Theme parks are generally considered a summer attraction and with the heat of the summer months comes the need for park-goers to stay cool. As a result, theme park operators have always looked for novel ways to provide a means of cooling off while also offering thirst-quenching refreshments on the hottest summer days.
In the early to mid '90s, Great Adventure was in the process of being
reinvented under the new leadership of Time-Warner. Theming was
the new buzzword and every corner of the park was considered for a
remodel or refurbishment.
With the addition of the Batman Stunt Arena in 1992 and Batman: The Ride in 1993 both in the Movietown section of the park, the area connecting the two attractions soon would become part of the themed area of Gotham City.
Like many areas around the park, shower heads were added in low traffic areas which offered guests an opportunity to run under its cool refreshing jets to help beat the heat. The 1994 Movietown version was mounted along the fence next to the stunt arena with a sign reading "Axis Chemical Wash". The simple shower head would be turned on for the hottest days of summer and remain off the balance of the season.
The following season the simple shower head was replaced with a much
more elaborate structure and cooling station, the Coca Cola Cool Zone.
The new corporate sponsorship meant an elaborate themed structure could
be built which featured misters surrounding a bank of Coca-Cola vending
machines bringing two forms of cooling refreshment together to help beat
the summer heat.
The structure was created with an industrial look to fit the dark look of the neighboring attractions. Many guests took advantage of the opportunity to cool off without the need to wait on line for a water ride. The Coca-Cola Cool Zone was especially popular just before and after stunt show performances when guests would pack themselves in under the misters. This refreshing feature proved to be the perfect draw to the bank of Coke vending machines which often needed to be replenished many times each day.
To the left of the Cool Zone were two facades that extended the attraction's reach closer to the center of Movietown. These included the Coca-Cola Shoppe which featured a "closed" sign in the window and the Mid Town Garage complete with a faux roll-up garage door. Both of these were purely decorative movie sets.
Axis Chemical Wash
Through the Years
1994 - Axis Chemical Wash (Showerhead)
1995-2003 - Coca-Cola Cool Zone (Vending, Misters, Scenic Facade)
2004-2007 - Coca-Cola Cool Zone and Climb the Ladder Game
2008 - Glow in the Park VIP Seating (Coca-Cola Cool Zone removed)
2009 - Canopy Removed
2010 - General Seating Area
2011-2012 - Smoking Area
2013-Present - Non-descript Facade
In 2004, the Cool Zone got a new neighbor with the addition of a
traditional "Climb the Ladder" game in front of the Coca-Cola shop and
neighboring garage. The ladder climb was installed under a new
canvas awning supported by a large metal frame complete with a pair of
old-style decorative lamp posts.
The ladder climb remained popular for a couple of seasons but its appeal soon died off with the discontinuation of the Batman stunt shows after the 2005 season. Just the simple lack of foot traffic for the shows was enough to warrant the game of skill to be removed after the 2007 season.
The 2008 season saw the removal of the Cool Zone, and the canopy that
had been used for the Climb the Ladder game became seating for the
adjoining restaurants as well as a VIP seating area for the new Glow in
the Park Parade.
This area was still under-utilized and at the end of the 2008 season the canopy was removed from the Movietown area. The uncovered seating area remained until 2011 when the fenced patio was made into one of the park's smoking areas.
After the 2008 season, the Movietown awning replaced what was once the
Virtual Quest attraction near the Big Wheel. Virtual Quest
originally opened as a virtual reality game and was updated to a remote
control cars game before its removal.
For 2009, the Climb the Ladder game reappeared along Dream Street as the Ladder Climb along with the blue awning from its former location as part of the Coca-Cola Cool Zone and Axis Chemcial Wash attraction.
The smoking area only lasted in this location for the 2011 and 2012
seasons marking it the last dedicated use of the facade and patio area.
The former location of the Axis Chemical Wash/Cool Zone/Climb the Ladder game is now vacant with just the worn facades that were built as the backdrop still in place. At the top of the structure still stands the Axis Chemical Co. water tower prop along with the pipes on the wall from the former Cool Zone, all serving as a reminder of the things that have come and gone at this once highly detailed and refreshing attraction.
|Original Spotlight: June 7, 2018. GAH Reference #: ATTR-1995-002|