History of Water Safari

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Friday, May 4, 2018

It was 1956. Elvis was shocking television audiences with his music and gyrations, “My Fair Lady” was the toast of Broadway, and Stockholm Sweden hosted the summer Olympics. It was the year that The Enchanted Forest of the Adirondacks opened its doors for the first time. A total of 35 employees maintained the park which featured Paul Bunyan, The Paul Bunyan Wood Center, where guests watch woodenware being produced from the log to the finished product, and Storybook Lane Little Houses. At $1 for adults and 25 cents for children, admission was reasonable and the park was popular among families. 

Over the next 20 years, the park continued to evolve adding a daily circus shows that feature internationally high-wire sensations The Great Wallendas. Some of an NBC special documentary, as well as a CBS documentary on the Wallendas, was filmed at the park. Other acts throughout the years included Emmett Kelly Jr. Storybook characters like Robin Hood and Cinderella roam the ‘forest’. 

The 1/2 mile Skyride was added along with Captain Kidd’s Pirate Ship, The Alamo, Alice’s Wonder Island, and Whale Boats. Native American Chief Maurice Dennis and his family recreated an Indian Village and explained Adirondack Indian life and lore to guests who rode the Train to this exhibit.

In 1977, 26-year old Timothy J. Noonan purchased The Enchanted Forest of the Adirondacks and begin long-term plans for improvements. An amusement ride area, called, A Step Beyond was constructed. In 1984, Wild Waters, a two flume, 350 ft. the water slide was installed. Four years later, the park added additional water rides and the park was reopened as Enchanted Forest Water Safari.

In 1991 The 1,100 ft. Amazon family tube ride and the 1/4-acre Tidal Wave Pool are built.

In 1999, a major expansion was completed, and the Adirondack Expedition was added. The new expansion was themed on the history of the area and included two double tube rides, Rondaxe Run and The Black River, a family tube ride, Cascade Falls, a fantastic water activity structure The Sawmill, and an action river, The Log Jammer. In 2002, the park’s original water slide is deconstructed and replaced with The Shadow ride. 

From those simple beginnings. The Enchanted Forest has evolved into New York State’s largest water theme park, with over 50 rides, shows, and attractions. There are over 500 seasonal employees at Water Safari Resort which today includes, Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Calypso's Cove, Old Forge Camping Resort and Water's Edge Inn.