In the 1970's the new trend in theme parks was to introduce elaborate climbing structures as part of children's areas, with parks like Sesame Place leading the way. Over time more elaborate play equipment was introduced in theme parks around the world, replacing more traditional sandbox and standard playground areas. The trend continued as more elaborate themed structures were created.
|Last update to this page: June 1, 2012 (Original Publication)
|The Tigerland Treehouse was a
pair of large towers with three levels standing nearly forty feet tall.
The two towers were connected with a series of bridges and a connecting
smaller tower in between. The bridges were designed to span the railroad
tracks below for the Jungleland Express.
|The towers of Tigerland Treehouse
featured multiple levels of fun and exploration, with various types of
elements throughout. The towers also featured multiple slides of varying
heights including an elephant head and trunk near the entrance to the
Two of the towers, the "C" and "D" towers, were located in the center of the track loop of the Jungleland Express on an "island". Guests were supposed to only enter and exit through the "A" tower where they entered, limiting access to the climbing structure to keep smaller kids in and bigger kids out.
The tubular steel framework of the Tigerland Treehouse was nearly
complete at the start of the 2005 season as work continued on the Golden
Kingdom area of the park. The steel frame was completed in the ensuing
weeks, with the decks and railings being added.
To finish the towers, fiberglass roofs designed to look like thatching were placed atop the frames. The plastic slide tubes were added next, with the colorful spirals being bolted together.
|The connecting bridge between the towers was one of the final structural pieces of the Treehouse to be installed. With the structures nearly complete, the concrete pavement beneath the towers was poured and the log fences around the structures were installed.
|To complete the look
of the Tigerland Treehouse the outer corners of the towers were fitted
with fiberglass panels to give them more permanence and help convey the
jungle theme of the new Golden Kingdom area.
With the bulk of the Golden Kingdom complete, and the signs and landscaping in place, the area was ready to open to the public for a passholder preview on April 22, 2005. Though the section was open, the actual attractions were not since they had not had their final inspections from the State of New Jersey and Jackson Township officials, so they stood looking ready but not yet open. In just a few days, the inspections would be completed and the Treehouse would be open to the public.
|One of the most
striking features of the Tigerland Treehouse was elephant trunk slide.
The giant, ornately decorated elephant head really stood out
figuratively and literally, right near the entrance of the play area.
The overall structures of the Treehouse were really spectacular, unlike anything ever offered at Great Adventure in the past. There was just no comparison between the Treehouse and the old pieces of playground equipment that was part of Bugs Bunny Land.
Though the old Bugs Bunny Land play structures were state of the art when they were installed in 1988, they were small and simple in comparison. Balin's Jungleland offered better attractions (though fewer rides) than its predecessor.
|Among the activities
of the Treehouse were varieties of net climbs and other challenges. Even
the bridges between the towers were varied with a section of "bouncy"
suspension bridge and a tightrope section. One of the most unique
features was the drums featured throughout the structures bringing a
One unexpected challenge of the Treehouse was the slides. The slides that were in the hot sun became unbearably hot for use, so at times some or all of them were closed off. As the vegetation grew in, the problem was slowly solved, leading to fewer closures.
|The biggest of all
the problems of the Tigerland Treehouse was the lack of an exit for the
second tower. The problem led to the Jungleland Express not operating at
all for the 2005 season. It was only after a safe crossing for the train
tracks was devised that the train could finally open for the 2006
Before the start of the 2011 season, the Tigerland Treehouse was removed and the Balin's Jungleland section of the park was closed. In a park with four children's areas Balin's became superfluous and was no longer needed in the park. The area has been set aside for future redevelopment.