Six Flags Announces end to Wild Safari's drive-through history
A 38-year tradition of visitors driving their cars through Six Flags Wild Safari will end Sept. 30, Six Flags officials announced this morning.
For the Jackson-based park’s history, patrons were permitted to drive their own vehicles through what park officials describe as the world’s largest drive-through safari outside of Africa.
The 350-acre Wild Safari is home to about 1,200 animals from six continents.
Within the safari, cars would occasionally stop for a giraffe lumbering across the road, or rhinos grazing along the shoulder. At one time, cars were allowed through the baboon enclosure, where the energetic monkeys would jump on automobiles and sometimes pull at windshield wipers.
The safari will close Sept. 30 for the season, earlier than its original Oct. 28 date, said Kristin Siebeneicher, spokeswoman for Six Flags’ three Jackson-based parks.
“Six Flags Wild Safari has been an institution to many families whose first glimpse of exotic animals was with their faces pressed up against a car window,” Safari Director and Chief Veterinarian Bill Rives said in a news release. “That chapter of our history is now drawing to a close.”
Officials said they would not answer questions relating to the future of the Wild Safari until Aug. 30, except to say all of the park’s animals would remain on property and be cared for through the winter.
“Animal preservation and education has been a cornerstone of Six Flags Great Adventure since we opened our gates in 1974,” park President John Fitzgerald said in a prepared statement. “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 at Six Flags.”
Fitzgerald declined to release any further details.