Landscaping as part of the enhancement of a park's natural beauty has long been a crucial part of amusement parks around the world. Many parks started out as true "parks" where they were simply natural spaces where people would gather and have fun, later adding shows, rides, and attractions. Theme parks continued this tradition creating beauty in a more artificial setting than the traditional parks, with many parks utilizing elaborate landscaping and flower beds to enhance the natural setting.
|In the aftermath of the tragic fire that destroyed the Haunted Castle in May 1984, a decision was made that the former attraction site should not be redeveloped. The area where the Haunted Castle stood was on a busy pathway in the park where guests would make their way to major rides like Freefall and popular shows in the Showcase Theatre. The site was also right across from the popular Musik Express which still drew guests so with so much traffic passing through the area the park decided to respectfully beautify what had been the scene of such a terrible tragedy. While lush grass and new trees quickly filled the area as soon as the Haunted Castle's debris was removed, in 1989, five years after the fire, the Six Flags Great Adventure Botanical Garden was opened.|
|The Botanical Garden
was a showcase for the park's great Landscape Department. The gently
curving gravel pathway wound through the area with a walkway edged with stacked stone. Trees, shrubs, and flowers
lined both sides of the walkway with grassy areas between the beds. Some
hanging plants were displayed on the white metal hangers that were also found
in other parts of the park. Along the pathways were a few
benches offering a place to sit and relax during what could be a hectic
day at the park.
The ends of the pathway through the garden had gates so the garden could be closed off if necessary. The path was shut after dark due to the lack of lighting and was often closed in the park's spring and fall "shoulder seasons" when the crowds were lighter. This also allowed the landscapers an opportunity to plant new seasonal flower beds. For the 1991-1993 seasons the Botanical Garden was named for William "Bill" Hettman, the retired head of the park's Landscaping Department and in 1992 the area's gravel walkway was replaced with more formal stone pavers.
After a change in park ownership, for the 1994 season the garden was removed as that section of the park expanded theming as the Old Country area with a new Autobahn bumper cars ride. In 1999 the remainder of the area became home to the Pendulum ride. Today, the area is once again mostly a grass covered site behind Cyborg Cyber Spin.
|Original Spotlight: August 24, 2021. GAH Reference#: ATTR-1989-001|