorn Stagecoach Express2006 Zamperla [79] A train ride themed to be horses pulling stagecoaches, with the horses having motion. [80] [81]
Porky Pig Camp Wagons2006A small ferris wheel with ride vehicles themed to be wagons. [82]
Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster2006 Chance Rides [83] Kiddie music express ride. [84]

Plaza del Carnaval

The entrance to Plaza del Carnaval Plaza del Carnaval.jpg
The entrance to Plaza del Carnaval

This area was originally part of Frontier Adventures, and was also called "Hernando's Hideaway" for the opening of Rolling Thunder. This section of the park has heavy Spanish influences, including music, lights, and various structures including the station for El Toro. The whole area is very festive and is filled with vibrant colors, stucco buildings, and Spanish tile roofs.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
El Toro 2006 Intamin Prefabricated wooden roller coaster with the world's steepest drop on a wooden roller coaster. Voted the world's best wooden roller coaster by the Golden Ticket Awards for 2012. [85]
Tango2006 Zamperla [86] Rockin' tug ride. [87]

The Golden Kingdom

The Golden Kingdom [88] opened in 2005 with Kingda Ka on what was Bugs Bunny Land, the park's old kiddie-section. This section of the park is themed with many bamboo plants, stone temples, and more. It is also home to three llamas, which are near the entrance to the area on Aldabra Island, formerly home to Aldabra tortoises.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Kingda Ka 2005 Intamin Strata-coaster, the tallest roller coaster in the world as of 2021. Themed as a bengal tiger, the queue line takes riders through bamboo plants. [89]
Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom 2014 Intamin The world's tallest drop tower, which is built on the tower of Kingda Ka. Riders can see Philadelphia's skyline on clear days. [90]

Boardwalk

View of the Boardwalk Six Flags Great Adventure's Boardwalk.jpg
View of the Boardwalk

Previously Fortune Festival, the boardwalk section of Great Adventure has games commonly found on boardwalks, boardwalk restaurants, and many of the park's larger flat rides. This area of the park was also previously themed as Edwards Air Force Base, and many of the theme elements from then still exist now, including "latrines", and the parachute tower's name. The section also has a slight boardwalk-influence to its rides.

RideYear openedManufacturerDescription
Dare Devil Dive1997 Skycoaster, Inc. Skycoaster, upcharge. [91]
Great American Road Race1999J&J Amusements Go-karts, upcharge. [92]
Green Lantern 2011 Bolliger & Mabillard Stand-up coaster, featuring 5 inversions. Formerly located at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom as Chang. [93]
Parachute Training Center: Edwards AFB Jump Tower1983 Intamin Gentle 23-story drop using parachutes on a tower. [94]
Slingshot2011 Funtime Tall, slingshot ride, upcharge. [95]
Superman: Ultimate Flight 2003 Bolliger & Mabillard Flying coaster, featuring 2 inversions. [96]
Twister1999 Huss Maschinenfabrik A top spin ride. [97]

