In the 1980's there was a new trend in theme parks to add more activities to children's attractions and encourage physical activity alongside the traditional kiddie rides.
|For the 1984 season, Great
Adventure introduced Shirt Tales Land- an updated version of the Kiddie
Kingdom kids area. A big part of the expansion was new interactive play
elements, similar to those being offered by the competition in nearby
Sesame Place. Tyg's Gymnasium was one of three new interactive play
areas added towards the rear of the newly themed land.
Occupying the former site of the Super Sidewinder ride, Shirt Tales Land's new additions included a dedicated ball crawl attraction, a net climb and slide structure, and Tyg's Gymnasium which featured smaller versions of both of these. The interior had a climbing structure for exploring and a central rope climbing pyramid with ball pit around it. Children were welcome to tackle this undercover obstacle course, sans shoes. Everything was padded and safe for little guests to explore and burn off the cotton candy fueled energy between spinning rides.
|Tyg's Gymnasium was
renamed with the introduction of the Looney Tunes characters- becoming
the Porky Pig Playground in 1985 and reintroduced once again in 1988 as
the Elmer Fudd Fun Factory when Looney Tunes Land became Bugs Bunny
Originally the height requirement for the Gymnasium was 54" and less - a uniform measurement for most of the children's area. However, a change from 54" to 42" was later implemented because the bigger kids were no match for the smaller ones and given the tight quarters of the attraction this allowed for a more enjoyable experience for the younger kids.
The small passages and restrictive access to the Gymnasium's activities often created issues when employees had to venture inside to rescue a frighten child or one who just exhausted all his energy and didn't want to try to get out of the complex maze of obstacles. As a result, usually smaller framed employees staffed the gym.
|Over time the trends
changed, and the ball pits and climbing structures fell out of favor
with kids and parents. For the 2001 season the building was gutted and
stocked with picnic tables used for hosting birthday parties and its
last purpose was at the end of 2004 when a mash-up of fencing panels
were installed creating a Halloween Kids Maze for Fright Fest.
At the end of the 2004 season, the Bugs Bunny Land children's area was closed to create the new Golden Kingdom themed area for the 2005 season. All of Bugs Bunny Land's rides and buildings were removed except for the Gymnasium. The structure for the Gymnasium was repurposed to become the Balin's Bazaar gift shop, standing today on the pathway to Kingda Ka.
|Original Spotlight: February 6, 2021. GAH Reference#: KIDS-1984-002|