An Original Park Attraction


Amusement parks have always been notorious for constantly changing their offerings from season to season.  Many times that means simply changing the types of food or merchandise sold by a particular location, but in one case it meant changing a snake exhibit into a hat stand.

 
     
Built as part of the Happy Feeling petting zoo area of the park, the Snake Pit was one of the most unique structures at Great Adventure, a park full of unique buildings. The octagonal structure was designed to offer views of a collection of snakes from all sides of the animal house.  Huge panes of glass encircled  a central display that stretched from ground level up to the top of its 18 foot ceiling.  Inside, large tree branches afforded the many species of snakes an opportunity to hang from above behind the protective windows.

     
     
     
When Happy feeling was removed, the area was converted into a new attraction section connecting Dream Street to Fun Fair. The former snake exhibit was converted into a hat shop with the former snake enclosure becoming the storage room for the shop and sales counters being added on four of the eight sides facing the public pathway. The shop was given the name "The Mad Hatter" and featured a version of the famous namesake character from Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
     
Under Time Warner's ownership of Six Flags great effort was put into bringing cohesive themes to some of the generic areas of the park with the area between Dream Street and Movie Town taking on the Old Country name and theme in 1994. The Mad Hatter became the Bavarian Hat Works as a part of the re-theme and continued to offer various forms of headgear. 

  
 
     
     
As the popularity of souvenir hats declined the selection of merchandise changed incorporating t-shirts and toys. The stand was used for reservations for the Hayride for Fright Fest in 2001, before it became a location for Henna Tattoos for several seasons.
   
     
     
The Henna Tattoo stand stayed until Old Country was closed in 2008 and the building was vacated. The empty stand was located at the edge of the park's Cabana Cove area and served as storage for some of the furnishings for the cabanas for a short while. Today the building is used for storage.
   
     
     
     
   
     
   
     
  The rear of the building still has one of the original windows in place from when it served as a snake display and a raised door remains which was the original  access for the animal keepers who tended to the menagerie of snakes.