Fortunately you don’t have to get vaccinated and travel to Africa for your family to experience an animal safari. A 90 minute drive from NYC, Jackson, NJ has a 350 acre preserve located in adjoining grounds to Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park. This is even accessible via public transportation from NYC.
I’ve been visiting this animal safari for the last 15 years. I started going when you could drive your own vehicle through the grounds. I loved it and did it every year for my birthday. I was disappointed when they closed in September, 2012 and began construction to renovate it to become the Safari Off Road Adventure. This new version of the Safari is now accessible only with admission through the amusement park. There is no additional fee for this attraction.
I wasn’t disappointed, however, when I took this evolved adventure. The safari is really quite something. The adventure begins when you board an open-air safari truck complete with guide providing factual and funny information about the animals. The truck takes you though bumps and turns on a dirt road that thrills the little ones inevitably putting my daughter into a fit of giggles. Being seated in an elevated truck gives you eye level perspective with the giraffes and overall great views of the 350-acre animal preserve. The safari boasts over 1,200 animals from six continents including elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, tigers, kangaroos, ostriches, zebras, bears, flamingos, water buffalo, gazelles and the list goes on. Some of the animals are behind barricades but many are roaming the preserve and the trucks sometimes have to stop for them to cross the road. The guides are great at giving the spectators photo ops whenever the close encounters arise.
Midway through the ride you are given the chance to disembark the truck and visit Camp Aventura. This is more like a zoo where you can walk around and get closer views of reptiles, birds, visit the gift shop and see baby animals. We once saw ridiculously adorable baby bears and lion cubs in this area. For an extra fee, you can ride the “Screamin’ Eagle” zip line and, at certain times, you can feed the giraffes sweet potato slices for a small fee. Feeding the giraffes has become our favorite part of the safari, so if it’s an option when you visit it’s worth the extra few dollars.
The off road trucks run continuously, so you never have to wait long when you’re done visiting Camp Aventura. You line up again and within about 5 minutes you’ll likely be back on the safari.
- There is no minimum height for the ride, if a child is accompanied by an adult. To ride alone, you must be at least 54 inches tall.
- The line can get quite long for this attraction, we always do this in the earlier part of the day to avoid the peak of the lines. This line is cut off at 5pm, so this attraction has shorter hours than the rest of the park.
- Safari Off Road Adventure is located in Frontier Adventures section of Six Flags, just past the log ride.
- We normally have a stroller with us. We park this near the line and pick it up when we return. We’ve been lucky and never has it been tampered with.
- The total ride is about 45 minutes including a 20 minute stop at Camp Aventura.
- There are bathrooms and a snack bar at Camp Aventura.
- For more tips on six flags with kids checkout our post Six Flags with preschoolers.
- You can take NJ transit from NYC to the park: public transportation directions
For more family fun ideas in New Jersey check out: