As theme parks have evolved over time, they have made improvements to appeal to the changing tastes of the public. Children's areas tend to be updated periodically, changing with trends in the market, and adding elements that are in vogue each time.
|For the 1988 season, Six Flags Great
Adventure focused on attracting families to their park, countering a
recent focus on thrills and a tarnished image due to a serious of
unfortunate events during the previous few seasons. The park's Looney
Tunes Land children's area was transformed into Bugs Bunny Land giving
it a new look with many new
attractions. One of Great Adventure's closest competitors had been
Sesame Place which focused on interactive attractions as well as rides
specifically for the youngest guests. As a result, Great Adventure added
more equipment amoungst its rides so kids could be more active as they enjoyed
The center of Bugs Bunny Land kept the layout that dated back to its start as Kiddie Kingdom with a cluster of three small rides at the center of the land. This area was enhanced with a new sunshade canopy over the rides with a new rubber padded play surface and three new play structures alongside the existing rides.
|The new jungle gym style play
elements added as part of Bugs Bunny Land were the latest in playground
equipment. Manufactured by Game Time, each offered colorful play structures with a series of climbing
elements enabling them to get onto the upper level of the attraction and a series of slides and other
apparatus to get back down. While adults were not allowed on the
playground equipment, kids could easily be supervised and were never
more than an arm's length away from their moms and dads.
Element #1, cargo nets
were used to get to the elevated play platforms, allowing multiple children
to climb up and down at once. In later years these small net
climbs were replaced with easier to navigate staircases. The upper platform was surrounded with colorful
yellow railings and panels with round windows allowing kids to see their
parents and parents to see their kids while playing. Along with the
slides were other interactive features like a crow's nest and spinning tic-tac-toe boards.
For safety, in addition to the padded surface below the play elements, the supports were wrapped with padding to protect children who might run into the steel legs. Areas under the play structure which were too low to walk under were blocked from access with netting to keep little ones out.
|Each of the three elements were similar in construction, but with slight variations. Element #2 featured an arch "bridge" structure as well as initially a suspended bouncing net bridge. The suspended bridge had minimal motion and was designed to be as safe as possible, however, it did prove to be a major challenge for little feet to navigate. Even with a secondary net under the bridge's rope net pathway, it soon was identified as an obstacle that slowed throughput on this playground.|
|Despite the design for safety, the suspended bridge section was replaced over time with a big red tube tunnel connecting the two ends of the playground structure. Like Element #1, the most popular feature of the whole structure was the big yellow spiral slide at one end. Children were drawn to the slide and often many tried to climb up it instead of sliding down the plastic channel as its designers intended.|
|Element #3 was yet another variation on the design of the play structures. This one offered a bouncy bridge area like #2, but it lasted the length of the structure's existence due largely in part to its sturdier and solid-floor construction. This structure offered three slides, with spiral slides at each end of the structure, and double straight sliding boards towards the center.|
offered a lot of fun for kids to burn off energy between riding the
variety of rides in Bugs Bunny Land. The play elements were not covered
by the shade structure, so on hot summer days some of them would need to
close. The metal handrails and slides became hot to the touch in
the midday sun but would reopen once they cooled down.
With the closure of Bugs Bunny Land at the end of the 2004 season, the play structures were removed to make way for The Golden Kingdom in 2005. Ultimately, the rather generic Kiddie Playgrounds were replaced with newer, larger play structures including Cub's Corner and Tigerland Treehouse in the new highly themed Balin's Jungleland.
|Original Spotlight: February 13, 2022. GAH Reference#: KIDS-1988-007|