Drive in the Country (1990 – 1994) Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari (1995 - 2009)
A relaxing (though sometimes quite noisy) children’s ‘Vintage Cars’ style track ride.
Drive in the Country
Then – Located on a hill near Octopus Garden.
Now – The hill was flattened to make way for the X:/ No Way Out building.
Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari
Then – In Rangers County next to the clubhouse and the gift shop.
Now – This ride is currently SBNO (Standing But Not Operating).
Official Thorpe Park Description:
Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari –
From the 1995 park map “Explore the depth’s of Fungle Jungle on this fascinating safari tour.”
From the 2000 Thorpe Park website “An intrepid expedition through a swampy jungle, scary skeletons, giant bones, masks and native shields on this fun-jungle safari.”
Drive in the Country
These vintage Ford design cars could hold four people for example: 2 children in the front and 2 adults in the back. Mounted inside the cars were steering wheels so children could pretend they were driving the car around the track. The cars were also equipped with old fashioned squeezable horns. Sometimes these horns could get quite noisy as they would be used by some children for the full duration of the ride.
These cars would slowly travel on a single rail track around a course that took them past classic icons of ‘Old’ Britain such as a red post box and a red telephone box.
Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari Re-Theme
In 1995 the ride was moved from its original site to the new Rangers County area and was re-themed as Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari to fit in with this area of the park. As part of this re-theme the cars were re-designed to look like jungle jeeps/cars.
One of the main differences between the two versions of the ride was that Miss Hippo’s was now surrounded by dense trees and bushes giving the ride a jungle feel compared to Drive in the Country’s tidy grass lawns. As you made your way around the track you passed several models of the Thorpe Park Rangers in safari outfits.
Rangers on this ride included: Chief Ranger, Mr Elephant, Miss Hippo and Miss Frog.
Other theming on this ride included ancient statues, African tribal style shields, skulls on spears and moving statues.
At some point, later in the rides life, the horns were removed from the ride as they were considered to be too noisy.
And then in 2009 the ride closed. According to the 2009 Thorpe Park Student Pack the reason for the ride’s closure was such “Due to escalating operational cost, maintenance costs and declining visitor numbers, Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari was closed.”
Memories of Drive in the Country and Miss Hippo’s Fungle Safari:
Facts & Trivia: