The Original Rootin' Tootin' from 1974
Click on any of the attractions below for more information.
Like most theme parks, Great Adventure featured a western themed section with all the excitement and adventure of America's western frontier. While most parks offered a version of the old west where the buildings were scaled down, Warner LeRoy's vision was the opposite, with the structures like the Fort, Super Teepee and Conestoga Wagon created in oversized scale. The effect was amazing, making the Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin' area of the park the strongest thematic statement of the park and most memorable.
|The Runaway Mine Train was the signature roller coaster of the Enchanted Forest, offering a wild ride through the woods and over the water. The ride's station shared the Fort with the Skyride and was designed to be visually striking as the track dropped down in front of the massive structure, skimming along the lake, then turning upward just below the low flying Skyride cars.
|The Skyride served as transportation from one end of the park to the other as well as offering a thrilling ride high above the treetops and an incredible view of the park below as well as the surrounding hills and forests. The station in the Fort offered a spectacular beginning or ending to the high flying trip as the cars entered and emerged between the massive towers along the lake.
|The Log Flume was perhaps the most popular ride in the Enchanted Forest theme park. Billed as the "world's longest flume ride," the lines to ride it were the longest lines in the park, especially on hot summer days. The Log Flume has continued to delight riders season after season.
|Though envisioned as one of the original attractions at Great Adventure in 1974, the Paddle Boats were not added until 1983. The upcharge attraction was short lived, being removed at the end of the 1988 season as part of safety improvements made throughout the property .
|Best of the West was one of the three major restaurants at Great Adventure, offering large indoor and outdoor dining areas. The huge log structure was the most complex expensive structure built in the initial construction of the park, and continues to endure to this day as one of the most popular places in the park for dining.
|The Conestoga Wagon was the most elaborately themed snack bar built at Great Adventure. The huge wagon shaped building was designed to serve the large crowds that flocked to the shows in the Great Arena, and originally featured a very elaborate and colorful paint scheme as well as artistic details.
|The Great Arena was the largest show venue at Great Adventure with seating for thousands of guests. The Arena originally was host to spectacular productions featuring dozens of performers and horses presenting chariot races, a wild west show, and other stunts performed live and up close to the crowds on the dirt floor. Over the seasons other acts including a tiger show, acrobats and even a circus took up residence in the Great Arena. Today as the Northern Star Arena it primarily serves as the park's concert venue, hosting big name acts throughout the summer.
|The Shoot Out was the first of many shooting galleries Great Adventure has had over the years and was a wildly popular attraction in the time before the rise of video games. The addition of other games and arcades in the park over time combined with the out of the way location of the building led to the eventual closure of this shooting gallery.
|One of the most recognizable features of the Rootin' Tootin' area was the enormous Super Teepee which was a spectacular centerpiece of the area. The Teepee was an honest to goodness tent constructed of a huge log framework covered with a colorful canvas skin. The shop inside initially sold western and Native American gifts and crafts. Over the years the skin was replaced several times, but with the ravages of time on the structural logs combined with a destructive storm ripping the canvas, the Super Teepee was removed during the 2007-2008 off season.
|The Fort was the true standout structure of the entire Rootin' Tootin' area as the first thing guests entering the area saw whether they were on foot or arriving by Skyride. Standing on the shore of the lake, the Fort has always been the most photographed structure in the park. The Fort was designed to be the station for two of the major rides that opened with the park, the Skyride and the Runaway Mine Train.
The Rootin' Tootin' name lasted only for the first two seasons, and when
the Enchanted Forest name was dropped from the theme park, the western
section took on the name Best of the West.
For the 1978 season, the park debuted fireworks in the lake in front of the Fort. The small size of the lake meant that guests were incredibly close to the mortars, so the scale and scope of the display was limited and required the closure of the Runaway Mine Train and Skyride for the shows. The fireworks would continue to be launched from in front of the Fort through the 1982 season.
Introduced to the lake in 1980 was a set of remote controlled boats which operated in a confined area close to the shore. Remote controlled boats and cars located elsewhere in the park had proved very popular, and the huge waterway in front of the Fort allowed for a much larger scale fleet of boats and ships.
The 1983 season was a big year throughout the park with major new additions everywhere. In Best of the West, the Paddle Boats that were planned for the park's opening in 1974 were finally introduced and a new stand was added across from the Runaway Mine Train. The new stand was caboose shaped and was originally sponsored by Tuscan Dairies who also sponsored the neighboring Runaway Mine Train.
In 1986, the former dead ends of Best of the West and Hernando's
Hideaway were connected with a bridge spanning Lahaway Creek as part of
the addition of the Ultra Twister roller coaster. In 1992, the bridge
would further unite the two areas as much of the park was re-themed and
improved. Together, Best of the West and Hernando's Hideaway became the
Frontier Adventure's area of the park with the west and the southwest
being joined together in name and in added theme elements. One of those
theme elements added was a stage coach that had been part of the 1974 Great Arena show.
The additional theme elements and improvements continued in 1993 with a new stage being added next to the Fort for a new western show. The Great Arena also got renamed and rethemed as part of the makeover, becoming the Northern Star Arena.
In 1999, a new first of its kind coaster was added to the section with the addition of Medusa. The new floorless coaster was built on a site that had at one point been the planned home to a new wooden "Cyclone" style coaster years before. The Medusa coaster was given a western theme with the back-story of the legend of the "Medusa Mine". Medusa would get a makeover becoming Bizarro for the 2009 season.
|Postcards Featuring Rootin' Tootin'
|Rootin' Tootin' as pictured in the 1974 Souvenir Booklet.