Along with rides geared towards children, theme parks have often featured children's shows as part of the overall offerings for families. Most parks feature a scaled down theater as part of the children's section where kid friendly acts perform throughout the day.
|Plans for a
children's theater date back to 1976 when Great Adventure's original
children's section Ride-A-Rama was removed and the new Kiddie Kingdom
section was created. Though renderings of Kiddie Kingdom showed a
theater as part of the new area, none was built for several years.
Instead, Kiddie Kingdom featured a ship-shaped puppet theater for some
With the makeover of Kiddie Kingdom in 1984 when the Shirt Tales characters were brought to the park, a children's theater was constructed as part of the children's section's total makeover. For the 1984 season the "Shirt Tale Shenanigans" debuted in the Shirt Tales Theater.
|The Shirt Tales were
short-lived, with the Looney Tunes characters taking over in 1985. Six
Flags had acquired the rights to the Looney Tunes characters with the
purchase of Great America in Gurnee, Illinois from Marriott. With the
arrival of the Looney Tunes, all of the Six Flags parks rethemed their
children's areas as Looney Tunes Land, and the theater took on the name
Looney Tunes Theater. The "Mr. Bugs Bunny & Friends" show premiered in
spring of 1985 and ran all season.
|Though the Looney Tunes were at the park to stay, the Theater was referred to as the Kiddie Theater for the 1986-87 seasons and played host to a family friendly bird show. For the 1986 season the show was called "Cheep Thrills" and for 1987 it was known as "Feathered Follies". Another name change and facelift was coming for the 1988 season as the children's section was renamed and rethemed again.
Theater Names & Shows Through the Years
1984 - Shirt Tale Shenanigans - Shirt Tales Theatre
1985 - Mr. Bugs Bunny & Friends - Looney Tunes Theatre
1986 - Cheep Thrills - Kiddie Theater
1987 - Feathered Follies - Kiddie Theater
1988 to 1989 - The Bugs Bunny Wonder Circus - Bugs Bunny Theatre
1990 - Bugs Bunny Birthday Show - Bugs Bunny Theatre
1991 to 1992 - The Bugs Bunny Magic World of Kids - Bugs Bunny Theatre
1993 to 1994 - Bugs Bunny Goin' Hollywood - Bugs Bunny Land Theatre
1995 to 1996 - Bugs Bunny Wacky World Games - Bugs Bunny Theatre
1997 to 1998 - Warner Bros. Kids Club - Bugs Bunny Theater
1999 to 2002 - What's Up, ROCK? - Bugs Bunny Land Theater
2003 to 2004 - Warner Bros. Kids Club - Bugs Bunny Theater
Six Flags Great Adventure introduced Bugs Bunny Land which was part of
the park's strategy to try and attract families after a year of bad
publicity in 1987. As part of the Bugs Bunny Land makeover, the theater
was expanded and a covered viewing area was built to provide a break
from the summer sun for both the audience and performers.
The covering for the theater wasn't in place until several weeks into the 1988 season. The first show presented in the 'new' Bugs Bunny Theater was the "Bugs Bunny Wonder Circus" which ran for two seasons, combining the Looney Tunes characters with circus animals played by children from the audience.
The shows presented in the Theater were updated ever few seasons. For 1990, the "Bugs Bunny Birthday Show" played, celebrating Bugs Bunny's 50th birthday every day.
For 1991-92 the "Bugs Bunny Magic World of Kids" played, the with the acquisition of Six Flags by Time Warner, "Bugs Bunny Goin' Hollywood" took over.
For 1995-96 Six Flags cashed in on Olympic Fever with the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games taking place in summer 1996. The "Bugs Bunny Wacky World Games" was an Olympic style competition between the Looney Tunes.
For 1997-98, the "Warner Brothers Kids Club" came to Bugs Bunny Land, promoting the Looney Tunes and the new Time Warner owned "WB" network.
The longest running show in the Theater was the "What's Up Rock" show which ran from 1999 through 2002.
A new version of the "Warner Brothers Kids Club" came back to the Bugs Bunny Theater for the 2003 and 2004 seasons and it was to be the last show at the children's theater since the Bugs Bunny Land section would be demolished to make way for The Golden Kingdom.
|Throughout the years,
the basic theater changed little. It was a simple box of a building with
dressing area backstage and a small proscenium with side stage areas and
flats behind them making the stage appear larger than it was.
The seating was a set of simple aluminum benches which before the addition of the covering would get extremely hot. The heat also took its toll of the costumed performers in the show, so the shade structure was a huge improvement for guests and performers alike.
Since the removal of Bugs Bunny Land the Looney Tunes shows were moved into the former Bandstand on the Lake which was rethemed as the Bugs Bunny Wilderness Theater as part of Bugs Bunny National Park.