When my sister and I were kids, summers meant one thing: a trip to Six Flags/Great Adventure with my Dad and friends. We’d leave the house super-early to make sure we were at the park gate when they opened, and spend the entire day riding the rides, doing the loop-de-loops and sustaining ourselves with hot dogs and sodas. ‘Tis just the type of adventure that cherished memories are made from. Of course now that I’m a full-fledged grown-up and pretty chicken-sh!t about rides, I no longer do anything that goes upside down, super fast, defies the laws of gravity or vows to make me sick.
Although the safari has been there seemingly forever, I have never been. The kids actually went last year with The Ex, but after our visit this weekend, I think it’s safe to say they’d go again and again. So would I. It was on my Summer Bucket List last year, but we never made it. This summer, I was determined.
Billed as the largest drive-thru safari in the US, it’s four-and-a-half miles of jungle goodness. You pay per person ($21), and can drive at your own pace. It tickled me to see the giraffes and bears just ambling up to the cars like it was a completely normal occurrence. Why of course the giraffe is eating off the top of my car, why wouldn’t he be?
We entered the safari with six pictures on my camera card. Nick checked when we left, and the total was up to 511. Yeah, we took a few pictures. On the way home, we talked about our favorite parts and we all agreed: the giraffes, the bear cubs and the baboons. I totally just typed baboobs there first. Oops.
Love this photo because it reminds me of one of Madeline’s favorite books, Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, and of course, her nickname, Monkey. Even if these are baboons.
The giraffes were so graceful. And gentle. And freakin’ huge! The tushes of the adult giraffes were higher up than the top of my truck. A few of them found something they liked on my roof, and we held up traffic for a good while as they feasted on goodness knows what. I tried to pull away a few times, but they were so close, I was afraid of running over their hooves.
My friend Cathy asked about damage to your car while going through the safari. There are definitely a number of different types of animals roaming free and walking up to the cars that are going through, but I didn’t worry about my car once. They come up, sniff around, and wander off. Some of the more active animals, like the baboons for example, are behind fences and gates and although you can get close, they are confined. Well, except for that one that somehow got loose last week… But I swear, no worries.
There are a number of (reasonable) rules posted throughout and reiterated. You can’t get out of your car nor open your windows. That last one hurt just a little. Not because I wanted to touch the animals, but it’s a challenge to get good photos through the window glass. But I’d also rather enjoy the safari with my littles safe and sound. We did see a few people open their windows; one guy tried to touch a giraffe as it came close and seriously spooked it. Poor thing. The giraffe, not the guy. Idiot.
If you’re within reasonable driving distance, I think it’s totally worth it to go and visit the safari. We were there for nearly two hours, and the kids were bubbling over with excitement for the rest of the day. Great summer activity. If you want to make a day out of it, you could, of course, also visit the amusement park and Hurricane Harbor, their adjoining water park.
Six Flags Great Adventure
P.O. Box 120, Route 537
Jackson, NJ 08527
PS – If any of the above photos made you swoon, they’ll be available in my Etsy shop by the end of the week.
July 13, 2011 – Bonus Photos
This is the only bookshelf area where the books are color-coded. I swear I’m not that OCD about it. Because the shelves are white, and near a window, I just thought this space was better suited to rainbow-like organization. One of my personal summer projects is to go through the house, corner by corner, and organize and purge. For the past few years, I’ve been moving more towards a “less is more” philosophy and just want less stuff. I want to enjoy space and memories more, and not be so weighed down by material objects. Since leftovers were on the menu tonight, I used the extra time to organize this bookshelf area and the baking drawer below. One area at a time…
Etsy, Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree, Great Adventure, safari, Six Flags
Those cookie cutters taunt me every time I open up this drawer. I can count on one hand how many times I use cookie cutters on an annual basis, so really feel that they should give up the valuable drawer real estate and move on to another home, but for some reason, I’m having a hard time parting with them. I think I’m ready though. Any takers? Have quite the collection to send along to the first happy baker that speaks up.