The Safari Hospitality Center has largely been overlooked by guests and even park staff over the years, with its small size and remote location. In reality the Hospitality Center has been an important part of the park, and has had all the facilities the rest of the park has, including restrooms, food, merchandise, ticketing, and even its own Guest Relations.
For many guests the only exposure to the Hospitality Center was for the restrooms which are very necessary at the end of the long drive, and the "Park-A-Pet" kennels where guests who bring pets could keep them for the day.
For the 2007 season, the Safari Hospitality Center got a total makeover, becoming the Six Flags Wild Safari Exploration Station.
Part of the Safari was a complex of buildings known as the Safari
Hospitality Center, which offered all the creature comforts people
driving through the Safari could need.
The Safari ticket booths which span the entrance road also had their own Guest Relations facilities, since the ticket windows were full service, offering both Safari and Theme Park tickets.
The Safari ticket booths were run by the same Admissions personnel who sold and collected tickets at the Theme Park Front Gate, though employees often saw getting sent to the Safari as something of an exile since it was so far from the rest of the park.
|The Safari Hospitality Center
area was left as wooded as possible like most of the park.
Many of the trees surrounding the structures were large pines, which
provided shade and scented the air.
After the purchase of the park by Six Flags, the Lion Sign which was formerly on Route 537 at the entrance was moved to the Safari parking area, and placed along with several fiberglass animals in a picture taking area. These animals were great props for family photos, plus they offered a great way for kids to unwind after being trapped in the family car for the duration of the Safari tour.
After a long hot ride through the Safari many guests were ready for a
cold drink or something to eat, and the Hospitality Center catered to
their needs with picnic benches for those who brought their own, and a
snack bar for those who wanted to purchase a lunch or
The Safari Hut food outlet was converted into the kennel facility for the park after the demolition of the original "Park-A-Pet" building to make way for Kingda Ka in 2004. This building had been sitting unused for some time, as the demand for food at the Safari was minimal. As part of the transformation of the Hospitality Center to the Safari Exploration Station in 2007, this building became an exhibit of animals.
|A small gift shop selling Safari and Park souvenirs was another of the buildings designed to catch the crowds exiting the Safari park. After seeing the animals, many children were ready to nag their parents into buying stuffed versions of them to take home.
|One of the best kept secrets in the park for many regulars was the Guest Relations Building at the Safari. When lines were long for the purchase of tickets or season passes, savvy guests could hit the Safari first and make all their purchases before getting to the Theme park gates.
Since the opening of the Safari, one of the services offered at the
Hospitality Center has been a tour bus service. The tour bus
offered an alternative to those who either did not want to risk damage
to their cars. For those who had cars with vinyl tops which
were big in the 1970's, or with convertibles, taking the tour bus
through the Safari was a necessity. A shaded queue was setup
for those waiting for the bus.
Over the years the busses have changed and been modernized, with today's fleet bearing zebra and tiger stripes. For a small up-charge the tour buses offer a narrated trip through the Safari, in air conditioned comfort.
In recent seasons a fleet of Land Rovers used for the V.I.P. tour program has been added. These zebra striped Land Rovers take small groups of guests on an off-road tour, and afford the groups an up close and personal interaction with the animals.
|One of the most important but often overlooked facilities of the Safari Hospitality Center is the restrooms, which were built large enough to accommodate the large groups as they came off tour buses.
|PARK A PET KENNEL FACILITIES
|Part of the original
services offered in the Safari Hospitality Center was the Park-A-Pet
kennel facilities. The kennels offered a place for guests to
board their animals while they enjoyed the park. This
service was used primarily by vacationers in motor homes who often
travel with their dogs.
The Park-A-Pet building was demolished in order to build Kingda Ka during the 2004 season. The pet boarding facilities were transferred to a former restaurant facility which had been unused for some time. The following season, it would become home to the animals of the Golden Kingdom when they were not in the park.