Games have been a big part of amusement areas since they first began, and theme parks incorporated games into the mix of attractions offered as both a fun activity as well as a big source of revenue. Games of skill (and luck) giving out an array of prizes have always called to passing guests who willingly parted with their hard earned cash trying to demonstrate their skills for their friends and other guests.
|For the 1979, season Great Adventure added Rolling Thunder, and along with it a southwestern themed area of the park. Though the area was never given a formal name, a new block of games was added to go with the new coaster. The games area was known as Hernando's Hide-a-way, a name of a club from a song in the musical Pajama Game which had been a hit in the 1950's and even became a pop music hit. The Hernando's Hide-a-way area had no connection to the song, but the alliterative name was catchy.|
The buildings were done with a stucco
finish and barrel tile roofs to create a southwestern feel, and the
games were initially given names to match, though they would eventually
become more generic.
Through the years the games changed with the times. Quite often when a new game was introduced in the park, the most popular version was added to main games area Goodtime Alley, while a second (often lesser) version was added to Hernando's Hide-a-way. While Goodtime Alley had Whack-A-Mole and Frog Bog, Hernando's was home to the variations Smack-A-Shark and Chicken in the Pot.
|With the enhancement or retheming of the park by Time Warner in the 1990's, the area officially became part of Frontier Adventures with the addition of the neighboring Viper roller coaster. Fresh colorful paint and banners were added to help tie the buildings in better thematically. In 2006, the area was rethemed as Plaza del Carnaval with the addition of El Toro, and Hernando's was now known as Fiesta Games and sported a huge new sign to draw attention to it.|
|For the 2006 season, Six Flags new direction under Red Zone ownership introduced more brands to the parks including Johnny Rockets, and part of the former games building was converted into a shakes and fries stand. The addition of Johnny Rockets was fairly popular (adjacent to a very popular coaster), though the look of the stand broke the theming of the area.|
|With the split of Red Zone from Six Flags ownership, several of the Johnny Rockets locations which were added to the parks changed into other dining options. The Fiesta Games location became a Totally Kickin' Chicken Boneless Wings stand in 2012 when this new brand was added to the park.|
Over the years the games in Hernando's Hide-a-way slowly transitioned from
competition games with attendants into fully automated games. No
longer are large hoops tossed, water guns aimed, or even billiard balls
racked up. Now all the games are coin or token operated requiring minimal staffing.
What had once been one of the most bustling areas of the park in the
80's and 90's has become an afterthought as part of a dining area and
access pathway to a restroom.
But at the very least the old Hernando's Hide-a-way stand's architectural style makes us remember the good old days when it was the little sister to Rolling Thunder's much larger station building. And after all, who didn't check out Hernando's Hide-a-way games when exiting Rolling Thunder?
|Original Spotlight: July 30, 2020. GAH Reference#: GAME-1979-001|