Animal shows have often been part of theme parks and amusement parks. With these shows come the facilities to house and care for those animals. The bigger and more elaborate the production, the larger the backstage facilities to house the animals.
|As part of the original spectacular plans for Great Adventure, the Great Arena was designed to be a showcase for amazing performances. Many of these featured an array of animals including a large number of horses for both the Chariot Race and Wild West Shows as well as other circus style acts.
|Matching the oversized Great Arena, an equally large stable facility was built big enough to house dozens of horses as well as chariots, a stage coach, and all the other equipment for the extravagant productions. The spectacular shows lasted through the 1970's, but the stables continued to be used for subsequent offerings.
|With a greater focus on concerts and the discontinuation of daily shows in the Great Arena the stables went into a period of disuse and became mainly storage for the park. Construction, maintenance, and landscaping equipment and supplies were all stored in and around the stable building. Generally, the building was unused/under-used given its remote location at the far edge of the park.
|Throughout its history, the Great Arena Stables were a backstage structure inaccessible to guests. However, that all changed during Fright Fest in 2005 when the park allowed access to the remote building when it became "The Junkyard" terror trail. The remote location made it ideal for a spooky setting to walk through with plenty of places for ghouls to hide in and around the vacant horse stalls and stored equipment and parts. The trail only lasted for one season.
|When the Safari
Off-Road Adventure was added to the theme park in 2013, a new road
connecting the park to the Safari was routed right behind the stables.
The building sat up from the road and a berm of bushes was planted along
the existing tree-line to help screen the building from the new Safari truck
route. At the same time the stable building itself was reduced in
size with approximately 25% of the structure removed. Even so,
Safari Off-Road Adventure explorers could catch a glimpse of the
building by peering into the area from a small access road.
Weather continued to take its toll on the Great Arena Stables and at one point a portion of the ageing structure's roof collapsed. With less and less need for the stables the building's decline continued and was finally demolished during the first half of 2022.
It has yet to be seen what will become of the Great Arena Stables site as it now sits vacant. With the apparent discontinued use of the neighboring Great Arena (Northern Star Arena), it is possible the overall area could become home to a major addition in the future.
|Original Spotlight: September 27, 2022. GAH Reference#: BACK-1974-001
|SAFARI OFF ROAD ADVENTURE