Move Over, Winter…Here Comes the Bloom
Six Flags Great Adventure’s Landscaping Department Prepares for Spectacular Spring and Summer Displays
* All pictures courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure
JACKSON, NJ – Despite the gloomy, grey skies and frigid temperatures, spring has already sprung in the greenhouses at Six Flags Great Adventure. The landscaping department is hard at work preparing for a vibrant display to celebrate the park’s April 12 opening and have already planted the seeds for a spectacular summer.
Cool spring temperatures are a challenge for delicate flowers, so the landscaping department will plant 14,000 colorful and winter-resistant pansies throughout the park for its spring opening. Despite this massive undertaking, the team of 22 workers plus manager Bill Hettman already have their sights set on summer.
For the park’s summer display, the landscape team will plant 33,000 flowers including begonia, salvia, dusty miller, coleus, vinca, pentas and 3,000 multi-colored New Guinea impatiens. They will hang 550 massive begonia, petunia and geranium baskets (250 of which are created and grown in-house), and place 40 giant, ornamental pots they have arranged using elephant ears, canna lilies and hibiscus throughout the park. Floral wreaths meticulously created by hand will adorn buildings along Main Street and the fences in Fantasy Forest. The landscaping department will complete their designs with 14 signature topiaries they have grown, ranging from notable cartoon characters to oversized animals, like elephants, swans, rhinos and flamingoes. Much of this work is underway or already completed in the park’s three greenhouses.
At Hurricane Harbor, the landscaping department will bring the park’s tropical theme to life with the addition of 70 palm trees, 300 tropical flora, plus an array of ti plants and Chinese fan palms. Everything will be planted by the water park’s opening day, May 24.
“All winter, we have been hard at work plowing snow and spreading sand and salt to manage the ice. We have miles and miles of roadway and sidewalks that our employees use to get to their workplaces and our animals even when the parks are closed,” Hettman said. “But that is behind us now, and we are focused on delivering our most incredible summer display in history.”
During the peak season, the landscape team swells to 40 members who manage everything from spring cleanup to overnight watering, aquatic maintenance of the park’s water fountains and pools, and beautifying the park’s iconic attractions, such as Safari Off Road Adventure, which opened last year, and Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, debuting this spring.
“We have exciting plans for Safari Off Road Adventure’s loading station this year, and we will be one of the finishing touches to the new Zumanjaro area before it opens to the public later this spring,” Hettman said.
Working in the landscaping department is physically strenuous work, but rewarding, he noted. “The experience on our team ranges from newcomers to 40 years,” said Hettman, who has 33 years of Six Flags landscape experience under his belt. “We have a very high rehire rate and loyalty among our team. They are a great group of people who love what they do, and it shows.”
“Every year, Bill and his team create spectacular landscaping displays that have become attractions in themselves,” said Park President John Fitzgerald. “The landscaping team works very hard to enhance the natural beauty of our parks.”
Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari opens for the 2014 season April 12. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/greatadventure.
Six Flags Landscaping By-the-Numbers