JACKSON, NJ – February 26, 2020 – Six Flags Great Adventure will celebrate “the fast and the curious” as it introduces five new species to park Guests in 2020: the swift and nimble cheetah, majestic great horned owl, stealth American kestrel, social Patagonian cavy and mischievous ferret.
When Six Flags Great Adventure opens for the season April 4, Guests will find these intriguing animals in the theme park’s Wild Walkway and Camp Aventura on the Safari Off Road Adventure. Park admission includes both attractions.
1. Cheetahs “Bear” and “Bo” – These large cats are known for their signature yellowish tan or rufous coat uniformly covered with nearly 2,000 solid black spots. Native to Africa and parts of Iran, cheetahs rank as the fastest land animal. They can launch from 0 to 45 mph in 4.5 seconds, and run up to 75 mph during short, powerful sprints. Large members of the cat family, cheetahs are carnivores with a prowess for hunting. They are most closely related to the cougar and jaguarundi and are considered “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.
2. Great Horned Owl “Luna” – These aggressive predators are sometimes known as the “tiger owl” and are native to the Americas. Signature feather tufts on their heads known as “plumicorns” resemble horns or even catlike ears. Great horned owls are powerful and protective parents. Females are larger than males and have much lower-pitched calls. These carnivores are largely nocturnal with an impressive wingspan of 3.3 to 4.8 feet.
3. American Kestrel “Tyrion” – Despite being the littlest falcon in North America, the American kestrel is a fierce predator with a very distinctive hunting behavior. Kestrels hover before diving for their prey and are sometimes known as a “windhover.” They are ultraviolet sensitive, which helps them hunt mice in the dark by following their trails. They are one of the most colorful of all raptors.
4. Patagonian Cavy “Amelia” – Also known as the Patagonian mara, the Patagonian cavy is a large, rabbit-like rodent in the guinea pig family. Cavies can run at speeds up to 45 mph and bounce on all fours, which is known as a “stot.” They are herbivores, eating only plants. Cavy pairs mate for life and raise their young communally. They are considered a “near threatened” species, greatly impacted by hunting and habitat loss in South America.
5. Ferrets “Johnny” and “David” – The name “ferret” is derived from Latin and means “little thief,” which is a likely reference to their penchant for stealing small items. These very curious, active and playful mammals in the weasel family are a domesticated form of the European polecat. They have long, slender bodies – approximately 15 inches without the tail. Males are much larger than females. These carnivores sleep 14 to 18 hours a day and are crepuscular, meaning most active around dawn and dusk.
Six Flags Great Adventure and Safari has focused on animal conservation since 1974. The park is home to more than 75 species of animals from six continents. The great horned owl, kestrel, cavy and pair of playful ferrets also will participate in the park’s Safari Off Road Education, Silver Safari and Wild Encounters outreach programs that visit schools, clubs and other special events. For information on these programs, visit https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure/attractions/safari#animalprogram