Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Update - July 2nd, 2020

The Marine World Experience

It's been a long 4 months but some of our favorite Northern California theme parks are open in new and creative ways! SFDK opened for its first day of operations as “The Marine World Experience”. Since zoos are currently permitted to be open but theme parks aren't (pre 7/1 Gavin Newsom announcement), SFDK is throwing it back to the Marine World days and opening up the park but not the rides. But all of the animal exhibits and shows are available! So lets take a quick walk through the park and see what's changed during our long time away!

Table of Contents

COVID Accommodations

I personally have been to a couple of parks since they've started to reopen: Universal Orlando and Silverwood. The former was very organized with masks and social distancing strictly enforced while the latter had hand sanitizer throughout the park but not a whole lot else - I was probably one of only 10 or so guests to wear a mask. I'm very pleased to say that SFDK falls into the former group. Masks and social distancing was very well enforced. The park similarly had hand sanitizer all throughout the park, maybe even more prevalently than Universal did. Overall, I'd give huge kudos to Six Flags for taking health seriously as they try to reopen. Let's take a look at some closer details:

COVID Accommodations For the foreseeable future, entrance to the park will require a reservation. Luckily the site is pretty straightforward and easy to use

COVID Accommodations As you'd expect, if you're showing symptoms, don't come to the park

COVID Accommodations The park also features a cutting edge new security process that also includes a temperature check...

COVID Accommodations As far as security goes, you don't have to take anything out of your pockets or put your bag through a metal detector

COVID Accommodations Here's a little closer look at the process. This wooden tunnel is set up and as you walk through a camera takes your temperature and flags any questionable items you may have. I was pulled aside for my camera and after I opened my bag and showed the guard the camera he let me through. Overall it was a very non-invasive process and one that all parks should permanently adopt, even when the pandemic passes

COVID Accommodations Let's start with the basics, sanitizer is outside of buildings and high touch places

COVID Accommodations As well as interspersed throughout the outdoor sections of the park

COVID Accommodations Signs are up urging groups to sit apart in dining areas

COVID Accommodations All indoor dining areas are cleared out, like here in JBs

COVID Accommodations At the main food court area there are some extra hand washing stations

COVID Accommodations Just like in Universal, there are a handful of mask-free areas interspersed throughout the park. They provide a nice socially-distant place to relax for a few minutes

COVID Accommodations In addition, some extra high touch areas, like this set of windows for the tigers, are closed off

And finally, this audio clip plays every couple of minutes throughout the park. Props to Six Flags for caring so much about the safety of its guests!

The Marine World Experience

Let's get into a little bit more about what the Marine World Experience entails! Let's start with the obvious: all of SFDK's rides are currently closed with no ETA to reopen. But luckily SFDK is so much more than just rides. All of the animal exhibits were open (with a notable exception covered later) as well as all of the shows. In addition, there were several caregiver talks at various exhibits and plenty of roaming employees interacting with guests and answering questions about the animals. Since it wasn't a boiling hot day, the animals were very active which made it a great day to visit! Overall, I was very impressed by just how much SFDK is able to offer even with the rides closed! Let's take a look at some of the animals and Marine World Experience features!

The Marine World Experience To start with, caregivers were giving talks throughout the park showing off some of the animals that SFDK cares for

The Marine World Experience And there are plenty of opportunities for guests to get close to animals, like this cute otter on a leash!

The Marine World Experience Keepers were at most of the exhibits helping guests see the animals

The Marine World Experience The nursery windows were blocked off presumably due to the high touch environment they present

The Marine World Experience But there were still plenty of animals in the nursery pens

The Marine World Experience I've gotten lucky the past couple of times I've visited and the giraffes have been eating each time. The are funny looking animals with how long and gangly their limbs are

The Marine World Experience The only major exhibit that was closed was the aquarium, which isn't terribly shocking since it's a tight, indoor space

The Marine World Experience But don't worry, there are plenty of swimming animals to see!

The Marine World Experience The butterflies were open, which makes me think that larger indoor spaces are okay, but tighter ones aren't? Or maybe the aquarium just wasn't ready for guests yet

The Marine World Experience Let's end the animal section of our update with Billy alligator here. I don't think I've ever seen him move but hey, sunbathing on a nice day is how I'd want to spend the day if I was him too!

Sidewinder Safari

Let's check in with the Sidewinder Safari construction site. Since we had our last update, SS has been removed from the Six Flags website. This led some to theorize that the park either delayed or cancelled the ride. My personal money is on delayed but we'll see how it shakes out.

Sidewinder Safari There is still signage for SS in the park which is a good sign

Sidewinder Safari Hopefully still in 2020?

Sidewinder Safari The area actually had some fences pulled back from where they were in March, exposing this planter

Sidewinder Safari The fences got a new wrap and the signage showing SS as coming in Spring 2020 was removed

Sidewinder Safari Some tables were also added around the site

Sidewinder Safari

Sidewinder Safari

Sidewinder Safari

Sidewinder Safari

Keep your fingers crossed that SS eventually makes its way to us!

General Park Updates

General Park Updates I haven't ever seen the not operating rides section this empty - too bad this time is because nothing is running

General Park Updates We were greeted by some live music. Cool touch!

General Park Updates Medusa's plaza was unsurprisingly closed off since it contains no animals

General Park Updates As was DC Universe

General Park Updates In better news, Joker's tables were back!!

General Park Updates Harley Quinn was completely put together. Maybe this is the time that the park needed to put the ride's downtime issues behind it?

General Park Updates Tava's Jungleland was also closed, except for the entrance to the theater in the area

General Park Updates Many smaller shops and snack stands were closed throughout the park

General Park Updates Macho Nachos was closed but to be fair, I don't think I've ever seen it open

General Park Updates Monsoon Falls was full of water and had boats on the course

General Park Updates And mechanics were on Boomerang's platform. Maybe just maintenance but maybe preparing for a reopening in a month or two?

General Park Updates Gorilla had social distancing markers in its queue

General Park Updates All of the games were open!

General Park Updates As was guest services

General Park Updates I'll leave you with this shot of Joker and reminder that we'll be riding on it before we know it!