Looking back, some of the best days we have had so far on this trip are ones where not much was planned at all. Wednesday was one of these days. We stopped last night in a shabby little hotel on the border of New Jersey and Delaware. The outside of the building looked horrible, but the room was satisfactory for one night.
We didn’t leave the hotel on Wednesday morning until about 11am. Our final destination for the day was South Brunswick, New Jersey which is just outside Princeton. We figured that we might as well check out the towns of Newark and Wilmington in Delaware just across the border before heading north.
The first stop of the day was Newark, Delaware. I don’t really know a lot about this town, but it was quaint and quiet. We simply drove around the streets taking in the scenery for about 30 minutes. I loved the look and feel of the residential areas. Before leaving Newark, we stopped for lunch and then headed to Wilmington.
Wilmington is the biggest city in the small state of Delaware. Once again we didn’t have anywhere specific to go, so we headed to the small downtown area. As we were driving through downtown, I saw a sign with an arrow pointing towards their main park along with a zoo, so we headed over. We opted not to go into the zoo, as we were going to visit a safari park on Thursday. The park itself, turned out to be very beautiful. A small river ran right through the center and we even spotted a few locals fly fishing in the distance. After strolling through a rose garden on display, we decided to take a hike through some of the forest running through the park. Thankfully, this hike gave us a little exercise for the day! After about an hour, we decided to get back into the car and head north towards Princeton, and our hotel.
Before checking in to our hotel, we drove around the campus of Princeton University. As most people know, Princeton is an elite school in the Ivy League. The campus is very old and quite nice. The scenery surrounding the campus features a standard set of businesses catering to college students mixed in with residential areas. Before long we decided to head for the hotel.
On Wednesday night we drove around the area a little more, before finding a place for dinner. After dinner we then went back to the hotel to settle down for the night. Thursday morning we had to be up early so we could get to Six Flags Safari Adventure by 9am. The days that we get up really early are few and far between these days.
Thursday we were up and out of the hotel at 8:30am. The Six Flags parks were about 30 miles from the hotel so we had a bit of a drive. I am not going to go into very much detail about this Six Flags Thursday, but I think we saw and experienced a couple of things worth mentioning.
Six Flags Safari Adventure is the largest drive through safari park outside of Africa. (At least according to them.) The park is 350 acres and has a 4.5 mile road that travels through it. Guests are allowed to drive their own cars down the long winding road through the park. This allows for some close encounters with the various animals. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was included with our season passes, so we decided to give it a whirl. The park seemed pretty well maintained and the amount of animals on display was impressive. Overall, it was definitely a worthwhile experience.
I want to talk a little about the animals on display. Some animals were behind barriers (monkeys, lions, tigers, bears) and some were allowed to freely roam. (Giraffes, llamas, ostriches, elephants, etc.) The park is broken down into 9 different areas, each with a slightly different landscape depending on the animals on display. While this wasn’t the pristine experience to be had at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I feel it was much more real. Once again, I have to say that it was a pleasant surprise!
It took us about an hour to complete the 4.5 mile drive. When it was over we headed next door to Six Flags Great Adventure. Six Flags Great Adventure was once owned by Marriott and the difference shows compared to some of the other Six Flags parks (Six Flags America in Washington D.C. comes to mind). Six Flags Great Adventure is very large and nicely themed. In fact, it holds the world record for most rides in a theme park with 72. However, the most important thing to me, is that Great Adventure has quite a few wonderful roller coasters.
I am not going to go into many details about the coasters, but one deserves to be mentioned. Kingda Ka is the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster. It stands 456 feet tall and reaches a top speed of 128 MPH. Kingda Ka, as it towers high above everything else in the area, looks like a beast. Jasmine and I were delighted when we actually were able to get on this ride. Kingda Ka wasn’t open much of the day and I was worried that we might not have an oppurtunity to experience it.
Fortunately, Kingda Ka opened in the early afternoon and we got in line. After about 30 minutes in line, the ride broke down, but we waited around for a while to find out what was going on. After another 30 minutes of waiting, not one employee had come to tell us what the problem was or how long it would be, so Jasmine and I decided to get out of line. Just as we left the line, Kingda Ka started to run again. I was disappointed with the lack of customer service and promptly told guest relations about it. I think the poor service we have experienced over our five Six Flags visits built up and at that moment I just reached my limit! The good thing that came from all of this, is guest relations gave me a front of the line pass for my trouble. Six Flags still has a ways to go in training their employees on how to properly deal with guests! The ride itself is quite an experience and something I would recommend to everyone. Come on, it isn’t that bad. Really!
We left when the park closed at 6pm and headed for our hotel. Tonight we are staying in Philadelphia. We will be in the City of Brotherly Love until Sunday when we head up to New York. I love the scenery here in the northeast, but the people we have encountered so far are much different than in the south or southeast. I had several moments today where I saw behavior that was unbelievable. On the other hand I met several very nice people as well. It all balances out in the end. We are enjoying ourselves tremendously. More from Philly soon!
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The Coomer Family