VALDOSTA — The Kids Zone at Wild Adventures Theme Park will soon be revamped to include new attractions as part of a $2.85 million investment.
At a press conference Thursday, park officials announced the groundbreaking of Alligator Alley and the Gator Crossing Rope Bridge set to open March 2019.
The three-acre addition will feature six kiddie rides that will be near the park’s main entrance, said Molly Deese, park vice president and general manager.
The netted-rope bridge will suspend over Alligator Alley, which will include dozens of alligators, according to park officials.
Construction starts Oct. 1.
“At Alligator Alley, kids will get up close with our area’s most intriguing native species; they’ll even have an opportunity to feed the gators, which is an experience no kid will ever forget,” she said.
New rides include Okefenokee Express, Flying Gators, Turtle Twist, Swampwater Snake, Hoppin’ Gator and Okefenokee Friends.
“The new kids’ area will lead into the Alapaha Trail, which offers an authentic swamp experience as guests stroll through an actual Georgia swamp, encountering animal exhibits featuring native and exotic species,” according to park officials.
Park officials also announced the introduction of a new admissions program that will allow 3- to 5-year-olds to enter the park for free utilizing a Pre-K Free Kids’ Season Pass starting Monday, Sept. 17.
The pass may be used for the rest of the 2018 season and the entirety of the 2019 season, according to park officials.
“The process for getting a pre-k kids’ pass just couldn’t be easier; it’s done in three easy steps,” said Patrick Pearson, director of sales and marketing.
Parents or guardians must first register their child online at wildadventures.com and submit proof of age with a birth certificate or a passport. The third step is simply to visit the theme park to play.
Looks like the new attraction for 2019 will be a 3-acre alligator-themed kids area. Six new rides will surround an interactive gator pond, where you can feed, walk over, and interact with baby and adult alligators. The park will also introduce two new educational experiences - a 'gator nursery' to showcase the park's baby alligators, as well as a show called "Gator!" coined as an 'edutainment' show. The centerpiece of the new area will house the alligator habitat, where parkgoers can feed, watch, and even walk over the animals on the Gator Crossing Rope Bridge.
I consider this a brilliant move on behalf of Wild Adventures. While it looks like most of the rides will be rethemed versions of existing offerings, this entire experience seems unique and enjoyable for all ages. Nice!
*Edited to include Valdosta Daily Times press release*
Awesome addition. The gator attraction is very cool, and is exactly the kind of up-close zoo encounter they need to keep focusing on to develop their niche. The new area as a whole is a nice upgrade while simultaneously saving them money by refreshing old rides. The park is already pretty stacked with rides, so they don't really need anything "new" as far as young kids are concerned.
Yet another well thought-out area addition from HFE. They are really specializing in these things lately. Even Time Traveler redeveloped the area around it.
One thing I didn't notice from the original announcement is that Wild Adventures will now provide free Pre-K Season Passes to kids ages 3-5. Once parents apply for the pass it will give children free access for the rest of the 2018 season as well as the 2019 season. This is in addition to an announcement a month or so ago where Wild Adventures partnered with the local university to offer free passes to students that lived on campus, and reduced-price passes to those that commute. They will even rename Double-Shot/Firecracker (made famous in Zombieland) to Blazer Blastoff after the school's mascot.
I've got to say it's really nice to see HFE invest back in this community. When I was younger Wild Adventures was THE place to go during a long weekend, holiday, or any day in the summer, but lately, I've encountered far fewer people that view it in such light. I see HFE is taking steps to bring it back to the forefront of the community's mind, and I think the new investment and passes will bode well for them.
I do have to wonder if they are content with going with the more family side of things... or if eventually they will break out into a more thrill rides oriented park. When was the last time that Wild Adventures got a new coaster? a legitimate one?
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