STAFF PHOTO

The Six Flags Great Adventure Wild Safari’s Safari Overnight is an amazing opportunity to see the popular Wild Safari exhibit like never before!

The event returned to Camp Aventura July 15-16 after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic and we had a chance to check it out. Guests pitched tents in the African Plains and prepared to “fall asleep to the lullaby of lions.” There was dinner and breakfast, arts and crafts, a movie, s’mores, an animal presentation and the chance to feed giraffes.

STAFF PHOTO

Upon arrival, guests were able to drive through and enjoy the safari until you came upon the area where the giraffes stay. Then families parked and unloaded their tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses and camping chairs.

STAFF PHOTO

This was my first time camping ever, so pitching the tent was a bit daunting, but some of the staff and our camping neighbors were very helpful in assisting. Once we got set up, we ate a satisfying dinner that included burgers, BBQ chicken, salad, corn and coleslaw.

STAFF PHOTO

After relaxing a bit, everyone was treated to a meet-and-greet with four of the animals that live at the Camp Aventura Outpost. I got to touch a bearded dragon and a snake and watched as a barn owl and African grey parrot did their tricks. We learned all about the creatures, their habitats and their behaviors and how Six Flags supports their development, reproduction and conservation.

STAFF PHOTO

As the sun began to set over the land, we got ready for an outdoor movie. Many people either changed or got washed in the very clean, air-conditioned bathrooms. Either sitting on bales of hay or in chairs, most of the dozens of people either got wine or beer (sold to adults), popcorn, cookies or s’mores and watched “Night at the Museum.”

STAFF PHOTO

By 11 pm it was lights out, which was not as scary as it seemed: because the area was fenced in, we knew no animals would come to visit during the night, except for the occasional mosquito or fly. Like clockwork, the birds started singing (well, screaming) around 4:30 am. We decided at 5:30 am to start our day, though the clouds and fog made it impossible to see the sunrise. We were slightly disappointed that we didn’t wake to the roar of any lions (which was expected around 7 am). Still it was a very serene and peaceful morning.

STAFF PHOTO

After breakfast, the private animal area opened up, and we got to see a lynx, Patagonian mara, Moluccan cockatoos, Archie the anteater … and the giraffes! Perhaps the most highly anticipated part of the tour was an opportunity to feed the giraffes. You could feed any of the nine giraffes who was hungry or curious enough to come over to the fence.

STAFF PHOTO

All of a sudden, we saw a crowd assembling and realized Coro, one of the five baby tigers born 10 weeks ago, was out on exhibit. Everyone went crazy over this tiny cub “chuffing” and playing and antagonizing the mara next door. It was the coolest thing to see this tiny tiger up close.

As our time at camp came to a close, we got in our cars and followed the leaders through the rest of the safari in a caravan. I’ve been to the safari many times and loved it, but this was an experience like no other.

STAFF PHOTO

When we approached the lion exhibit, all of the cars stopped. We excitedly watched as the handlers walked back and forth so the lions would follow, which made for the most amazing selfies (from a distance).

We were allowed to do the same at the tiger exhibit! A small garage-like door of the building slowly went up and out popped the head of Nadya, the mama tiger, followed by four of her cubs!

STAFF PHOTO

The Safari Overnight used to take place once a month, and from what we heard, that may continue. It was extremely safe, incredibly fun and absolutely unforgettable. Anyone in your family – kids, adults, animal lovers, campers, outdoorsy people, foodies – will be enthralled and entertained by all the activities available during the closest thing to an African safari we have!

Until the next date is announced, Six Flags Great Adventure offers the Giraffe Encounter Tour, an off-road adventure on military-style, open-air trucks that features a tour through seven sections of the Wild Safari, the opportunity to hand-feed giraffes and meet the small exotic animals up-close. The program runs daily through Sept. 4. Tour tickets may be purchased in advance or at the theme park.

As a bonus, Six Flags Great Adventure guests can experience the Giraffe Encounter Tour with a private Safari Off-Road vehicle. This personalized excursion can be shared with up to 30 family and friends. Contact safariprograms@sixflags.com for more info.

See What Our Readers Are Saying