It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for all the thrill seekers out there to pack up their day bags and head to their local theme park. If you live in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania – or truly anywhere on the Central East Coast – that means you have one must see destination: Six Flags Great Adventure. Located in Jackson, New Jersey, just several miles off of the Jersey Turnpike, Six Flags has long been a hot weather staple for good times with family and friends in the region. In recent years, many new roller coasters and attractions have been added; there are now over 50 rides and 13 roller coasters included in this massive theme park, and this is your guide to make your trip to Six Flags even better-with must rides, things to avoid, what to do if you come packing some extra cash and more!
4. Superman – This ride offers a truly unique perspective on a roller coaster experience. What is that perspective known as? Face first! In this coaster, after sitting down and being securely locked into place, your seat turns on a hinge and leaves you lying flat, as if ready to fly! You go through this coaster with nothing between you and the ground – over a hundred feet below. Although not as tall and fast as the other coasters on this list, the amazing views and sensations will leave you feeling like you actually did just fly around like Superman!
3. El Toro – If you’re a fan of the sensations of a wooden coaster, then look no further. El Toro is the 3rd tallest and 3rd fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. It reaches speeds of over 70 MPH, and drops you over 175 feet on the first drop. Just like any great wooden roller coaster, you are guaranteed to get tons of stomach-churning air time on the hills and swift turns. Insider tip- this ride is known to “warm-up” as the day goes on, so make sure to visit this coaster closer to the end of your visit to experience even faster speeds and turns.
2. Nitro – This soaring piece of machinery slowly raises you over 200 feet in the air and then sends you screaming down an impossibly steep first hill at over 80 MPH! If you’re like me and need to experience that classic “click-click” noise, while you climb higher and higher into the sky to fully experience the nerve racking sensations of a mega-coaster, then Nitro is definitely for you. Because of the high capacity of the trains, when all three are in use, the line moves deceptively faster than you otherwise might think.
1. Kingda Ka – Truly the “King” of all roller coasters. This is the tallest, and fastest roller coaster – not on the East Coast, not in the United States – but in the entire world!! This coaster can be seen intimidating possible riders from the second they enter the parking lot. Its presence looms over the entire park, and this is certainly not for the feint of heart. Furthermore, be prepared to wait for this ride. Why should you wait? Well, you are hydraulically launched from 0-128 MPH in just 3.5 seconds! You then soar straight up into the air to over 450 feet, before you skyrocket straight back down at mind boggling speeds. This ride will leave you filled with adrenaline for hours afterwards, as it is absolutely unlike anything else you will ever do.
If you come to the park with some extra cash in hand, forget about blowing it at the rigged boardwalk games. Save yourself time and those energy-sapping lines, by purchasing a Flash Pass in advance. A regular Flash Pass, which runs $30 per person, and then becomes discounted for groups after that, lets you hold a spot in a line. You can then enjoy other parts of the park, and come back when it’s your time to ride. Meanwhile, even better (and more expensive) is a Flash Pass Gold, which runs $70 per person, and then gets discounted after that for up to 6 people. This allows you to actually skip 75% of a ride’s wait. Is it worth the money? Well, that’s up to you and how much money you have (or how badly you want to make the other park visitors jealous of you).
If you can’t afford a Flash Pass, you should try to visit Great Adventure on a day with questionable weather- forecasted clouds, or lower temperatures. Or you should plan on visiting on a weekday. At all costs, you should avoid visiting on a holiday weekend.
Still have some extra cash? If you do, and you are the truest of the true thrill seekers, you should try one of two pay rides. Dare Devil Dive raises you, and several of your buddies, on a bungee cord into the air. Once you are over 150 feet in the air, attached only by a harness, it is up to you to pull the handle that releases the tension and sets you swinging down! It is not like a typical bungee dive, you do not go straight down and bounce up. Rather, you do a swinging free fall until your momentum runs out. Located closeby is the erUPtion, which places you in a space-pod looking device. Once sitting down inside, it catapults you over 240 feet straight into the air, at which point you again bounce around with the huge momentum the ride starts with. Both of these will hurt your wallet, but are well worth it at least once!
While those rides are at the extreme of unbelievable thrill seeking, this next ride will fall disappointingly short of that standard, and therefore should be avoided. Skull Mountain, an indoor roller coaster that takes place in a pitch black setting, sounds interesting enough. However, with minimum space and speed there are no true thrills to be had. And although it is an interesting sensation to not know what’s coming next, it also leaves your mind confused as to when you should get ready to scream, or have fun. The last time I went on it, the entire train of passengers was mildly laughing at the very mild thrills the ride offered. If you just must do everything in the park, do not, on any circumstance, wait more than five or ten minutes for this ride.
Finally, if you don’t have a flash pass but are looking for some time-savers, you should look into the following tried and true classics. The Scream Machine, removed from the once sketchy reputation it used to hold, still offers the rider a great experience. With a good first fall and then many loops in straight succession afterwards, you will find it quite satisfying now that the lines are shorter. Also, Rolling Thunder, the wooden coaster stand by, is also a great ride to go to. Although both of these pale in comparison to their newer, faster, bigger and slicker counterparts, you can ride these over and over again in the same time it would take to wait in one line for a newer ride. The newer rides siphon off the waits for these classics, which lets you enjoy them with a very limited wait. These rides are great for warming yourself up for the bigger rides, or taking a break from the tedious lines of their newer brethren.
There you have it, the rides you must see, ways to save time and spend your money and all the other great tips you will need to make your visit to Six Flags as pleasurable as possible. One last thing-pack your sunscreen!