Former attractions

RideYear openedYear closedManufacturerTypeDescription
Boats19741974Flat Ride Paddle boat rentals that guests were able to use in the lake.
Antique Cars19741975Flat RideAntique car ride.
Jumbo Jet 19751975SchwarzkopfRoller CoasterIt was built and tested only a few times before it was removed. It is unknown as to why it was never opened to the public.
Big Fury 19741977Roller Coaster
Pretty Monster19741977Flat Ride
Enterprise 19751977Flat Ride
Gondola19771977Flat Ride
Wild Flower19751977Flat Ride
Haunted House19781978Walkthrough Attraction
Super Cat19751978Flat Ride
Grand Prix19741979Flat RideAntique car ride.
Alpen Blitz 19761978SchwarzkopfRoller CoasterFeatured two cars that would push or pull the train along its course.
Great Train Ride19741980Transport Ride
Wild Rider 19781981SchwarzkopfRoller Coaster
Super Sidewinder19761983Chance RidesFlat Ride
The Screamer19761983Molina and Son'sRoller CoasterChildren's roller coaster.
Haunted Castle 19791984Walkthrough Attraction Burned down in 1984, killing 8 people.
Matterhorn19741986Flat Ride
Calypso19741987Flat Ride
Monster Spin19781987Flat Ride
Paddle Boats19831987Upcharge AttractionPaddle boats that park guests could use in the lake.
Skooter19751987Flat RideBumper car attraction.
Tilt-a-Whirl 19791987Flat Ride
Sarajevo Bobsled 19841988IntaminRoller CoasterWas moved to Six Flags Great America.
Ultra Twister 19861989TogoRoller CoasterWas moved to Six Flags AstroWorld.
Condor 19881990HussFlat Ride
Swiss Bob19741991Flat Ride
Lightnin' Loops 19781992Arrow DynamicsRoller CoasterA roller coaster where one track was sent to Adventure World (now named Six Flags America) while the other was moved to Frontier City.
Shockwave19901992IntaminRoller CoasterWas moved to Six Flags AstroWorld.
Traffic Jam19741992Flat RideA classic bumper cars ride.
Virtual Revolution19951995Upcharge AttractionA flight simulator.
Panorama Wheel19741996Flat RideFerris wheel.
African Tower19911998Flat RideWas a part of the Adventure Rivers section that was removed to make more space for the mass amount of attractions to be added the following season.
Asian Tower19911998Flat RideWas a part of the Adventure Rivers section that was removed to make more space for the mass amount of attractions to be added the following season.
Joust-a-Bout19821998SchwarzkopfFlat RideRemoved due to high maintenance costs.
North American Tower19911998Flat RideWas a part of the Adventure Rivers section that was removed to make more space for the mass amount of attractions to be added the following season.
Spinnaker19992000Flat Ride
Pirate's Flight19992001Flat Ride
Schwabinchen19752001Flat RideRemoved at the end of the 1986 season but was added back in 1993.
Scrambler 19782001Flat Ride
Sling Shot20012001Upcharge AttractionIt was a trailer mounted attraction.
Time Warp19992001Chance RidesFlat RideDouble Inverter
Evolution 19992002Flat Ride
Speed Sports20012002Upcharge Attraction
Turbo Force20012002Upcharge AttractionIt was a trailer mounted attraction.
Jumpin' Jack Flash19992003Flat Ride
Pendulum19992003HussFlat RideFrisbee-style ride. Was relocated to Six Flags Great America for the 2004 season where it currently operates as Revolution.
Chaos19992005Flat Ride
Rodeo Stampede19992005Flat Ride
Rotor19752005Flat Ride
Viper 19952005TogoRoller CoasterThe ride was closed very often and was considered extremely rough by park-goers.
Spin Meister 19792005Flat Ride
Freefall 19832006Flat Ride
Hydro Flume19992006Flat Ride
Alcatraz20012007Upcharge AttractionThe ride was not very popular as its entrance was hard to locate and guests didn't know what the ride was.
Autobahn19762007Flat RideBumper cars. The ride building has been closed since 2008.
Batman and Robin: The Chiller 19972007Premier RidesRoller CoasterThe ride was closed very often and opened almost a year behind schedule. The Batman side was troubled more than the Robin as it was rarely open throughout its lifetime.
Flying Wave19742007Flat Ride
Looping Starship19852007IntaminFlat RideLocated next to Great American Scream Machine's batwing
Musik Express 19762007Flat RideClosed from 2008 to 2014, removed mid-2014.
Splash Water Falls19872007Flat RideThe name was changed to Movie Town Water Effect during its life at the park.
Eruption20032010Upcharge Attraction
The Great American Scream Machine 19892010Arrow DynamicsRoller CoasterThe ride was replaced by Green Lantern.
The Right Stuff: Mach 1 Adventure19942010Flat RideMotion simulator that had many different films throughout its lifetime. The building is currently used for storage as the theater seats have been removed from the main show room.
Turbo Bungy20012011Upcharge AttractionA trampoline attraction.
Rolling Thunder 19792013PTCRoller CoasterZumanjaro: Drop of Doom and El Diablo unofficially replaced it.
El Diablo 20152018Larson InternationalFlat Ride22M Giant Loop. Originally named "Looping Dragon" when announced. Relocated to La Ronde by the end of the 2018 season and renamed Chaos.
Bugs Bunny Seaport Barnstormer19992019Flat RideA plane themed ride spinning on two separate axes. The ride was replaced by Jersey Devil Coaster.
Daffy's Deep Sea Diver19992019Flat RideA submarine themed ride. The ride was replaced by Jersey Devil Coaster.
Safari Tours19992018Flat RideA track car ride. Formally known as the "Big Red Cars" and "Taz's Seaport Trucking Co." The tracks were removed and area is currently vacant and the queue building is abandoned. The area was used for the 2019 Fright Fest Children's Trick or Treat Trail.
Pepe Le Pew's Hearts Aweigh19992019Flat RideA miniature spinning teacups ride. The ride was replaced by Jersey Devil Coaster.

Annual events

Fright Fest

During the Halloween season, Six Flags Great Adventure is redecorated with spider webs, smoke machines, and other Halloween related decorations. Actors dress up in scary costumes and walk around to frighten guests, as they once did at the Haunted Castle. Fright Fest typically begins at 6:00 PM, as the zombies parade to a stage to kick off "fright by night." The park does not recommend the nighttime activities for children 13 or under. Fright Fest attracts some of the heaviest crowds of the year, and becomes more and more crowded as the date draws closer to Halloween.

One of the most popular attractions at Fright Fest every year is the theatrical production of Dead Man's Party, a live dance show with popular music that draws hundreds of viewers for every showing and has attained an almost cult-like local following.

The seasonal event includes upcharge walk-through haunted attractions. Recurring attractions include The Manor, Fears, Wicked Woods, Blood Shed, Big Top Terror, Cell Block 6, and Aftermath. Areas of the park known as "scare zones" include free-roaming zombies are The Bloody Fountain (Main Street), Demon District (Movietown), CarnEvil (Boardwalk), Lady Of The Lake Cemetery (Lakefront), and Bone Butcher Terror-tory (Frontier Adventures).

Holiday in the Park

During the Christmas season, Six Flags Great Adventure is redecorated with Christmas related decorations. During this season, only the Main Street, Adventure Alley, Fantasy Forest, Boardwalk, Adventure Seaport, and Movie Town sections of the park remain open. Just as with Fright Fest, Holiday in the Park attracts some of the heaviest crowds of the year.[ citation needed ]

Awards

Many of Six Flags Great Adventure's most thrilling roller coasters have placed in Amusement Today 's annual Golden Ticket Awards. Below is a table with coasters at Great Adventure and their highest ranking in the Golden Ticket Awards.

Roller CoasterHighest Rank
Nitro3 (2007–2012) [98]
El Toro1 (2012, 2017) [99]
Medusa16 (1999) [100]
Kingda Ka25 (2008) [101]

In 2012, Six Flags Great Adventure, along with the Garden State Film Festival, was awarded the Tourism Achievement Award. Both were presented the award for their contributions to improving the economy of the bi-county area through the use of tourism. [102]

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Geauga Lake</span> Defunct amusement park in Ohio

Geauga Lake was an amusement park in Bainbridge Township and Aurora, Ohio. It was established in 1887, in what had been a local recreation area adjacent to a lake of the same name. The first amusement ride was added in 1889, and the park's first roller coaster – later known as the Big Dipper – was built in 1925. The park was sold to Funtime, Inc., in 1969 and was expanded over the years with additional rides and amenities. Funtime was acquired by Premier Parks in 1995, and for the 2000 season, they re-branded Geauga Lake as Six Flags Ohio, adding four new roller coasters. The following year, Six Flags bought the adjacent SeaWorld Ohio and combined the two parks under the name Six Flags Worlds of Adventure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kings Dominion</span> Amusement park in Virginia

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags New England</span> Theme park in Agawam, Massachusetts

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Six Flags Magic Mountain</span> Theme park in Valencia, California

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Riddler's Revenge</span> Stand-up roller coaster

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)</span> Wooden roller coaster

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Batman & Robin: The Chiller</span> Defunct roller coaster

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Superman: Ultimate Flight</span> Roller coasters at three Six Flags parks

Superman: Ultimate Flight is the name of three flying roller coasters currently operating at three Six Flags amusement parks in the United States, those being Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Great America. Each of these steel coasters were designed and built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard and opened in 2002 and 2003. Since 2003, Six Flags has installed Superman: Ultimate Flight in three of their parks. Themed to the popular comic book character, Superman: Ultimate Flight simulates flying by positioning its passengers parallel to the track, supported by harnesses and facing the ground through most of the ride. In the station, riders board the train sitting down. After the train is locked and checked, the trains are raised into the flying position. After the ride, the seats are lowered back into the sitting position for the next round of riders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Jester (roller coaster)</span> Closed roller coaster

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Lightnin' Loops was a pair of Shuttle Loop roller coasters that were originally installed at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. The ride consisted of two identical tracks, both of which were later relocated and renamed: the still-extant Diamond Back at Frontier City in Oklahoma City and the defunct Python at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Animal theme park</span>

An animal theme park, also known as a zoological theme park, is a combination of an amusement park and a zoo, mainly for entertainment, amusement, and commercial purposes. Many animal theme parks combine classic theme park elements, such as themed entertainment and amusement rides, with classic zoo elements such as live animals confined within enclosures for display. Many times, live animals are utilized and featured as part of amusement rides and attractions found at animal theme parks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kidzopolis</span> Themed kids area at some Six Flags parks

Kidzopolis is a themed kid's area with various rides at several Six Flags amusement parks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom</span> Drop tower amusement ride

Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom is an amusement ride located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The 415 ft (126 m) attraction is attached to the Kingda Ka roller coaster and opened as the tallest drop tower ride in the world in 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jersey Devil Coaster</span> Roller coaster in Jackson, New Jersey

The Jersey Devil Coaster is a single-rail roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. The roller coaster was built by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) and opened to the public on June 13, 2021. It is themed to the Jersey Devil, a mythical creature rumored to live in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

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