Great Adventure closes to public to host ‘Autism Day’ event

Posted: Updated:
JACKSON TOWNSHIP -

Six Flags Great Adventure was closed to the public Thursday so that the park could host an “Autism Day” event.

The day was designed to accommodate some of the special needs of those who have autism. The day was designed to be quieter and calmer with a softer impact on the senses.

“I’m going to have a good time with these roller coasters,” said visitor Jason Little. “I’m going to make sure I get on every one of them.”

The event was organized by the Gersch Academy. About 4,000 tickets were sold.

“I hope that Six Flags allows us to do this in all 11 of their parks,” said Gersch Academy CEO Kevin Gersch.

The park had decompression tents that provided a spot for overwhelmed kids to relax, which meant a more relaxing day for parents who knew that their kids were understood.

“[My son is] basically surrounded by other kids who are very similar to him so it's less stress on us,” said mom Kristin Torres.

The park was closed to the public to limit the amount of large crowds, which can sometimes overwhelm those who have autism. Loud sounds and heavy stimulation were also eliminated. Many visitors say that this will likely be the only day that they attend the park.

“I definitely feel like our family's more included, so that's nice,” Torres said.

Visitors were also given a special map that charted all the rides by sensory impact. The Ferris wheel was given a mild rating because it is mostly slow and quiet.

Officials said that no park the size of Great Adventure had ever been transformed for a sensory-friendly day.

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