Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey will soon stop letting guest drive through their safari with their own cars. The safari drive-thru animal sanctuary has allowed guests to see giraffes, elephants, lions, and baboons from their cars for 38 years.
Starting next season, The Wild Safari will no longer allow guests to drive through. Six Flags did not give a reason for the change. Changes are typically made in response to guest feedback and research.
With animals being allowed to come right up to cars, guests may have complained about damage that the animals caused to their vehicles.
In addition to this change, the safari season will be cut a month early this year and the last day for guests to drive through it will be September 30. Those who previously booked VIP tours after that date will still get to go through the attraction.
There is no word yet on how the safari will operate after the change, but the future plans will be announced on August 30. All that is confirmed is that the park's 1,200 animals will stay at Six Flags.
Currently, Six Flags gives guests the option of driving their own cars or taking a guided bus tour through the 350-acre animal safari.
Over 10 million visitors have driven through the Wild Safari since it opened at Six Flags in 1974.
"Animal preservation and education has been a cornerstone of Six Flags Great Adventure since we opened our gates in 1974," John Fitzgerald, the park president, said in a written statement as quoted by The Associated Press. "While significant changes are on our horizon, our veterinary and animal husbandry staff will continue to provide excellent care for the more than 70 species of exotic and domestic animals that live here."
According to The Associated Press, Safari Director and chief veterinarian Bill Rives said the drive-thru park "has been an institution for many families whose first glimpse of exotic animals was with their faces pressed up against a car window. That chapter of our history is now drawing to a close."
There are 17 Six Flags theme parks and water parks throughout the United States as well as one in Mexico City and Montreal. Only two of the parks have an animal safari, but only Six Flags Great Adventure gave guest the option to drive through themselves.