Six Flags Great Adventure is a Six Flags theme park located in Jackson, New Jersey. It was opened on July 1, 1974 as "Great Adventure", and the park was created by Warner LeRoy. Six Flags acquired Great Adventure in 1977, who renamed it Six Flags Great Adventure later on.
Six Flags Great Adventure is the largest seasonal theme park in the world and is home to 13 world-class roller coasters.
In 1972, entrepreneurial businessman Warner LeRoy, grandson of Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner. Bros, developed plans for a seven-park entertainment complex he called Great Adventure. LeRoy intended for the massive complex to have an amusement park, a safari park, a show park, a floral park, a sports complex, a shopping district, and a campground with a beach/waterpark and stables. His proposal also included plans for multiple hotels which were connected to the parks and could be reached by boats, buses, a sky ride and/or a monorail, similar to the then-recently opened Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 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. 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.
Warner LeRoy era (1974-1977)
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. 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.
Six Flags era (1978-)
Acquisition by Six Flags (1978)
In late 1978, Great Adventure was purchased by Six Flags. They were then owned by Penn Central which had large stakes in the Philadelphia and New York City regions.
Time Warner era (1992-1998)
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. 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.
Premier Parks era (1998-2005)
Premier Parks purchased Six Flags from Time Warner and Boston Ventures on April 1, 1998, merging the companies to create the new Six Flags, Inc.
In 1999, Six Flags Great Adventure declared a "War on Lines", adding a dozen new flat rides
Shapiro era (2005-2010)
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. 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.
Weber/Anderson/Duffey era (2010)
The theme park's parent Six Flags emerged from their 2009-2010 Chapter 11 bankruptcy with Al Weber Jr. as an interim CEO, who was subsequently replaced 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.
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- Dare Devil Dive
- Great American Road Race
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- The Twister