* Standing but not operating from 1987 to 1989
Miniature golf courses have always been a source of fun for families across the United States. From small local courses to highly themed multi-level ones like those found on New Jersey's boardwalks, a miniature golf course is often the perfect complement to the wide variety of attractions and entertainment found at an amusement or theme park.
|For the first five seasons in
Great Adventure's history, the park played host to the Garden of
Marvels. This intricately detailed 1/24th scale miniature village
which spanned more than an acre ended its 5-year leasing contract and
was removed after the 1978 season. In 1979, a new attraction, Chip
Shot Miniature Golf, replaced the Garden of Marvels' buildings but still
made use of its unique layout and hilly terrain.
|The removal of the
Garden of Marvels' dozens of buildings was fairly simple given that most
of the structures simply featured a wooden base that sat directly on the
ground. One exception was the largest piece, Neuschwanstein
Castle, which was perched upon the highest of the area's mock-mountains.
The removal of the castle resulted in a gaping hole in the mountain
range which became home to a much more simplistic and somewhat smaller
In addition, further down the mountain range, a miniaturized version of Mount Rushmore was added to scenic mountainous backdrop.
|The new miniature golf course utilized the same concrete walkways that once afforded thousands a chance to view the beautiful Garden of Marvels buildings. The 18 holes of the course were placed throughout the massive area occupying the same spaces where all the buildings were once located. The meandering waterways were left in place, necessitating the need for small wooden footbridges to allow guests to play golf on these tiny islands. Quite often, a bad putt or an anxious child's swing would mean a ball was shot into the water canals, but they could easily be retrieved being the water was only about a foot deep.|
|All 18 golf holes
featured green Astroturf with molded plastic edging and built-in
obstacles. These ranged from simple intrusive blocks, to
elaborated spirals, to a hole set atop of a tough-to-get up pyramid.
In addition, each hole was home to an oversized fiberglass animal
including a bear, giraffe, monkey, ostrich, camel, and zebra to name a
Every hole was marked with a numbered flag that could be found around each challenge's tin cup. While commonly decorative in nature on smaller courses, these flags served as a true navigational instrument for golfers on this course. Even though the park provided assistance in the form of little yellow signs pointing you to the next hole, it was very common for guests to tackle holes out of order. The course required a lot of walking including a grand circle trip up and over the mountain range in addition to some doubling back upon some paths.
|The initial layout of the golf course included two holes at the top of the mountain range- one on each side of the model castle. These two holes were situated on the inclined walkways leading up and down the mountain range and often caused golfers to lose their ball down the back of the mountains. After only one season, the two holes were moved down to the level ground surrounding the old Garden of Marvels' Koi Pond where it was harder for golf balls to go missing.|
|The Chip Shot Miniature Golf course closed to guests in 1986 but the majority of props remained on site during the years that followed. An adjacent remote control boats pond was also shuttered. White picket fences were placed at the two entrances to the area barring any guests from entering.|
|The entire Garden of Marvels/Chip
Shot Miniature Golf Course was removed during the 1989 season as site
preparation began taking place for 1990's new ShockWave standup
Even though this area of the park, an original since 1974 would be gone, several of the props from the golf course would live on.
|A few of the fiberglass animals including the lion, giraffe, and alligator resurfaced in 1991's new Adventure Golf mini golf course. When that closed in 1995 the lion and giraffe migrated to parking lot outside the Safari Hospitality Center.|
|In 2007, when the
Safari Hospitality Center became the Safari Exploration Station, the
lion and giraffe took up residence inside that new area and were joined
by several additional mini golf props including a camel and another
Most recently Camp Aventura, the midway stopping point of the Safari Off Road Adventure, now hosts two of the giraffe figures which once greeted players at the Chip Shot Miniature Golf.